Monday, March 21, 2016

Parenting the wholehearted child

Parenting the wholehearted child, Jeannie Cunnion

We have committed to running a parenting seminar this year and so we have visited to Christian bookstore shelves to see what new material is out there.

This was a great one to start with!  What an excellent book – one that drives you back to the grace of God.

If I was to write a parenting book, this could well be the one I would want to write.  Not because we have mastered it, in any sense, but because it’s what I want to aim for.   I want grace to infuse our lives, our parenting, our conversations, our day to day interactions.  

Cunnion starts with a reminder that we need the grace of God at the forefront of our own lives and understanding, and then that can drive our parenting.   We must see ourselves as beloved children of God, and keep remembering that Jesus loves our children more than we do.   We are reminded that we are not perfect, but we are saved by grace; and this must impact the way we teach and care for our children.

In Part 2 she looks at what a true friendship with Jesus will look like.  These are all the things you already know about: bible reading, scripture memorisation, prayer, church & community and service.  Yet she has removed the guilt from all these things, so you aren’t weighed down thinking “I know we should do this”, but rather are reminded of the joy of being able to do it, and the benefit that each brings.  

Part 3 takes you through what the fruit of grace can look like in a family.  She has named six values their family has decided to take as their own:  respect, self-control, kindness, thankfulness, peacemaking and honesty.  Again she has infused this section with the grace to be able to say we are not perfect, only Jesus is perfect, so let’s help our kids to aim to be like Jesus, with joy not with drudgery.

Finally, Part 4 turns to more ‘parenting’ topics like obedience, training, discipline and forgiveness & repentance, and how we can model them and teach them.   All very helpful.

I know many people are overwhelmed by parenting books.  I know because I am too!   There is so much you are challenged by, so many areas to think about and address.

However, never let that put you off challenging yourself to keep living with grace and extending grace to your children.  If you need to pace yourself to slow down the onslaught of ideas/challenges, read one chapter a day, or even one a week.   Pick 2-3 things you want to concentrate on for a term.   I have picked a few things I want us to think about and hopefully we can do so over the next few months. 

This is mainly aimed at parents of younger children (0-10s).  Our kids are 8, 10 & 12 and I found much that was helpful, but her illustrations and examples are often for pre-schoolers and the early years of primary school, which makes sense as her kids are that age.   If you wanted to read something for the teenage years, I would suggest Age of Opportunity might be a better idea.  For those still hanging in there with younger ones, this book is well worth reading.  

1 comment:

Chris said...

Thanks for the review - much appreciated. I hope to read it some time.