Let’s Talk. I’m discovering more and more that these are the types of books I enjoy most. The book is written in such a way that I feel like we are having a conversation. He gives examples of home life that makes the content more personable. All throughout there are real life stories that feel like you are having a conversation with a trusted counselor. Easy read, and that’s a good thing.
Plan Ahead. What’s your plan for your kids? Do you a have a discipleship plan? What type of spiritual goals do you have for your kids? Yeah, exactly. If you answered “uh”, you might want to give this book a try. Great practical advice for future and intentional planning for your kids.
Ironic Title. It’s ironic a book called “Confident Parenting” could make me a little less confident. That is, in the sense that I have a long way to go. There is much to work on. But the confidence comes from the advice, the hope of a future, and practical ways to reach your goals.
Theology Light. With the exception of a couple of chapters, it was light on theology. It has a great Biblical foundation. And you know, I don’t think the intent was to dive into a theological discussion on parenting. Rather, it presented Biblical points and dove into practical ways to carry out God’s instructions. And the book accomplished this goal masterfully.
The Grade: B+. Don’t have time to read a parenting book, because you know, you’re a full-time parent just hanging on? This would be a great book to just read a few pages in between karate, the grocery store, and laundry. Looking for a less busy, grace-filled, positive, and encouraging home? Then you might want to give this book a try.
I’ve reached a milestone in my life. One decade of parenting. It would probably take me that long to write all the lessons I have learned over the years. So instead, I’d like to list a few things parenting has taught me, and more importantly how it has changed me.
Patience. Here’s a rule of thumb. When you want your kids to move quickly – cleaning up, rushing to the car in the rain, or walking quickly past the toy aisle…they are in slow motion. When you have literally an ounce of energy left, they could fill water towers with their energy. What have I learned through this? Patience. (Still learning this by the way). I have to be patient with their slow pace, learning how to pick up toys, and their misunderstanding of why they can’t do things. Parenting is a marathon, and if you expect them to be competent, tax-paying, godly, self-sufficient people after they grow out of diapers, buckle up and take a drink from the patient drinking fountain.
Flexibility. All the kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair done, and looking very well put together. You are headed out and we grab the baby to put into the car seat. One problem. Poop. Poop. Is. Everywhere. You thought you were going to be early out the door…now your plans aren’t the only things you have to change. Kids get hurt, sick, tired, soiled…you have to be flexible. Roll with the punches. As a very structured, plan ahead, day-timers are fun type of guy. This has been a challenge, but also a valuable lesson.
Confrontation. Multiple children are screaming. Another yells “I’m going to hit you”. Loud noises, like someone is throwing something, is also occurring. You just sat down for the first time all day. You didn’t even have a chance to exhale. So do you let it play out? You may not believe in evolution, but you are really tempted to see if this “survival of the fittest” thing has any merit. Oh, you’re so tempted. But no, parenting has taught me you have to get up and confront the assailant and the defendant. Listen to the witnesses, plea bargains, and review the evidence…and then make a verdict. People rise when judges enter the room, you have to duck from not getting hit with a whiffle bat. Judges also get to retire to their chambers for decision-making and a quiet moment, you have to wait till midnight for that. So, what do you do? You confront, correct, and discipline. Why, because you love these kids.
Giving. You’ve read the graphic. Your kid when they are 18 will have cost you $__________. It’s like when you buy a house, don’t look at that last page that includes all the interest. Don’t do it. And with kids, don’t ever think about how much they are going to cost. Instead, think about how much love you can give them. My wife and I have rarely worried about how God would provide for our children over these last 10 years. He has always been faithful. Sure, they will get more expensive in the coming years, but you can’t live life seeing children as dollar signs. Give love to them, be wise with your money, but be willing to give too. And giving doesn’t stop with your money, your kids need you to give them time, attention, and all the love you can possibly share.
Unselfishness. Speaking of giving time. Listen, there will be times when the only “me time” you get is when you go the bathroom (and even then do not expect privacy) or that sliver of time before the last child falls asleep and you pass out. So if you go into parenting needing a lot of time to yourself, you’re in the wrong business. Let me tell you, parenting taught me how selfish I was. I still fight selfishness, but having little ones that need me to play with them, teach them, and show them God-moments each day…I can see the value of being unselfish. I’m still learning this lesson every day, but my kids have helped me be more selfless.
Perspective. Ever heard the phrase “don’t cry over spilled milk”. My mother-in-law helped teach me this principle. There is a difference between an accident and a deliberate act of treason by your kids. You get me? Yesterday one of my kids dropped a big glass bowl, and I grabbed the vacuum, my wife grabbed the broom. Perspective. It was an accident. We cleaned it up, and moved on. I’ve gone to bed with stickers or little hair rubber band stuck to my feet. Every day I have to look in my shirt for hair that my little girls have shared with my clothes in our laundry. I’ve stepped in toothpaste, slobbered on, and had to wipe boogers with my hand. Hey man, perspective. One day, I won’t have this. And I’ll miss it. I’ll miss the noise, the craziness, the boogers, the spilled drinks, the cheese sticks I find under our couch that have been sitting there for months (they get hard as a rock!). I’ll miss it. So it’s taught me perspective (that’s certainly not always perfect), but it is much healthier than it was 10 years ago.
I have a long ways to go. I’m just in my first decade, and “teenage-dom” is around the corner. I’m sure I’ll learn a whole new set of lessons then. But until then, I’m thankful for the lessons God has taught me through parenting. It is a humbling, joyful, frustrating, tiring, loving, and growing experience all rolled up in one. And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way in partnering with parents. Hope you find this podcast helpful in your student ministry.
