Intentional parenting – A Review

Tad Thompson. Intentional parenting: Family Discipleship by Design. Adelphi, MD; Cruciform Press, 2011. 108 pp. $9.99.


            Little strikes godly terror in the hearts of believing parents more than when they consider the concept of how to faithfully disciple their children. We all know that we are to raise our children in the fear and instruction of the Lord. We all know that we must be wise and disciplined as we try to carry out this task. Yet, when all is said and done, we still need help, and we know that too.


            In Intentional Parenting, Tad Thompson, a second-generation pastor, presents helpful, simple, and logical advice for parents who want to raise their children as disciples. As one of the early offerings from Cruciform Press, this work is a fine demonstration of the new publisher’s plan to put forth short, sweet, and scripturally sound books. The book is easy-to-read, engaging, and simply solid theologically.


            Thompson addresses the discipleship of the family by looking at several different metaphorical rooms in our homes. So, for example, he points out that our kitchens (symbolic of our source of spiritual food) must have pantries stocked with sound, biblical doctrine. Thompson then offers parents some very clear yet invaluable categories of theological truth that every parent should have settled, stocking their spiritual shelves so-to-speak. Similarly, Thompson uses the living rooms of our homes to symbolize different spheres of day-to-day life in which we formally and informally teach our children to follow Christ.


            I’ve read many parenting books. Very few are as biblically solid throughout as this one. Thompson clearly presents theological concepts in an accurate and readable way. Whether he is writing about God’s sovereignty or the atonement, Thompson speaks with clarity and accuracy. While I am sure that there are things that I would say differently in my own presentation, I cannot recall a point where Thompson made me cringe with his words, and that is saying something.


            I also will laud Thompson’s powerful reminders to parents that we have a serious job to do. He calls us to family devotions, but not in any sort of cookie-cutter approach. He calls us to live our faith before our children. Thompson argues that our children will love Jesus like they see us loving Jesus. If our religion is forced, legalistic, and empty, that will be magnified in our kids. If our love for Jesus is genuine and our worship of the Savior vibrant, such will often be the case with our children as well.


            I could say much more, but it simply is not necessary. Thompson has written a good book. This would be a very helpful resource for a small group Bible study or just for a few men or women who want to read the book together and grow stronger in how they raise their kids. No, this is not a guide on how to determine a kid’s allowance or an argument on spanking vs. timeout. Instead, this work is a call for parents to live as Christians with their kids to help them to love the Savior too. The questions at the end of each chapter spur thought and discussion. Simply put, I would recommend that you, if you are a parent, take a look at Intentional Parenting to see if it might be helpful to you or someone you know.


** Disclosure: Cruciform Press sent me a free PDF copy of this book for review purposes. The publisher asked only for an honest and thoughtful review, and did not influence the content of this review in any way.