Monday, January 16, 2012

Book recommendation

It's been a while since I have added another book to my book recommended list. A new one that I recently read has spoken to me in so many ways and moved me to improve my parenting that I wanted to share it with you all. Give Them Grace, Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse m. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. This mother daughter pair share their wisdom on parenting with an emphasis on showing your children grace through the model of Christ. While this is a christian book, every parent will enjoy the themes presented here. Can't we all show our children more grace and the love that brings?

Personally this book spoke to me. My husband and I run a tight ship. We expect obedience the first time we ask, respect for authority and independence. I would say it's easy for us to be pretty black and white with expectations and consequences. Discipline in our home is not a problem, it comes easy to us. Grace is something we don't deserve, unmerited favor. This is what God's free gift is.

Yet, I needed to hear the message of this book. I need to learn to infuse grace in my interactions with my children. Isn't that what God shows me? Why would I accept God's grace but withhold it from my kids. Boy, that isn't showing them the love of Christ.

The most poignant story for me in this book was in chapter 4, 'Jesus Loves All His Little Prodigals'. The authors tell a story of 2 siblings, David and Susan. Susan is the older "good girl" and David is the younger one who cheats at games. The mom in the story is addressing Susan's frustration with her brother; "Yes, Susan, David should follow the rules of the game. But the rules are not the most important thing.....Mercy is more important than the law." She goes on to say, "We are all law-breaking-rule haters when it comes to doing something we want to do. David breaks the rules by cheating, you break the rules by screaming at him, and I break the rules by wanting peace and quiet....None of us keeps the rules or loves each other like we should....What matters is faith expressed in love." She goes in to explain more fully the gift of grace through Christ. This really hit home for me. I am more like Susan. I play by the rules, I don't cheat. I'm a "good person". But there really is no good enough. Susan was just as guilty for being mean. It was obvious that David was naughty but Susan's anger and frustration grew to a prideful head.

Give Them Grace has softened my heart in times when I want to yell or lose it with my kids. Case in point: my daughter dropped her retainer this week onto the street where it was promptly run over by a car and shattered into smithereens. Definitely a time to show her grace. My adult parent side wanted to yell and ridicule her for her carelessness. What an expensive mistake! But looking into her eyes, grace flowed out, "Channing, I am upset it happened but I am not upset at you. I am not mad at you, I love you....and Daddy won't be too mad:)". This book reminds me to slow down and think about what message my response will send. There are some conversation templates in the books that are helpful if this does not come naturally to you

Whether you are a believer in Christ or not, this message is for everybody. Infusing grace into your parenting is wonderful and hard. This book is deep. It challenges me daily to show more grace to my children, husband, and parents. I challenge all of you to read this book and gleam from it what you can. Enjoy!

"I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses."
-Dave Harvey

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