Leah's Parenting Book Picks

Posted by  | Saturday, January 5, 2008  at 11:21 PM  

I have two books that I would like to recommend to you all that deal with parenting. I have had many others recommended to me, but these are two that I have read and reread and can whole-heartedly recommend.

I learned about the first book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, when I moved to the South. A number of churches offer classes that go through this book. I never had the opportunity to take a class while we were in the South, but did finally purchase a copy from Lifeway in San Francisco when Samuel was around 11 months old. I carefully made my way through it and then passed it on to my husband. Here are a few passages that are highlighted in my copy that really show the impact of this book:

Getting to the Heart of Behavior: Your concern is to unmask your child’s sin, helping him to understand how it reflects a heart that has strayed. That leads to the cross of Christ. It underscores the need for a Savior. It provides opportunities to show the glories of God who sent his Son to change hearts and free people enslaved to sin.

Focusing on Understanding: What is important in correction is not venting your feelings, anger, or hurt; it is, rather, understanding the nature of the struggle that your child is having.

Discipline: What is the better way? You can’t simply appeal to the physical – “Do you want a spanking?” You can’t simply appeal to the emotions – “I don’t like it when you…” You cannot simply address their love of things – “Do you want me to take your toys away from you?” None of these approaches produce lasting fruit because they do not address the heart biblically. They do address the heart, but these approaches are designed to use the idols of your child’s heart as a motivation for acceptable behavior. Whatever motivates behavior trains the heart.

I love this book because it challenges my husband and me to invest ourselves in raising Samuel – to look for opportunities to point out his need (and our need as well) for a Savior. The book points out that we can’t just set achievable goals for our children – that would teach them to be sufficient in themselves. We need to set godly standards and then come alongside our children as they find themselves falling short. It is when they see their inability, their sin, that they see their need for a Savior.

The other idea that comes out of this book is to be proactive in developing the character of our children. The author recommends parents to take an inventory of their children every 6 months or so. We should take the time to list each of our children’s strengths and weaknesses. We then identify areas to compliment our children on as well as weak areas to encourage them in.

This same idea is actually a central theme in the second book I would like to recommend, A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming. This book was first recommended to me by a woman named Beth from my church family in Wake Forest. I put it number one on my Christmas list this year, and then unexpectedly received a copy in the mail from a woman named Mary from my church family in Fort Wayne. What a blessed gift, indeed! This book is a big challenge to me (I am currently on my second reading). First and foremost, this book has pushed me to more candidly evaluate myself and the way I relate to God. The author stresses over and over that priority one for me should be to walk closely with the Lord in prayer and in reading His Word. Since first reading the book I have taken to reading the book of Colossians once a day. How much it is changing me!

The other thing I enjoyed from the book is her challenge to be intimately aware of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. We can pray through these and proactively work on them with our children. Even at 16 months, I can see things in Samuel that I can be both complimenting him on and challenging him on. And both strengths and weaknesses can be lifted to the Lord in prayer.

I also want to include the list that Beth from Wake Forest shared with me. Maybe some of you have read these.

Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman
Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman
The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo
War of Words by Paul Tripp


Shannon said...

Wow, I am really excited about the books you've recommended. They are now top of my wish-list. Out of your 2 faves, which one would you recommend getting/reading first?

Leah said...

I would say that if you have a child over the age of 1, then you should start with Shepherding a Child's Heart b/c you want to start implementing his ideas right away. For expecting moms or moms with small babies, I would start with A Mother's Heart b/c it can be a real challenge and real encouragement to new moms.

I've also been told that the book Don't Make Me Count to Three (next on my list) is a great followup to Shepherding a Child's Heart. It is supposed to give more practical applications of the principles presented in Shepherding.

Anonymous said...

I am reading Shepherding a Child's Heart- and I agree it is a must read!! One for boys I would like to recommend for the the ladies of this site to check out before listing it, is That's My Son by Rick Johnson. He looks at how moms can be an influence in raising the son and what God expects from us in that way. Having a boy and girls, it is hard to find books that are neutral. I want to raise my son in a Christ centered home, with mom and dad as his influences but teaching him to be a man of honor and integrity (not what society expects of him b/c it conflicts with many of our Christian values these days). Anyway, excited about your site, very informative! I thought I would share, thank you!

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