Introduction to Equipping for Life
Margaret and I are very excited about the recent release of our book on parenting, Equipping for Life: A Guide for New, Aspiring & Struggling Parents published by Christian Focus. We wanted to take a moment to introduce our book by answering some questions about our purpose in writing a book on parenting and some of the book’s distinct features. We hope that you’ll be encouraged from the lessons we’ve learned from our own parenting journey.
Why did you write Equipping for Life? Tell us a bit about your family and about your parenting journey.
Margaret: Well, we’ve been married for almost 30 years. We have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, one graduated from college and is working, another one in grad school, one in college, and one in high school. So, we may not have done everything perfectly, but we’ve got plenty of parenting experience! We wrote this book out of a burden to equip the next generation—young couples—as they start a family or already have small children. In addition, we want the book to be helpful for parents as they mentor their children in the parenting journey.
What is distinctive about your book? How is your book different from the many other parenting books on the market?
Andreas: Good question! Yes, certainly there are tons of parenting books on the market, Christian and non-Christian—we’ve read many of them ourselves. What is distinctive about our book? First, it was written by a married couple, who are both theologians as well as parents. I’m a professor of NT and BT and have written rather widely on biblical manhood and womanhood.
Margaret: I’m the director of women’s programs and mentoring at a seminary. Andreas and I have written a book called God’s Design for Man and Woman. We both use this book with young seminary students to mentor them on their identity and roles in the home and the church. So, God’s Design is foundational for the book we’re talking about today.
Andreas: We look at Equipping for Life as a sort of sequel that zeroes in on parenting specifically. As we say in our book, we aim to be biblically based, theologically grounded, and missionally oriented. What we mean by “biblically based” is that is we are committed Christians who believe in the Bible’s authority for all of life, including how we raise our children, and so look first to Scripture to instruct us how we should parent.
By “theologically grounded” we mean that we reflect theologically on the parenting task. In other words, parenting comes from God who created us in his image and likeness and who himself is called “Father” in Scripture relating to Jesus Christ as his “Son.” Therefore, we discuss the fatherhood of God in relation to parenting in an early chapter of our book.
Finally, by “missionally oriented” we mean that we conceive of parenting holistically and comprehensively, in view of the goal of parenting, which is to equip a young person for life. What is the calling God has given to our sons and daughters?
Margaret: We want to help them find out and pursue this calling with all their hearts, minds, strength, and soul, for the glory of God. Not that we’ve always done a perfect job at this, but we believe this is the high and noble goal of Christian parenting.
You say in your subtitle your book is for “New, Aspiring, and Struggling Parents.” How can each of these groups benefit from reading your book?
Margaret: Yes. Well, I still remember when we had our first child, and then our second, and so on, and we desperately craved parenting advice. Sometimes as a young parent, you very much live in the moment, and you stumble from stage to stage as best as you can—from birth, to a child’s infancy, and the toddler years, and so forth. We think that new parents can really benefit from thinking of their role as parents in the bigger scheme of things, all the way till they’ve raised their child to adulthood. So, new parents can benefit by reading our book in that they’ll be able to reflect on what lies ahead in the near and even more distant future and so get perspective on what parenting is primarily about.
Andreas: Not only new parents but even aspiring parents will find the book helpful, I believe, because in our book we try to cast a vision for what lies ahead if you are young couple planning to get married and planning your future together, including having children. This book could be very useful as one of the books you read together, chapter by chapter, in premarital counseling, and discuss together (there are discussion questions at the end of every chapter).
Margaret: Incidentally, Andreas has also written a very thorough book called God, Marriage & Family, which gives a survey of many issues related to marriage and family (abridged as Marriage and the Family), that can serve as a helpful complement in this regard; in that book he discusses God’s plan for marriage and the family and touches on many other issues such as contraception, adoption, and parenting as well. God, Marriage & Family has been widely used in seminary counseling classes.
Andreas: To get back to our book for today, struggling parents will benefit from reading Equipping for Life as well. Aren’t we all struggling as parents in a variety of ways? None of us has all the answers. That’s because parenting is very complex—every child is different—and, as we discuss in our book, parenting is done by sinners on sinners, and involves spiritual warfare as well. We’ve found that parenting is all about making adjustments along the way and learning from others.
Margaret: Unfortunately, we’ve found that it’s often hard to give parenting the undivided attention it deserves because most of us are so busy and struggle just to make it through the day. But our children are precious and being a parent is a sacred task and so deserves our very best. So, whether you are a new, aspiring, or struggling parent, or a mature parent desiring to mentor the younger generation, you’ll hopefully benefit from Equipping for Life.