Last week, I wrote on the importance of being on the same team as the parents in your youth ministry. I cannot overstate how critical it is to have a parental connection and partnership within your student ministry. The trust and credibility you build with parents will only bring value and growth. Parents will provide the support you need in various ways and you will be able to provide valuable insight and encouragement to their parenting journey.
Today, I’d like to share with you one practical method of getting parents on your team. It’s not a trick or an ulterior motive ploy. On the contrary, you hopefully have the same heart as the parents, and that is to see their child grow in their relationship with the Lord and reach their full potential of using their God-given abilities and gifts.
One way that happens is through Parent/Pastor Conferences. You heard me. Why can’t teachers have all the fun with parent/teacher conferences. After all, aren’t youth pastors/workers/leaders also teaching their children valuable material (the most valuable actually) and need to give progress updates to the parents and find ways we can work together at church and home to allow the student to achieve continued spiritual growth? In actuality, this meeting has more significance (no offense teachers, you are most appreciated), but not because of the teacher’s place in the student’s life, but because the church teaches about that which is eternal.Shouldn’t parents and pastors sit down and discuss ways they can partner with each other to allow the teenager to fight temptation, grow in their spiritual disciplines and gifts, and experience spiritual growth. I can hear you scream YES from here! So how is this done? I’m glad you asked.
That’s it. 5 steps to conducting a parent/pastor conference. Just another way to get parents on your team. You will be pleasantly surprised at the value this provides in your personal ministry to teens, and in your relationships with parents. Trust, encouragement, direction, blessing, and counsel all happens in 30 minutes. Give is a try, and get on the same team with those parents.
That seems like a silly question. Couldn’t all parents use at least a little help with parenting. Paul Tripp wrote a book called “Parenting”. You know what it is about? Parenting. Seriously though, it’s more than that. This book has a dynamite combination. Sometimes when you combine two things, it’s not so great. Like hot dogs and mayonnaise, not what the doctor ordered. Or how about stripes and plaids? Gasoline and an open flame? These are all disasters waiting to happen. But when you combine a parenting book with the Gospel, you get a must read.
Don’t Skip the Intro. What a way to set up a book! Like a great pregame from a coach, the author’s motivation in the opening pages is impeccable. Not sure about the book, read the intro and you’ll be asking “Where do I sign?”
Gospel-Centered. The author’s web page suggested his concern of parenting self-help books, and even his previous parenting books being held in more importance than God’s Word. So, the author goes all out in taking the Gospel into parenting, rather than the other way around. And he does a masterful job of instilling Gospel principles into everyday parenting. It’s not too over the top, the “porridge” tastes just right.
That Didn’t Take Long. Read a chapter and set a timer…it won’t be very long until you are tested with these practical principles from God’s Word. These chapters are filled with practical lessons, that are both challenging and convicting. And it doesn’t take long for you to be tested on the material.
This, This, and This. The author has a certain style. He like a particular mode of writing. The book is filled with a specific literary technique. I was trying to be subtle there, but the author tends to lean on a repetitive style of writing, and enjoys repeating a phrase in different ways. Most of the time, it is very effective and needed, but every once in a while the list just seems redundant.
The Grade: A. For any phase of parenting, this book is a must read. Read it before having kids. Read it when you are in the heat of the battle. Read it as a grandparent. Suggest it to friends. Suggest it in parent meetings. It’s a must read. It goes to the heart of both the parent and the child, and it does not let go. It is enlightening, frustratingly challenging, spiritually uplifting, directionally on target, and never wavers from the truth of God’s Word. It is a must read.
Book Review: Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp
Do you know a Teenager? Then read this book. If you are a parent of a teenager, read this book. If you work with teenagers, read this book. If you know the name of a teenager, read this book. Seriously, it is one of the best books I have read for guiding teens to a godly life.
Preparation for Life. I feel like this book truly prepares the parent for real life. Tripp is honest in his parenting short falls and weaknesses that we all share as parents. He does not sugar coat the difficulty of raising a teenager, but he provides valuable insight on truly getting your teenager ready to face the world, AND have an effect on the world for Christ.
Biblical. This book is intensely Biblical. Drawing the wisdom and insight from Scripture, it allows you trust what is being presented, because it is straight from God’s Word. It not only provides the Scripture backing, but also ways to guide your teens to find their answers for living within the pages of the Word of God.
Length. If you are not an avid reader, this would be the only drawback. It is a long parent book, but if you stick with it, it is well worth your time.
The Grade: A. No book is perfect (except ones that are inspired by God), but this one is a good as they come. Every parent should have this on their shelf and should be referenced often in their pursuit of raising godly children. It provides practical ways to prepare their child for real life along with a proper balance of living an effective Christian life. Priceless advice that needs to be read and re-read often.
Book Review: Mighty Men by John Crotts
Leadership Inspiration. As a man, you don’t walk away from this book with your head down and wallowing in your “I can’t do this” pity. It gives you a little pep in your step to get the job done. This book provides you practical steps to accomplish leadership in the family.
The B-I-B-L-E, that’s the book for me. Love when a book has a solid foundation in God’s Word. Well, this book’s foundation, walls, outlets, and ceiling fans are all rooted in the Bible. Every subject, heading, chapter is firmly supported by God’s Word throughout the book.
Just My Size. This book packs a punch is only 37 pages. For a slow reader like myself, it was a refreshing change to provide valuable information in a book that didn’t take a while to read.
Do-it-yourself Design: If you are into glossy pages, clever font, and perfectly structured chapters…keep moving along. The book is very rudimentary in design, especially the pages within. But if you are able to move past that, the value is in the words.
The Grade: A. Husbands, fathers, men…you need to pick this book up. Sure, some of this may be review, but it needs reviewed. Better yet, read it, then find someone you can mentor and give them this book. Take them to Bob Evans a few times, get the Farmer’s breakfast, put some ketchup on those home fries…and build mighty men!