How to raise godly children in a godless world
Do you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle? Against the culture, against the busyness, sometimes even against your spouse and kids… Often it seems like everything is against you as a parent, and your everyday life can feel far from joy-filled. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Parents Rising will show you eight cultural trends that parents are up against today and what you can do to claim victory.
This book is about growth not guilt. It’s not a pep talk, or a “try harder” speech. This is real help for real problems that every parent faces. It’s a way to focus your efforts so that they’ll be more effective and you’ll be less exhausted.
- A Must Read for Christian Parents
Parents Rising is the latest book by author and mom of three Arlene Pellicane. Since my daughter is only two I have just begun reading parenting books and so far, Parents Rising is one of my favorites. The book title is derived from the challenge Arlene presents to parents throughout the book which is, "Parents we must rise." Parents must rise against the low expectations set by culture regarding how children behave and whom they become.
I enjoyed this book so much that I could hardly put it down. In fact, I finished the book in 3 days. Rather than being divided into chapters, Parents Rising is divided into 8 strategies parents are encouraged to begin practicing. As a follower of Christ, I was excited about Arlene writing from a Biblical perspective. One of the opening statements she begins with is, "The number of parents who raise kids who love God, respect authority, and value what's right must increase for the sake of your children, and the generations that follow. There's too much at stake in eternity to get sidetracked on a smartphone," (pg. 19) - she is absolutely right! In this day and age with so much opportunity for distraction, I really appreciated this much-needed reminder.
I am also thankful that Arlene encourages parents to teach their children self-control and uses Proverbs 25:28 as the basis to do so. I've heard many other Godly parents encourage this as well so it was helpful that Arlene mentioned it and gave some examples of how teaching our children self-control will pay off in the long run. Arlene is also faithful to emphasize the importance of parents training their children to honor and obey their parents in alignment with Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1-3.
One practical tool included in Parents Rising is the ABC Test on page 74. This test encourages parents to train their children to think through the following when it comes to media (tv/movies/music/video game) choices: Attitude (What attitudes does the media encourage?), Behavior (What type of behavior will it encourage in your child?) and Character (What kind of character traits are devalued and praised?). I really like this simple test and plan to implement with my children.
While I greatly enjoyed Parents Rising and highly recommend that all parents read it, I do have a few cautions I'd like to highlight:
On page 61 there is a reference from a psychologist who encourages parents to help their children cultivate flexible thoughts. An example provided is, "Let's say it's bedtime for your son but he's not really tired. He can either think, 'I'm going to flex with it,' or 'I'm going to fight against it and throw a fit.' Those are two basic options. Will he think flexible thoughts, or will he think mad thoughts?" I was confused by the inclusion of this idea in the book because it seems to imply that we ought to train outward behavior. While this is, indeed, a part of the parenting equation, it fails to emphasize the need for parents to help their children address what is going on at the heart level. I'd rather have a conversation with my children that involves me seeking to understand (Proverbs 20:5) and asks questions that help them see their need for a Savior. I would also encourage teaching children to memorize Philippians 4:8 and use that as a filter for their thoughts. Flexible thoughts can change outward behavior but may not necessarily direct the child's heart back to the living and active word of God (Hebrews 4:12). Mad thoughts are synonymous with angry thoughts and unrighteous anger is both foolish and sinful - it must be addressed and repented of (Proverbs 29:11, Ecclesiastes 7:9, James 1:19).
My second caution involves the reference on page 89 from the book Love and Respect. The one quote used in Parents Rising isn't wrong or sinful but I highly encourage readers to exercise wisdom and caution should they choose to read Love and Respect. I'm not sure why this book has gained so much traction in Christian circles because in listening to others rave about it, I've realized that it presents love in the marriage relationship as very conditional which is a stark contrast to how marriage is depicted in the Bible (see Ephesians 5:25-33). I haven't read Love and Respect but what I know of it from others and this review (http://www.hopeforlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/LR_BiblicalOrDeceptive.pdf) is enough to keep me away.
These concerns aside, I really enjoyed Parents Rising and encourage you to pick up a copy so you too can enjoy learning from Arlene's wise words.
I received Parents Rising compliments of Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.