Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The actual review

I said some time ago that I would write a true review of Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel, rather than just the small blurb I had stated earlier. I have long since left the days of writing reviews, and my current lack of short-term memory kinda makes things like that hard. Yes, I read it. Yes, I liked it. What was it that it said, again?

Ok, so it really isn't quite that bad, but close. I finished the book several weeks ago. And, well, I've slept since then. But this is how I remember it. Keep in mind that where you lean in your already existing style of parenting might determine whether or not this book is for you. I may have been (notice the reluctance to out right admit my short comings) slightly leaning towards raising a legalistic family.

If you know our family, or the church we attend, that may come as a surprise. Yes, it surprised me, too. It's funny how quickly something like legalism can sneak up on you. One minute you're enjoying the grace God so freely gave, the next there's this imaginary checklist that's driven by guilt and a need to do penance and somehow reimburse God. As if that could happen. It's not that good deeds and love can't come from legalistic people, but it's kind of for the wrong reasons. It's the difference in appreciation for our own forgiveness and grace we received from Christ stirring us to love and good deeds, or the need to pay Him back.

There was a time in my life I extremely disliked books that didn't have much in them actually applicable to life. I guess I was lazy. Just give me that checklist already so I can get on with it. If you are looking for a book that spells out some kind of discipline method or manner of handling your kids, this isn't the one you want. But I really enjoyed it, and though I don't agree with every single word, it certainly challenged me to solidify exactly how I want to raise my kids and why. And to dig in the Word for my own answers. It is not full of impossible standards (which I often seem to find in parenting books), and largely deals with our own attitude towards our kids, and caused me to really examine how I view God, grace, and in turn pass it on to my children. I do think it helped me take another step towards providing an atmosphere in our home where our kids can grow morally strong, fearing God a lot, and fearing their fellow man very little. And fear is definitely something I've dealt with off and on.

I was hoping to find a picture on the net of what Kimmel calls a matrix for grace-based parenting. I can't, but it's basically a graph that weaves these "needs" every child has:

1. Secure love
2. Significant purpose
3. A strong hope
4. The freedom to be different
5. The freedom to be vulnerable
6. The freedom to be candid
7. And the freedom to make mistakes

So there you have it. Another checklist for me to post.


Annie said...

short term memory problems, for some reason that sounds familiar....

Peter said...

I enjoyed reading your review. Christians use grace for salvation then legalism for sanctification. As a foster parent, I am sure you've seen kids who have not received a secure love and how "needy" they are (also known as attachment disorder). I hope Grace Based Parenting helps you and your husband give these kids a love that launches them into a blessed eternal future.

Anonymous said...

Can I borrow it?