As a pastor, you would think I’d have this parenting thing figured out. But I must confess that when my then three-year-old defiantly refused to wear his Thomas the Train underwear, I wasn’t thinking about Hebrew exegesis. (Little did I know, his older brothers had convinced him Thomas was for babies.) My first inclination, and perhaps greatest desire, was obedience. My biggest hope for him in the moment was behavior modification.
Paul Tripp recently reminded me and hundreds of other parents—representing over 50 churches throughout Arizona—to get to the heart of the matter at our TGC Arizona Parenting Conference. God places parents in the lives of their kids to achieve so much more than mere behavior modification; he places us in their lives to turn their little hearts toward a great Savior. They need to see and savor the same grace that saved their mommies and daddies.
Tripp has given his life to connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life through counseling, writing, and speaking. Few are better equipped to apply a healthy theology of grace to the practice of parenting. He is the author of The Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens and What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, and is the co-author of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making.
Following our Parenting Conference, I had the opportunity to ask Tripp some follow-up questions attendees had texted in. He was at his best here. You can watch the full 45-minute video above or skip straight to the individual questions linked below.
- How should a theology of conversion influence how we raise our children?
- Do you always need an “explicit” rule to be broken before you discipline?
- How do you shepherd a child’s heart when he or she lies?
- How should we think about disciplining our children in public places?
- Should parents be their children’s friends?
- How would you encourage foster care parents or adoptive parents with children who have experienced extreme trauma?
- How do you teach a child to stop getting into your bed in the middle of the night?
- How can churches improve on equipping parents for grace-based parenting?