“Am I doing this right?” When it comes to raising children of faith, I not only wonder if my parenting is right, but if we’re being strong spiritual leaders as well.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to review two books sent at no charge from the publishers: Intentional Parenting and Connecting Church & Home. Here’s my thoughts (stay tuned for a giveaway!).
Intentional Parenting by Goff, Thomas, and Trevathan (Thomas Nelson) had me crying “YES! Yes, yes,” and nodding my head vigorously page after page. It’s part common sense that needs repeating and heeding, and part age-appropriate scenarios and examples to help parents understand how to become intentional in their parenting.
Instead of parenting by the seat of your pants, the authors advise a thoughtful, prayerful, plan-ful approach. Parenting out of who you are as a Christian parent and not from what you feel in the moment or because of your upbringing/history.
A good way to understand what intentional parenting means is to ask, What stories will your kids have about you as a parent? Are you acting as the parent you want them to remember? What is the vision for your family? What core values do you want to instill?
The book covers topics like how to identify the kind of parent you are (and how to improve!), how to be balanced, consistent, playful, and spiritual, among other topics. Each chapter is divided into advice for parents of toddlers, children, and teenagers, which is helpful for finding the information for your child.
Overall, the book is an easy read, yet makes you think. I’ll definitely be re-reading this one! It’s full of encouragement, real life examples and some scripture. I wished there’re was more supportive scripture to each point, but, since this is written for Christian parents, I think it is clear how the principles were drawn from the Bible.
Connecting Church & Home by Dr. Tim Kimmel (Randall House) was a great book to follow the above. With refreshing clarity, Kimmel pinpoints issues plaguing our culture when it comes to faith and family.
What struck a chord was how families have “outsourced” spirituality to the church. Instead of parents bringing their children to church “full” of the Spirit and ready to worship, they arrive empty.
“Strong families make strong churches.” God intended families to be primarily responsible for spiritual upbringing, with the church as a complement and support.
The concepts in this book are ones I’ve been mulling over for some time – how do I connect our children’s hearts to God? I’ve noticed my understanding of God has deepened since becoming a parent, because I’m finally understanding God as a Father. As a Parent.
As this book points out, many Christian families spend too much time ticking off “line items” from their Christian “checklist” – things they think they must “do” to raise godly kids. (Now, my Type-A side finds this appealing and concrete!). However, we’re supposed to relate to our children the way God relates to us, to show our kids the way to Christ.
The over-arching theme of the book seems to be one of encouraging families to strive towards building a spiritual disposition in their children, rather than simply outwardly spiritual “behavior” that isn’t true relationship with God.
My favorite chapter was the last – full of resources for parents to guide children through various stages of life from baby dedication to graduation. I’m interested to go online and check out the Family Land Map – a grace-based ministry map for homes and churches alike to keep the focus on building character and developing spiritual relationships.
Both these book speak to the topic of our role as Christian parents – it’s not to be passive. It’s about growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord… and transferring this understanding as a spiritual legacy to our children. As parenting seems to be growing more hurried and more harried, I am confident these books will encourage and refocus our parenting.
WIN IT: Randall House is offering my readers a giveaway of Connecting Church & Home! Enter in the Rafflecopter form below:
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Thanks to both publishers for providing review copies and to Randall House for offering a reader giveaway! All opinions are 100% my own.