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Have you ever heard a parent comment on how they were unsure how to approach parenting? They are then inundated with tons of well-meant information that is not very practical. Think here about the “sleep when the baby sleeps” type of advice. The idea is great but in reality, it just doesn’t work that way. At least it didn’t for me.
Tying Their Shoes is different. It is a thoughtful, Christ-centered approach to parenting as a whole, knowing that parenting is the greatest of all stewardship opportunities God gives. Realizing that children are images of the living God should influence each aspect of parenting. The full title of this book is Tying Their Shoes: A Christ-Centered Approach to Preparing for Parenting. It is written by Rob and Stephanie Green, who have three children of their own.
The introduction is just that – introducing the reader to the Greens and their family and introducing what they are trying to accomplish with this book for parents. They recognize that the world is completely different when a child enters the family. “In fact, it is earthshaking. Two people who are used to caring for themselves bring home a little baby who requires constant care. . . It is a joyful, terrifying, exciting, and intimidating experience.” Recognizing how God grace is going to help them through each moment is what most parents struggle with the most and that is the hope of this book – to see how God walks with parents through their parenting little souls.
First up – know your identity. Knowing who you are and how all the relationships you are part of work together can make adding a child to the mix easier. But not everyone knows this. Identity is how we think about ourselves and so it is important for this to be solid. Where is your identity found? The answer should be in Christ. This chapter helps strengthen that understanding if you have it already and if it is one you struggle with, there are Bible verses to help you understand God’s love for you and His place in your life.
Next the reader is brought through a chapter designed to help you prioritize your marriage. Without this priority in place, the child can easily use up a lot of your time, leaving you disconnected with your spouse. This makes everything harder. This chapter helps you put your marriage in the place it belongs and keep God at the center of it.
Additional chapters help you see God through in the difficulties of each step in parenting. The chapters include:
- The Lord is My Shepherd – Labor and Delivery
- Be Prepared to go Home
- Accomplish the Goal in Parenting
- Work Together – Not Against Each Other
- Stewardship of Sleep, Money, and the Heart
- The Blessings of Parenting
- Dad’s Involvement
- All I Want Is “Me Time”
- Sexual Intimacy as a New Parent
- Learning to Teach and Discipline
- Cast Your Cares on God
The advice that comes through each of these chapters is practical, honest, and centered on God. Not everything in the book is something that will resonate with every reader. But there is much good. So take the things that will help you and don’t worry about the rest. While the Greens try hard to focus on what God has told us in the Bible with their advice, this is not God’s word and we don’t need to treat it as such. So, take what you can use and move on. Don’t worry about the rest. It may come in handy at a later date and it may not. But I found there to be much good advice in here.
If you are looking for a Christ-centered parenting book that is not the same old, same old, this is it. Take a good look at Tying Their Shoes by Rob and Stephanie Green.
About the authors:
Robert E. Green, MDiv, PhD, is the pastor of counseling and seminary ministries at Faith Church, Lafayette, Indiana. Rob wrote Tying the Knot and several smaller works on marriage and family issues. Rob and his wife, Stephanie, have three children.
Stephanie E. Green, RN, is a homemaker and heavily involved in mentoring women in Faith Church, Lafayette, Indiana. She is the author of minibook Miscarriage: You Are Not Alone and worked as a registered nurse for over a decade primarily in the newborn nursery and postpartum units.