Elyse Fitzpatrick. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. 216 pp. $10.19.
I have to confess, I did not know whether or not to expect to like Give them Grace. I’ve read so many parenting books as a biblical counseling student and as a pastor that I could not imagine wanting to read one more. Elyse Fitzpatrick surprised me. This is an excellent little book that puts a well-defined, biblically-rich gospel presentation at the center of how we parent our children.
Fitzpatrick does not write her book as another how-to-parent guide. She instead centers all that she recommends parents do on the gospel. For example, when parents see their children doing good things, this is an opportunity for them to remind their children that this is Christlike, but it is also not what makes them right with God. When parents see their children doing wrong things, it is an opportunity to remind children that we all do wrong things, and that Christ is our only hope. I have never read a book that does such a good job of keeping our need for Christ and his grace at the center of parenting conversations.
On the down side, not all the recommended conversations in the book sound like conversations I could picture myself having. Some of the recommended things to say are just too perfect. However, I do not consider this to be something that really detracts from the book. We all know that we cannot script our conversations with our children. Fitzpatrick does a great job for us in attempting to lay out some conversational guidelines that we all should be bright enough to tailor to our own words and communication style.
I will be recommending this book highly to parents. It challenged me to consider how the gospel of Jesus impacts my own life on a day-to-day basis. It helped me to consider how to praise and correct my children with Christ at the center. It reminded me that the sovereign God, not my parenting skill, is the One who will save my children if they are saved. There is correction, joy, pain, and comfort in this work that I think any growing Christian parent can benefit from.
I received a free audio copy of this work from ChristianAudio.com as part of their reviewers program. It was beautifully read by Tavia Gilbert, who may have just become my favorite ChristianAudio.com narrator.