I know, I know, most of you have probably already read this great parenting resource. I've had this book on my shelf for a while and finally got around to reading it. I'm really glad I did. It reminded me of the holy and sacred responsibility I have as a parent to raise my kids in the Lord.
Beyond that, it showed me what must be true of me and my church community if we are going to be successful.
Why this book is important
This book is important because it reminds parents of their calling. Anthony describes spiritual parenting this way:
"My goal was to pass on a vibrant and transforming faith, the kind of faith which:
My children would know and hear God's voice, discerning it from all others.
They would desire to obey Him when they heard His voice.
They would obey Him not in their own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit." (pg. 16)
That should be the goal of every parent, right? Not behavior modification, not simply being good or being successful; but heart transformation. If that's true, it seems like an impossible task. Anthony goes on to explain that, "... God's design doesn't require perfection - it requires faithfulness." (pg. 31) This is good news for me as a parent.
It is also a sobering reminder of the high calling God puts on parents, "God chose you to be the first person who would usher this truth into your child's heart. He has entrusted you with the unique privilege of helping your children discover their identity." (pg. 66) Parents, there is no more high or noble calling, nothing is more important.
This calling comes with unique challenges as well, "It's difficult, even impossible, to give away something we don't have. In order to give this gift to our children, we must become servants, and then our children will see our faith in action." (pg. 106) We can't give away what we do not possess. Our faith as parents needs to be growing and fruitful if we expect our kid's faith to be doing the same. Without growth and fruitfulness we have nothing to give. It would be like trying to offer your child a drink from your empty cup; it will never work.
Why is all this work necessary? Because we desire our kids to obey ... God. There's a disconnect when we are just passing along information about God though. Obedience based on knowledge is legalism. As parents we need to give our kids a better reason to obey. That reason needs to because of a personal, growing relationship with God. Anthony states it well this way, "We don't obey because of knowledge, we obey out of relationship." (pg. 194) We want our kids to obey not because they have to but because they are overwhelmed with what God has done for them; that they have seen and experienced the love of their heavenly Father.
Who needs the book
Parents need this book. It will help you focus on what is truly important when it comes to parenting. It will provide you with practical tools that will assist you in leading your kids closer to God.
Pastors also need this book. It's a great resource to hand out to parents who are struggling. The topics discussed could also be used as we think through parent training and classes that might need to offered from time to time.
(All quotes taken from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony ©2010 and published by David C. Cook)