Lord willing, this will be the first of many parenting books that I post about as we are expecting our first child this July.
Having read and enjoyed “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by by Tedd Trip last year (see Ron’s review), I found this book to be an almost perfect compliment to Trip’s book. “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” lays a great foundation for Biblical parenting and the theology that should drive it. “Disciplines of a Godly Family”, while containing the same theology, adds to that foundation and offers some great practical advice and ideas, taken from the faithful (although they admit not perfect) parenting of the Hughes. I think the two books make a great pair and we plan on revisiting them frequently in the coming years (although my wife and I did get in a little bit of a disagreement while discussing the chapter on good manners).
The most helpful chapters in my opinion:
Chapter 1: Discipline of Establishing a Heritage
“Psalm 127:4 compares children to arrows. Parents, like archers, launch their children into the future, aiming toward a distant target. Some parents take clear aim, and their arrows are well directed toward their future mark. But other “child arrows” are fired from undisciplined bows by parents who are, at best, ambivalent about where they came from and unsure of their aim. Their arrows waver and falter, then finally succumb to gravity with no mark in sight. They tragically prove the adage, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll surely hit it.” – p. 21
Chapter 5: Discipline of Praying with Dedication
“Our Bible and common sense tell us it is absurd for Christian parents to read books about how to be better parents if they do not pray for their children” – p.74
Chapter 6: Discipline of Pursuing Family Ministry
“Hearts that have room only for their own ‘family,’ as it is conveniently defined, are shriveled hearts, shamefully out of sync with the pulse of the Master’s heart.” -p. 90
Chapter 7: Discipline of Instilling Healthy Self-regard
“So then, what are our major criticisms of the self-esteem movement? We will note two: it is unbiblical, and it is self-absorbed…Two disciplines are necessary for a healthy self-regard: a proper self-focus and an overriding God-focus.” p. 98-99
The Hughes have compiled an extensive collection of helpful appendixes, from family recipes, to how to make your own advent calendars, to practical suggestions for discipline. The appendixes equal the rest of the book in size and content.