Top Performance Christian Parenting

We live in a world that not only tolerates mediocrity, it celebrates it. The stakes are too high in Christianity to approach it with lest than our best efforts. What does that even mean though? We can’t be perfect, so what will make us effective?

Oddly enough, a republished book by Zig Ziglar may have some of the answers. For those who are too young to have heard of him, Ziglar was the John Maxwell of his day. He was considered the expert on leadership, personal growth and success in general. He wrote and spoke from a Christian perspective – although his books weren’t really considered Christian books.

Top Performance is one of his best sellers. It has been edited and three chapters added to address modern issues not a factor when Ziglar was alive (He died in 2012). The book covers everything from building a foundation for excellence, to leadership qualities and much more.

This book is a classic for a reason. You could know nothing about excellence or leadership and after reading this book, would be prepared for almost any challenge. While it isn’t a Christian book per se, Ziglar weaves his faith throughout applying godly principles to much of what he suggests.

Christian parents are leaders. While this isn’t a parenting book, it is easy enough to apply Ziglar’s suggestions to how you parent your children. While you still may not be a perfect parent, you will probably be a more effective one.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse

In a perfect world, all children would be growing up in homes with parents who have a strong Christian marriage. Unfortunately, even children whose parents have never divorced often see less than the best examples of ways to reflect God’s love to a spouse.

It’s not because we don’t love our spouses (at least most of us) or that we don’t want to show them we love them. It’s just that life with a house full of children is hectic and complicated. There is rarely enough time or energy to take a few extra minutes to make your spouse feel truly loved. Or is it easier than we realize?

Two new books, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife and 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa and Matt Jacobson attempt to give busy spouses the help they need in showing active love to each other.

The authors have made the books extremely easy to read. Each page has a suggestion and usually only a short explanation for the suggestion. Every few pages, there is a short story that illustrates a particular suggestion in more depth.

I can’t speak for the suggestions on how to love your husband, but I would say the book of suggestions of ways to love your wife covers just about everything I have heard women say they wish their husbands would do.

I would imagine a couple of suggestions won’t really be your preference and that those will differ from woman to woman. It would be easy enough to cross out those suggestions and have your husband do the same for you in the book about how to love your husband.

The suggestions themselves are straightforward. Building a great marriage isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of being intentional and consistent in all of those little things that can impact a marriage – especially when compounded over the course of years and hopefully decades.

I would highly suggest giving these books to newly married couples as well as to those who have been married for decades. Most of us could use a few reminders to do those things that make our spouses feel loved and our marriages healthier.

These books were given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. Affiliate links are included for your convenience.

Raising Successful Teens

Many parents, especially Christian parents, worry about the teen years. They know those are the years when their kids will start making independent choices about their faith and their morality. The secret to relatively calm teen years is working with your children when they are very young.

Unfortunately, many parents don’t understand how much time and effort they need to put into Christian parenting. Often parents don’t realize they need to make some adjustments in their parenting until their teen begins making poor choices. The good news is that it’s never to late to do the things your kids need to build strong faith foundations and develop to their godly potential. It may be more difficult if you have waited until your kids are teens, but it’s not impossible.

The new book Raising Successful Teens by Jeffrey Dean is a great primer for parents who are still struggling a bit with Christian parenting. The book covers most of the basics including the roles of parents in the lives of teens, cell phone usage, communication and more.

I appreciated the editing of the book. Although the paper quality is not as good as many books, the editors took the time to add headlines to the various sections within a chapter. It makes it much easier for a busy parent to quickly skim to find the sections they need the most.

The advice itself is basic, but practical. There’s nothing particularly novel about the author’s suggestions, but that’s okay. Successful Christian parents understand it’s the basics that make most of the difference. Raising a child to become an active, productive Christian who bears fruit isn’t a mystery. Research is showing there are several specific concrete things those parents do that strengthens the faith foundations of their kids. This book covers quite a few of them.

If you are looking for a book to help your teen who has already made some life changing poor choices, this book may be a bit too basic to help. For average Christian parents – especially those who haven’t focused on the spiritual growth of their kids – this book will give you a lot of great suggestions for ways to “help your child honor God and live wisely.”

This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

Confident Moms, Confident Daughters

Godly self-esteem can be tricky. Trying to help your daughters develop it is even tougher if you have your own issues with self-esteem. So what is the secret to raising daughters who are confident in godly ways?

Confident Moms, Confident Daughters by Maria Furlough attempts to answer that very question. In the forward of the book, the author shares about a time she went forty days with avoiding mirrors. She did it to try and stop comparing herself to the world’s ever changing standards of beauty. She wanted instead to try and see herself as God sees her. More importantly, she wanted to give that gift to her daughters.

The thing I appreciated the most about this book is that Furlough interviewed quite a few experts in various fields about the areas that most often cause women trouble with their self-esteem. I appreciated the author’s willingness to share her platform with others instead of trying to summarize their thoughts or choose a couple of random quotes.

Not only did that give the advice additional credibility, but it removed the issue of readers being expected to take advice from an author who is still having struggles with an issue, while also presenting herself as an expert. In this book, readers can identify with her struggles and then turn with her to experts for advice.

The advice covers everything from physical health to body weight and more. The experts range from physicians to therapists to young people. The book addresses underlying issues as well as giving practice advice.

Although the book is written from a Christian perspective, I wouldn’t consider it a Bible study. Some scriptures are shared, but not a lot of them. There are questions at the end of the chapter. Some chapters have questions that are basically secular, while others dig deeper in to scripture or godly principles and other faith type topics. I would think if you wanted to use this as part of a Bible study, you would need to add some more Bible content to it.

Over all, this is a solid book on self-esteem. It’s not memorable enough to be outstanding, but will help many mothers who struggle with self-esteem. Those who want to work on this issue with their daughters will definitely find it helpful.

A copy of this book was given to me free for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

Dear Grandchild, This Is Me

One of the differences between life now and a hundred years ago is that it is less common for children to live near their grandparents. They may communicate on video calls, but often spend only a week or two together over the course of a year.

Which is unfortunate for Christian grandparents. Barna’s recent study on spiritually vibrant families found that grandparents were a major influence on the spiritual lives of many young people. If you can’t spend much time with your grandkids, how much influence can you have on their lives?

Which is why I love the new book Dear Grandchild, This Is Me by Waterbrook. Having a book for grandparents to record their memories for grandchildren is not a new concept. This book, however, has some additions which I think makes it stand out from others I have seen.

Grandparents will love that instead of being expected to write pages on one topic, each page has several shorter questions to answer. This makes it much easier to do a little bit at a time and actually complete the volume before your grandchildren are grandparents themselves.

The other thing I really appreciated is that periodically there are envelopes where grandparents can place letters they have written to their grandchild to be opened under certain circumstances. Having grandparents that passed away just in the last few years, I know how much I would treasure letters like that from them now.

The book has other fun features like a page to record your favorite things when you were younger and now (like candy and tv show). There are places for photos, recipes and even a mini-family tree. I especially like the places where it asks grandparents to give advice on various topics.

This is an attractive book that your grandkids will treasure as adults. The advice you write in its pages can still point them to God long after you are gone. Yes, you will have to make a duplicate for each grandchild, but since every child is different you would probably want to personalize it anyway. I don’t have any grandkids yet, but I’m saving this book for when God blesses us with one.

This book was given to us for free in exchange for our honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.