An Excellent Christ-Centered Guide to Parenting
If you are such a parent that has been overwhelmed or discouraged by the endless opinions about “the” formula for successful parenting, let me encourage you by introducing you to an excellent new book — Child Proof: Parenting By Faith Not Formula by Julie Lowe. In the book’s introduction, Julie summarizes well the basic premise of the book:
“The answer we need as parents is not a formula for our families. I believe we should be looking at something far more challenging. Instead of providing a parenting recipe, God calls parents to think biblically, wisely, and carefully about what love looks like in their unique family. This calling requires an absolute dependence on godly wisdom, on spiritual discernment regarding my family, and on personal holiness to be what my family needs me to be. The goal is a home centered on Christ. This is not a formula I submit myself to, but neither is it a license to do whatever seems right in my own eyes. Far from it! Rather, it means a commitment to understanding Scripture’s principles of godly relationships and the call and responsibility to lead a home” (13).
The book is separated into two main sections. In the first section, Julie focuses on the foundations for parenting by faith. In these 6 chapters, the reader is introduced to this idea of parenting by faith versus parenting by formula, what it means to be a Christ-centered parent, what it means to adopt plans and formulas to the unique needs of your family, and so forth. These six chapters are really the “meat” of the book. In these chapters, as the book suggests, you will not find some “new” formula that promises to be the silver bullet to be better than all the other parenting plans out there. Rather, what you will find is a look at what it means for us as parents to center everything we do on Christ and the biblical principles and wisdom found in God’s perfect, inerrant, and sufficient Word.
How those principles are applied to each individual family will look very different and be very unique because, let’s face it, no two families are exactly alike. Parents are different. Children are different. Circumstances are different. And God knows this. Therefore, while we operate within a firm commitment to understand Scripture’s principles of godly relationships and how to lead a home, there is a ton of freedom in how those things are carried out in each individual, unique family.
One thing that I love about the chapters in this first part of the book is that each chapter concludes with “Reflection Questions.” These questions would be excellent for a husband and wife to work through and think through together, as well as a small group or Bible Study to go through when studying this topic of Christ-Centered Parenting.
The second part of the book is more of a practical field guide in what this sort of parenting by faith would look like in nine different common scenarios and situations. Those 9 chapters are as follows:
1. Parenting a Difficult Child
2. Parenting an Anxious Child
3. Parenting a Child with Disabilities
4. When Your Child Says, “I Don’t Know”
5. When Your Child Says, “I Am Bored”
6. When Your Child Isn’t Thankful
7. The Importance of Role Playing and Practice
8. Technology and Your Child
9. When Your Child Beaks Your Heart
In each of these chapters, the reader is given a whole host of excellent, biblical advice and counsel to be considered and applied to their unique child and their unique family. For example, in chapters 8, “Parenting an Anxious Child,” Julie gives some biblical reasons for why children struggle with anxiety, a look at what message they need to hear from God’s Word, concluding with 13 ways that parents can give their child comfort if they’re struggling with anxiety. Things like, “You are not alone” (Psalm 23:4), “You have value” (1 Peter 2:9), “There is help” (Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 4:15-16), and “What you are going through is temporary” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Parenting is hard work. But it is hard work that is immeasurably rewarding and valuable. Whether you are a new parent, a parent with elementary school kids, a parent with teenagers, or not even a parent yet but thinking forward to that day, you will be greatly helped by this new book by Julie Lowe. It is filled with practical wisdom, godly examples, and most importantly a Christ-centered focus. As David Powlison excellently says in the book’s forward,
“Julie Lowe gets the premise right. She gives you a way of coming at the whole adventure of being a parent. Yes, she offers some good ideas along the way, some very good ideas. But more than that, she will invite you to live in a way that opens the door to loving a child in the ways this particular child needs to be love” (x).
I would strongly encourage any parent, grandparent, or couple thinking about becoming a parent to grab a copy of this book and be strengthened, challenged, encouraged, and equipped to parent by faith, not formula, in a Christ-Centered way that is tailored to the individual needs of your unique children and your particular family.
In accordance with FTC regulations I would like to thank New Growth Press for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.