Three books offer profitable advice on parenting
When it comes to fatherhood, I often feel like Bill Cosby who said, “My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own fatherhood, but it didn’t because parenting can only be learned by people who have no children.”
With four boys growing up quick, my wife and I are well aware of our need for continual growth in godliness, especially for the task of parenting. Here are three books that have helped my thinking and actions, and may be of some help to you too.
“The 10 Commandments of Parenting: The Do’s and Dont’s for Raising Great Kids” by Ed Young (Moody, $13.99). Pastor Ed Young provides a mountain of good advice derived from both Scripture and his own experience as a father and grandfather. Young says, “The foundation of a functional family is a relationship with God, through which He controls the home. When that core relationship is broken, dysfunction can enter.”
Young’s “10 Commandments” are best summed up by the last – “#10 Thou shalt not be a passive parent.” Young exhorts parents to love, model, teach, discipline, encourage, provide stability, and talk about sex with their children. Time is the necessary component – “#5 Thou shalt spend time with thy children.”
“Courageous Parenting” by Jack & Deb Graham (Crossway, $17.99) Jack Graham, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and his wife Deb wrote this book in order to encourage parents to form a biblical legacy for their children to follow. With this tag-team approach, the book is conversational in tone and full of helpful and humorous anecdotes. In addition to the timeless truth from scripture, the idea is that the Graham’s family life has stood the test of time and is worthy of emulation. While they do not hold themselves up as flawless examples, they speak from their own experience in order to inspire other parents and couples to walk a similar path of biblical obedience.
The book actually talks about the husband-wife relationship as much as it does the parent-child. This is excellent, for godly parenting is built on the foundation of a God-glorifying marriage. In one of the best chapters, Jack speaks on the sacrificial love that is to characterize a husband and father. He really fleshes out what it means for a man to love his wife like Christ loves the church.
“Craftsmen: Skillfully Leading Your Family for Christ” by John Crotts (Shepherd Press, $12.99)
This third book comes from a different angle in that it focuses specifically on the teaching and implementation of Christian wisdom in the life of our family. Just as a skilled craftsman produces beautiful furniture from rough wood, so too can we build families that are beautiful in Christ.
After laying down a few chapters about the meaning and purpose of divine wisdom, Crotts takes the reader through the main themes of the book of Proverbs. He teaches us how to craft our children for hard work, wise communication, self-control, choice of friends, and sexual purity. Each chapter brims with scripture and with contagious excitement for the learning and applying of God’s truth.
In conclusion, if you were to only get two of these three books, I would choose Crott’s book first, and then add one of the two others by Graham and Young.
And if after reading these books you still have questions, just remember Bill Cosby’s words – “In spite of the seven thousand books of expert advice, the right way to discipline a child is still a mystery to most. Only your grandmother and Ghengis Khan know how to do it.” (Scott Lamb pastors Providence Baptist Church in St. Louis, and is a regular book reviewer for The Pathway. To respond to this review or to read about other books, visit www.wisdomofthepagescom.)