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Grace Based Parenting: Set Your Familiy Free Paperback – April 30, 2005
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About the Author
Dr. Tim Kimmel is one of America's top advocates speaking for the family. He is the Executive Director of the non-profit ministry Family Matters, whose goal is to build great family relationships by educating, equipping and encouraging parents for every age and stage of life. Tim conducts conferences across the country on the unique pressures that confront today's families. He has authored many books including: Little House on the Freeway (selling over 700,000 copies; Multnomah) and the Gold Medallion winning bestseller Grace Based Parenting (100,000 copies; Thomas Nelson). He lives with his family in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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Now, the Cons: This book is too long (most chapters are over 20 pages). I found myself skipping over a lot of sections because the point had already been made as much as it was going to be made. On a related note, I had a lot of trouble following his progression of thought. There were a lot of bullet points in each chapter that seemed to pop up at random. Finally, the style of the book is too authoritative for my taste. His way of writing is, "this is how it is." In line with this, the discussion questions are mostly application, rather than a balance between discussing his perspective and application. Another example is that at times he takes a word, say "hope" and stretches the meaning in all sorts of ways to make his point (which was strength anyway, the third need he defined in the first chapter). Rather than communicating the point more simply, it muddies things. It is more helpful to describe a concept using a lot of different words, while still saying to you, there is this one word that best describes what you are trying to communicate.
In conclusion, this book could be good, but it's not very good as is. I think as a second edition with a lot of revision it could be good: trimming the chapters, following a clearer progression of thought, tweaking the style and focusing on the main points.
Dr. Kimmel begins his book by describing the current popular parenting approaches that he sees today including; Fear Based Parenting, Evangelical Behavior Modification Parenting, Image Control Parenting, High Control Parenting, Herd Mentality Parenting, Duct-Tape Parenting and Life Support Parenting. The rest of the book is spent showing the flaws in these parenting methods, while explaining what Grace Based Parenting is.
Grace based parenting is not parenting without boundaries, rules, or discipline. Grace based parenting at its heart is parenting our kids the way God, through Jesus, has been a parent to us, His children. Grace is the primary way in which God has dealt with us.
Using Scripture as His source Dr. Kimmel lays out the three driving needs of all people.
1.) A need for security
2.) A need for significance
3.) A need for strength.
Dr. Kimmel spends the rest of the book describing how these three driving needs of children (and all people) are met and developed in grace based parents and grace based homes.
A need for security is met by a child living in a home providing a secure love and granting freedom for them to be different. A need for significance is met by a child living in a home that points the child to a significant purpose and allows them to be vulnerable. A need for strength is met in a home where a strong hope is demonstrated and taught and the child is given the freedom to make mistakes. Dr. Kimmel unpacks all of these from Scripture and through great story telling.
There were many things that I really enjoyed about this book, but one thing really stuck out to me was the distinction that Dr. Kimmel made between fear based parenting and grace based parenting. In a world where there is lots of evil, and there is lots to fear, it can be easy for parenting decisions to be driven by fear. However, the great downfall is fear based parenting, and fear based decision making, always forgets to include one hugely important factor. What does it forget to factor in? The power of the God of the universe to be able to protect our children in the midst of an evil and often times fear inducing world that we live in. God is bigger than all that, and we cannot forget that truth!
This book is full of hope, and encouragement! It is full of stories that will have you shedding tears of sadness to stories that will have you shedding tears of joy! It is a book that drives you to the Word of God! It drives you to your knees in thankfulness to how God has graciously dealt with you. It drives you to your knees to depend upon God for the help that you need to love and raise your children the same way that God loves and raises us as His children! I highly recommend Grace Based Parenting to all parents!