First. Yes first. Assuming you get the facts and medical advice you need about having the birth process, newborn care and nursing from a class, a book, or even smart friends, I know what book you should read first. All those facts about the first moments of mommyhood are important. But they are worldly. Pain in childbirth originated with the fall, and God has allowed us humans, in an amazing act of mercy, to get really smart at helping moms and babies survive and thrive. You don’t need my help finding practical information for the beginning of mommyhood. You will be handed more books and pamphlets than you can keep organized.
But in six short months after the birth of your precious little one, decisions more complicated than diapering choices start to show up. And with each passing year, the choices you make regarding how you discipline and what you teach your child become more critical. Do not just go with the flow here. You need a plan, a philosophy, a long range goal, a mission statement. Good news: the best possible expert is available to you in God. Bad news: most moms and dads do not have time to sit down and search God’s word for His parenting advice. Because God didn’t put all his parenting advice in one chapter or even one book and because sometime we aren’t good at seeing the big ideas of scripture and applying them to our personal lives, I have a book for you to read.
|Image from Amazon.com|
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.
Dr. Tripp is the one who taught me that discipline isn’t about getting a child to behave. Effective discipline needs to deal with the heart. He reminded me, using scripture, that I am in charge and it is not my job to make sure my kids are happy and chummy with me all the time. His book begins with several chapters outlining Biblical parenting, everything from the big picture to Biblical punishment (yes this include spanking). The rest of the book is divided into age groups: infancy, childhood, teenagers. For each age group he gives training objectives and ways to accomplish them.
Normally, I am a library girl. We already own too many books. I don’ t advocate adding more stuff to your house. But this book, I return to over and over. When I need a reminder of what I am doing, when a certain issue with my girls is overwhelming orwhen they suddenly change age categories and I am confused about how to change my parenting with them, I reread parts of this book. You can buy the book used or even new for between $6-7. Or for $4 on Kindle.
You and I, we might not share the same world view. But if you believe the Bible contains wisdom, and you would like to know more about what is says regarding raising kids, check out Tripp’s book. You don’t have to agree with everything he says, but he might inspire you some areas or challenge to develop an altered philosophy with some Biblical roots. Whatever, you do, parenting isn’t easy. And I love people who help me think through and plan issues I didn’t know were important.