Recommended: Age of Opportunity

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, Second Edition (Resources for Changing Lives)Though I have had Paul Tripp's book Age of Opportunity on my shelf for years, I have put off reading it. After all, the subtitle for the book is "A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens," and I am years away from having a teenager, right?

But, then it hit me that Hannah will soon turn 10, and the teen years are not that far off. Even more, preparing for the teen years is not about just flipping a switch one night. Helping our kids transition (and going through that transition ourselves) requires years, not months or days.

Time to get cracking.

The premise of the book is that whereas the culture teaches us that the teen years are to be dreaded, where all you can do is hold on and try to make it past by without killing each other, God wants us to have a vastly different perspective. Tripp writes that these teen years give us incredible opportunity to point our children to the sufficiency and power of Jesus and the message of the gospel. It's not a time to throw our hands up in despair, but to get on our knees in praise and prayer.

As a primer to you reading this book, here is what the Bible teaches about children, as Tripp explains in Chapter 3 "What is a family? A Definition" --
  1. Children Are Covenantal Beings.  Children are made for a relationship with God, but ill choose to either worship and serve God, or other idols.The question is not if a child will worship, but what he will worship.
  2. Children Are Social Beings.  Not only are children created for a relationship with God, but they are created for relationships with others. (And we all have an innate need to be connected to others.) But because of sin, loving others (such as friends and siblings) seems like a radical idea.
  3. Children Are Interpreters.  "We need to teach them to see life from God's perspective." We help shape their worldviews not from rare and long lectures, but in the mundane moments of life. As Tripp also wrote, "Parenting: it's never an interruption."
  4. Children Behave Out of the Heart.  Parents must move beyond getting their children to just do what is right. While this is crucial at young ages, it cannot be our goal when they are teenagers. What they do, say, and think are overflows of what it is their heart (Luke 6:43-45). This is a key difference between Biblical parenting and Gospel parenting.

This book will not only help you expose and deal with the idols in your child's heart, but it will also help you see and repent of the idols that you have in your heart. Don't pass up the opportunity to buy and read Age of Opportunity!

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