A group of members have been meeting monthly to read and discuss a book on Christian parenting together. Samuel Beh shares some of the lessons he’s learnt so far.
Our Christian Parenting Group has been meeting once a month since August to read and discuss Paul Tripp’s book on parenting “Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that can radically change your family.” It’s been such an enriching first few sessions. I’ve been particularly encouraged by the diversity of people who have come, ranging from prospective parents, to parents of young children, parents of teenagers, parents of adult children, and even grandparents. I’d like to share three things that I’ve learnt from our time so far.
Remember what only God can do, and what God calls me to do
The Christian Parenting Group was started because a group of us felt that we lacked the knowledge and tools to parent in a Biblical and Gospel-Centered way. But the biggest takeaway for me so far has not been a parenting tool or technique. Instead, it’s been a reminder of what only God can do, and what God calls me to do (and not do) as a parent. As a parent, God calls me to be a faithful and transparent instrument in His hands to teach our children about Him and what He says. However, we are not alone, God is there to guide and equip us. And more importantly, God is clear that he does not call me to be the one who changes or converts my child. That’s God’s job.
Knowing this is tremendously liberating, because it frees parents from the crushing burden of feeling solely responsible for how our kids turn out. It also frees us from being terrified of making mistakes, or feeling the need to hide our imperfections from our children. Instead, this truth actually encourages us to depend on God’s grace, and to be open about our mistakes with our children, that we might model the Gospel in action.
Parenting takes (quality) time
The book talks about how parenting is a moment-by-moment process, where parents model the Gospel to their children, and need to be on the lookout for opportunities to apply the gospel into the lives of their children. Which is just another way of saying that parenting takes time. We can’t simply schedule a “life-changing” moment with our children. Instead we need to take the time to just be “there”, to do life with our children, get to know them, and allow them to get to know us. This doesn’t mean we need to all quit our jobs to spend time with our children all the time. But it does mean that we need to be intentional in having a minimum amount of time with our children on a regular basis, and to be intentional in the things we do and talk about when we are together.
It takes a village….
As a parent, I can say that parenting can feel like a very lonely road. Each season of parenting is different; once we think we’ve figured out how to look after the infant, the infant has become a toddler, who becomes a child, who then goes to primary school, who then transforms into a teenager. Parents need other parents to tell them that they’re not alone, and that they’re not the only ones making mistakes. Parents need love and encouragement from the church to remind them of the truths of the Gospel, and to lavish grace when mistakes are made. Children need the church to teach them what the body of Christ is like, and to model what real community looks like. May GBC be the village that walks with our parents to parent God’s children.
For more details on our Christian Parenting Group or on the book (an excellent Christmas gift idea), feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet once a month on the first Sunday of every month after Service from 11am – 1215pm. During the session, we spend some time discussing 2 chapters of the book, before breaking into groups to talk about how we can apply it and pray for each other. You don’t have to be a parent to join us, all are welcome!