The parenting ship? That vessel sailed for me when my youngest 2 moved out. Yet, because of my role as a mentor of young moms, I continue to read a lot of parenting books so that I would know what options were out there to recommend. Not many, I’ve learned, at least not many that don’t take a “follow steps A, B, and C and you’ll have a perfect child” approach. Or that don’t presume every child and every parent falls into neat, cookie-cutter molds. Or that don’t shame parents for the inevitable mistakes that happen in parenting, or even worse, for their adult children being anything outside the church’s proscribed template.
With Christina Fox’s latest book, Like Our Father*, I’ve learned
1) The parenting ship hasn’t sailed just because the kids have moved out. We continue to parent even if our kids are adults. Christina’s amplification of the character of God beyond the flat page of the Bible to a fully-relational Father who loves consistently, sacrificially, and unconditionally speaks to parents of adult children spreading their wings of independence and exploration just as much as it does to mommas and dads of little ones learning to walk, talk, play, pray, and engage.
2) Here is the parenting book that I can recommend to young moms. Christina Fox starts with the divine model for biblical parenting (the reason why it’s important and why it’s possible), highlighting the ways in which our Father God parents us, and then clearly reveals and explains from Scriptural narratives and teachings what His parenting looks like, giving us a map to follow.
- He is constant and He is consistent with us. He makes it possible for us to be consistent with our children.
- He provides boundaries so that we are identified as part of His family. He demonstrates the importance of boundaries so that we can help our children navigate life.
- He sends His Spirit to teach and train us. That same Spirit guides us through engagement with His character so that we know how and what to teach and train our children.
And so on. He disciplines us, He gives us what we need, He shows patience in our foolishness, and He loves us.
Now, go and do likewise. How can we be like God, you ask?
“While we image God in many ways in our life and in a variety of circumstances, such as in our work, our creativity, and our love toward one another, one of the ways we image Him is in parenting our children. When we parent our children as God parents us—when we relate to them the way God relates to us—we show them who He is; we point them to their own Father in heaven.”
And best of all, Christina Fox shows us that we can always go back to God our Father as we struggle and stumble as parents: no shame, no added rules and checklists, no templates or molds. Just a loving and faithful Father waiting to set us back on track.
The book would make an excellent study for a parents group. Discussion questions are included with each chapter.
(Note: I received an advanced digital copy for my honest opinion.)
Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash