A Parenting Shot In The Arm from Paul Tripp
Could anyone else out there use a parenting shot in the arm? If you’re anything like me you find yourself drifting away from the parenting principles you hold dear several times a day. In the morning, over coffee, you’re committed to honoring God and your children above yourself. And then they wake up and so does your sin nature.
A few months ago a bunch of parents within our church family gathered in our living room to watch a parenting simulcast taught by Paul David Tripp. Throughout a Friday night and Saturday, Tripp imparted wisdom to us from his book Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Readily Change Your Family.
I was just reviewing my notes today and thought I’d type up some bullet points here to share with you. I hope these wise words from Tripp will give you the parenting boost that they gave me. I heartily recommend both Paul Tripp’s and Ted Tripp’s books on parenting if you’re looking for further advice.
So, in no particular order, here are some of my notes from the simulcast:
- Parents are ambassadors. We are God’s representatives to our kids. We are called to make his grace visible to them.
- God wants us to see our kids’ sins, so we can be his ambassadors to them.
- Parenting: it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus and your child’s heart.
- Because God loves our kids he’s placed them in families of grace. Parenting is not a hassle, it’s a joy and a calling.
- When it comes to rules: it never works to ask the law to do what only grace can accomplish.
- Grace doesn’t ignore wrong behavior, but it’s a way of dealing with wrong behavior.
- Children need God’s law. Children are not born with an innate sense of what’s right and wrong. Giving the law is giving them God’s wisdom.
- The law (rules from God’s word) exposes sin. It’s a mirror for us. We cannot be grieved by what we do not see and the law helps us to see where we fall short.
- But the law cannot transform us. If we only needed rules to be transformed then Jesus would never have had to die.
- When we see our children sin, let’s ask ourselves: what is God seeking to do in the life of this child and how can I be a part of it?
- If I am not seeking God when my child sins then I will turn moments of ministry into moments of anger, I’ll make it about me, I’ll be against my kids and not for them, I’ll settle for quick fixes.
- God makes his invisible grace visible to my kids through my authority as their parent.
- As parents we must confess, admit, and embrace our inability to be perfect parents.
- There is freedom when we acknowledge that we don’t have the ability within ourselves to be good parents.
- We don’t carry our children. Jesus does.
- If we control our kids’ behavior until they leave home, then we give them nothing. Kids who leave the faith when they leave home, never had faith in the first place.
- The problem with us and with our kids is not behavior, it’s the heart that produces the behavior (Proverbs 4:23).
- Your child’s behavior is caused by what’s inside him, not what’s outside him (it’s his heart, not his circumstances!).
- If your child is convinced that his behavior is caused by externals, he will never be changed. He will carry that into adulthood.
- We try to fear, reward, and shame our kids, but those teach a perverse cost/benefit analysis of behavior.
- Here are five heart-revealing questions to ask your children in the heat of the moment (during a fight amongst siblings, or after disobedience, etc).
- 1 - What was going on? (Not a lecture, just engaging questions.)
- 2 - What were you thinking and feeling when that was happening? (This helps the child get to his or her heart.)
- 3 - What did you do in response to your feelings? (Helps teach child their responses is caused by their heart, not their circumstances.)
- 4 - Why did you do it? What were you hoping to accomplish? (What were the desires of your heart/your motives?)
- 5 - What was the result? (Teaches the child to own the consequence of their actions.)
- Parenting causes us to see our great selfishness and self-centeredness.
- We get focused on superficiality and want convenience. We want little clones who are easy. But this gets in the way of what God is doing.
- We need the Gospel when we parent. The present-moment gospel gives us everything we need for parenting (see 2 Peter 1:3-4).
- We can come to the Lord with confidence that he will give us grace for our moment of need.
- God gives parents HIMSELF in our moments of need.
- In every moment of parenting, we are being parented by God.
- God does not call us to be parents because we are able, but because he is able. Jesus measures up on our behalf.
- Our weakness is not in the way of God’s plan. It IS God’s plan.
- We hate weakness because we want to be self-reliant - but God is strong when we are weak.
- The goal of parenting is that our children would confess their weaknesses and need for God’s help. That they would cry out to him.
- We are more like our children than unlike them.
- When we confess our need for grace we take joy in giving our kids grace.
- I’m righteous and you’re not, is not helpful (other forms = How could you do that? I would never do that!).
- God’s grace frees us from the prison of regret. Every sin and failure as a parent has been blood-bought by Jesus so we don’t have to wallow in it.
- The gospel is a constant stream of fresh starts and new beginnings. For us and our kids.