Raising children is a full time job. When they become teenagers, it means overtime! Our book of the month for July is going to help you know how to use that extra time effectively. Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp is a great way to follow up on the lessons learned from Chris Hamilton in his message on Courageous Parenting.
In part one of the book, Tripp lays the groundwork for the challenge, providing an easy-to-understand definition of family (a learning community). He also gives parents their job description of the family as a theological community (loving God), a sociological community (loving others) and redemptive community (confessing your sin and need of a Savior). He concludes this part with a chapter titled “Parents, Meet Your Teenager.” Here he uses the book of Proverbs to describe the characteristics of teenagers, though you might find yourself saying “I’m like that!” You will see yourself throughout the book, which makes it good for anyone to read, not just parents of teenagers.
Part two provides five biblical goals that parents have in raising their teenagers. This is the heart of the book. These goals are drawn from scripture and described by what they will look like in the life of a teenager. Here are the goals:
- To help them focus on the spiritual struggle they face.
- To develop a heart of biblical convictions and wisdom.
- To teach them how to understand and interact with their culture, the world.
- To develop a heart for God.
- To prepare them to leave home.
Part Three gives strategies to use while parents are raising these teenagers. But don’t think that Tripp did not include some great ideas/strategies as he explained about the goals. He did! The first two parts had a lot of information, which caused me to think, “How can I do all of that? Where do I start?” That is what these final two chapters will do for you. It does not happen over one magical weekend, or week, or even a year. But you have to start someplace, and Tripp provides you with some great tips.
An excellent study guide is provided at the end of the book. It includes not only the typical study questions, which can basically be answered by reading the chapter, but also gives great application questions so that you can see where you need to get to work. This study guide would be great for parents to use in small groups to support and encourage one another.
Age of Opportunity is a must read. It’s also an easy read, with plenty of great stories to illustrate the principles that are taught. Don’t wait any longer! Get this book and get started! You’re going to be working overtime!