Why do you read parenting books?

Posted on March 22, 2008 · Posted in Parenting

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
  rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser
still;
  teach a righteous man and he will add to his
learning.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of
wisdom,
  and knowledge of the Holy One is
understanding. Proverbs 9:8-10

The
obvious answer to this question is “to become a better parent.” But will the
book you are reading really help you? Processing the information that you read
is a challenge. Do you come away from the book with questions about application?
Do you wonder if it is really biblical and helpful? Sometimes you may be more
perplexed about parenting issues when you finish a book than before you started
it. Each book seems to offer a different slant or teaching. How do you sort
these things out?

The
answer lies in why you read. If you read just to gather information or to gain
additional perspectives, over time you will most likely become less confident about
parenting, because no two books are alike.

 .

The
alternative is to read for wisdom—biblical wisdom.

There
are at least two factors to consider in reading for wisdom. The first is that
for you to gain wisdom, the author your read must be wise.

The
teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
  turning a man from the snares of death.
Proverbs 13:14

The
Proverbs give you a simple but powerful way to identify a wise man—he is one
who fears the Lord and shuns evil. Does the author of your parenting book
demonstrate a healthy fear of God in his writing? How can you tell? The answer
is found in his reliance upon Scripture. The Bible has all that we need for
life and godliness. It will not take long to determine if the author of a
parenting book is relying on Scripture and its wisdom.

The
second factor in reading to gain wisdom is to expect to find a rebuke in the pages
of your parenting book. If your author is full of biblical wisdom, you will find
a loving rebuke in his words. It is dangerous to read a book looking primarily for
affirmation of your practices. Rather, as Proverbs 9:9 indicates, you should want
to add to your learning. When you come across something that challenges your
practices, don’t immediately react defensively. Examine whether the author has
a sound biblical basis for his instruction. If he does, then rejoice because
you have received the rebuke of a wise man.

This
means, of course, that you must know the soundness of the author. Is he
well-respected by those who highly value God’s word? Does he rely more on
Scripture or on anecdotes to make his points? How strongly has he been
influenced by those who have little respect for Scripture?

For
example, Shepherd Press takes great care that the books they publish
demonstrate biblical wisdom and are built on solid doctrine. Look for authors
and publishers with this commitment to truth.

If you will apply this simple filter to the parenting books you read, the
rewards will be significant. Let me ask again, “Why do you read parenting books?” Do you read to become wise?

Let me know your thoughts.

Just a reminder, the new Shepherd Press website will be up the week of March
27th

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