Senior Parent Reflection: Biblical Resources that Molded Our Parenting Habits

By Barbara Wells
SBS Lower School Principal

My youngest son, Jeremy, will be graduating in just a few short weeks as I write this, and my heart is full of so many emotions. My family came to StoneBridge when my oldest was four. I became involved as a parent volunteer and room mother before coming on staff as a first grade teacher. Only God knew my family would grow deep roots on the StoneBridge campus as we have! It is our joy to serve the community in my role as principal in the Lower School and for my husband and son as coaches. 

As I reflect on the rich blessings we have received as StoneBridge parents, I am grateful for wisdom from staff such as Mr. Hunt, Mr. Carlucci, Mrs. Shirley, Mrs. Beale, Mrs. Damron and so many more. In this season as a senior mom, I notice the various small, seemingly routine, aspects of life are fleeting now. I look toward the end of “school days” and forward to Jeremy stepping into his future, prepared to pursue God’s calling and continuing to reach “the fullest expression of his value in Christ.” What a privilege to share the company of the “great cloud of witnesses” who attest to God’s faithfulness and wisdom at StoneBridge! I have been asked to share a few book recommendations that have been meaningful to me through these years.

Early in my parenting experience, I realized the critical need for laying God’s Word at the foundation of raising my boys. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” I would be remiss to not state the obvious: we cannot parent effectively apart from the Bible! As I sought to apply this principle, I discovered biblical resources that molded these parenting habits in my life. 

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Pray the scriptures for your children.
Nothing has greater impact than praying God’s own words as you lift them up before His throne of grace. A few books that have helped me do that are:

Parent with the gospel and a lens of grace.
Ron and I led a study of Paul David Tripp’s video series “Getting to the Heart of Parenting” that impacted my perspective on discipline. Tripp retooled that study into his book Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family.

We became more equipped to address the heart (internal cause) of the behavior (external manifestation) of our boys. I began to see every moment of discipline as an opportunity of grace from God, a time to be grateful that God brought sin into the light so that we could apply gospel principles of forgiveness and reconciliation.

“Test everything. Hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).
Years ago, I read a blog article by Natasha Crain entitled “How I am teaching my 6 year old to think critically.” This propelled me on a quest to train my boys in spiritual discernment. In a social environment of relative “truth,” redefined words and rampant deception, I knew my boys needed to be able to distinguish God’s truth from falsehoods. Crain is a prolific author who also has a podcast. Her first book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help them Build a Lasting Faith, is one I highly recommend.

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The other book I “devoured” on this topic is Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies edited by Hillary Morgan Ferrer (Harvest House Publishers). Beyond grasping an understanding of linguistic theft and the art of “chew and spit,” I learned as the authors demonstrated how to demolish strongholds with genuine gentleness and respect (2 Cor. 10:5). I cannot recommend this book highly enough! (Maybe we should do a book study!)

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Love. Pray. Listen.
“And the greatest of these is LOVE.” In some of my most urgent, groaning prayers as a mom, with my heart crying out, “Lord, what do I DO?” I have heard God’s still small voice telling me, “Just love him. Love covers a multitude of sin. Love like I love.”

Don’t we know it is God’s voice when the response is more perplexing than clarifying? This is when I was pointed toward a study of I Corinthians 13, “the love chapter”, entitled Love, Pray, Listen by Mary DeMuth. Although DeMuth’s focus is on parenting wayward adult children, my thinking was challenged about how I was parenting my boys on the brink of adulthood. I felt the ground beneath me shifting, but diving into the depths of the remarkable, distinguished qualities of God’s love brought a stabilizing force. 

The Roman philosopher Cicero once wrote, “For there is assuredly nothing dearer to a man than wisdom, and though age takes away all else, it undoubtedly brings us that.” As one chapter of life ends, I do not consider it loss, but a turning of the page to a new chapter. With each passage written, God is forming my character and revealing more of Himself to me, especially as I grapple with parenting. I am so grateful for those who have traveled the path before me, and I am honored to continue to have opportunities to share with you.