Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review :: Give them Grace - Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

Every now and then, the title of a book speaks to me.

Give them Grace - Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus is just such a book. I mean, who wouldn’t want to do this, right?

The back cover copy is equally compelling. “All of us want to raise good kids. And we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good” and is “being good” really the point?”

I read this book as a part of our AM2PM (Affirming and Mentoring Preschool Moms) group at church. I love reading books as a group…it forces me to read critically and to grapple with issues that I might otherwise choose to ignore.

In Part One - Foundations of Grace, mother/daughter team Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson cover the Biblical basis for how we should parent. From the law to grace, from prodigals to pharisees, the discussion is intended to shake up the way you think about parenting, how you define success and where you find your strength to parent in a Biblical way.

In Part Two - Evidences of Grace, the focus becomes practical with chapters that cover specific areas of disobedience and conflict common to all children, reminders of the importance of prayer as we parent, and advice on how to navigate the murky waters of sleepovers, modesty, TV and movie choices, and friendships with children who do not share your child’s beliefs.

The Appendix has several excellent charts with ideas for handling some of the most common childhood issues with Gospel centered grace.

What I liked: The “scripts” in the Appendix are a great way to start thinking about how to use the Gospel in your everyday interactions with your kids. I also appreciated that they acknowledged that each time you talk to your child, you won’t necessarily have time to present the full gospel. But, when there is time, I have a new way of thinking of these teachable moments. The chapter on sleepovers, modesty, and TV viewing was worth the price of the book.

What I didn’t like: The biggest complaint in our group was that some of the explanations were wordy. (I know, I know. I’m one to talk)! But this came up repeatedly, especially in the opening chapters. The biggest point of disagreement with the book came from the way they recommend you speak to your children who have not yet accepted Christ as Savior when you are correcting them. The recommended approach and suggested scripts seemed cold and, frankly, graceless.

What blew me away: Here’s the main reason I would recommend this book. I’m a believer. A Christ-follower. But I’m not sure that my parenting has been gospel based. It’s been morally based. But truly Biblical? I think my parenting has been more focused on getting my kids to behave (which makes me look good) than on getting to the heart issues that will show them their need for a Savior and teach them to rely on God’s grace to do what’s right (which makes God look good)!

What I want, more than anything else, is for my children to know and revel in the lavish love of their Savior. To fear, honor, and hang out with the God of the Universe. To listen for, recognize, and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Give them Grace - Dazzling your kids with the love of Jesus has given me some much needed tools to encourage them in that relationship—the most important one of all.


So, have you read Give them Grace? I'd love to hear your thoughts!