New mentoring book is encouraging to parents
Transparenting: Mentoring the Next Generation by Steve Keels with Dan Vorm. Broadman & Holman, 2006, $9.99, 145 pages.
When it comes to Christian parenting, we could always use more encouragement and more instruction. Parents know and love their children better than anyone else. They must never take lightly the development of each child’s spiritual identity, friendships, and societal contributions. So says Steve Keels in a new book published by Broadman & Holman called Transparenting: Mentoring the Next Generation.
The strength of this book comes from the spirit in which it is written. Keels has an obvious love for children and students, and his love is contagious. He believes that parents are the perfect ones to influence this emerging generation for Christ. He reminds parents that they have an indescribable love for their children, they know their children better than anyone else on earth, and their children have been entrusted into their care for this very purpose.
Keels stresses the importance of identifying the basic character traits of our children in order to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what makes them tick helps us to mentor them in wisdom. He directs parents to discern the spirit of the age, and to recognize when our children are being negatively influenced by the voices of the world. Only by mentoring our children in God’s Word, and by living out our Christian faith with authenticity can we hope to bring them up in the Lord.
There are two excellent chapters about the relationships our children have with their friends. On one hand, he speaks about the powerful influence friends have on our children. He offers practical advice for how to help our children choose their friends wisely, and when to depart from relationships that pull them away from Jesus Christ. Then, he devotes a whole chapter talking about how to influence our kid’s friends for Christ, reminding us of the opportunities we as parents have to lead these young people to the Lord.
Keels finishes the book by discussing the pain of a rebellious child and how to steer kids away from rebellion. I really appreciate his attitude, for he stresses the importance of the heart, as opposed to getting bent out of shape over mere external behavior. He writes, “It’s interesting that our view of law, grace, and forgiveness greatly affects how we raise our kids. If a parent has a habit of seeking forgiveness from God on a regular, even daily basis, he’s much more likely to raise his kids in a grace-and-truth environment.” Because the heart of our children is the real issue, this is where we must direct the focus of our parenting.
This book is not written to be the last word on parenting. However, it is a book that will encourage you to press on with the task of parenting, and to love your children in word and deed. As such, I think this book would make a good addition to any church library. (Scott Lamb is one of the founding pastors of Providence Baptist Church, St. Louis, and is a regular book reviewer for The Pathway. To respond to this review or to read about other books, visit www.wisdomofthepages.com.)