My Rating –If You are Looking for Something
Level – Quick, easy read
Well, it’s a book about parenting. Pretty good summary, right? This is an interesting book because the approach is very different that most parenting books. The main difference being that there is nothing ‘practical’ about this book. That can be incredibly frustrating and challenging as you read. You are not going to find anything about sleep training, how to deal with allowances, or curfews in here. I guess the best summary would be to say that it is solid reformed theology and how it relates to parenting.
Probably the most interesting part is a reminder of the most important roll for you is as parent. What would you say if asked? I know it’s not to make my kid happy. My answer is typically something about independence and teaching your kid to take care of herself. That is wrong though, as Tripp points out, your most important goal is to teach your child about God, who He is and what He has done for us. That is his starting point, and it only gets more challenging from there.
This book is a mix of good reminders, frustrations, and challenges of parenting. If you are familiar with reformed theology, you’ll have a decent idea of what is coming in this. Your child has problems because she is sinful. You don’t model well and have problems being a good parent because you are sinful. That can get old, because at times you feel, what’s the point, then? It is incredibly useful however, like much in the Biblical Counseling movement that Tripp is a part of, the focus on someone’s sinful nature is a good place to start. It can be kind of funny, sometimes, honestly. I’ll catch myself in a moment with Sprout, when I’m angry and thinking, why in the hell did you do that? Then I kind of laugh and think, well, you are just a tiny fallen human.
Tripp also does a good job of shining a spotlight on parents as sinners. That’s also annoying, but again, it is useful to help check your own feelings and reactions. All that being said, I wanted to like this book more. If you are having problems parenting, or looking for a foundation, or just trying to read everything you can about parenting, then this is a good book. It is well written and incredibly strong on theological basis. I may be the only one, but it just didn’t sit right, I’m not sure why. Maybe because it is different. It really is a book about the heart of parenting and understanding the heart of a child.
I have a toddler, so I guess I was wanting something that spells things out a bit more. There are so many day to day things and broader parenting questions that this book doesn’t really address (or attempt to, to be fair). Should you spank, and how old is too old? What about screen time or games on the phone? You won’t find these answers, and maybe in the long run, they don’t really matter, but that is what you expect from typical books. Instead, what Tripp has done, is focus you first on the important task of teaching your child about the Lord, then basically just asking you challenging questions, instead of offering answers, then leave you to figure it out.
* I received a free copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.