Remember when you and your spouse started dating? If you were like us, you spent hours talking about everything under the sun. You learned about each other’s families, shared hopes and dreams and eventually decided to share your lives permanently.
Fast forward a few years and now you have a child. Or children. Perhaps lots of children! Each child seems to come with his or her own set of needs and dreams, which often keeps us in constant motion. Some days, you are lucky to give your spouse a quick kiss before collapsing in exhaustion. An actual meaningful conversation seems an impossible dream.
Our marriages aren’t necessarily bad, but over time couples with children can slowly start drifting apart and may even divorce. Yet study after study teaches us children fair better in homes with healthy marriages. I would imagine the stronger the marriage, the better the possibility for positive results.
We know the health of our marriage is important, but that requires work we don’t think we have the time to do right now. All of those meaningful conversations during dating have long sense dissolved into discussions of who will take whom where and what needs to be fixed around the house. You are not even sure you have time to know yourself anymore and your spouse is slowly becoming an acquaintance.
Walk into almost any church and you will find boys with names like Caleb, Noah, Daniel and John. I would assume many parents chose those names in hopes their sons would grow up to become strong in the Lord, just like the men for whom they were named.
Unfortunately, giving a child a name of a godly person does not guarantee your child will be faithful. If it were, every child in most churches would have a biblical name! Parents have to do something more to set their sons on the paths to becoming heroes of faith. But what?
Raising Boys by Design by Gregory Jantz and Michael Gurian gives parents a blueprint for helping develop the character traits your sons will need to become the men God designed them to be. The authors use a combination of recent brain research, counseling experience and their own personal journeys to explain what most boys need and very few are receiving to help them grow to be godly men.
Conversations between grandparents and grandchildren are often hysterically funny. The older generation still tells stories featuring typewriters and record albums, while the younger ones are texting and discussing the pros and cons of the latest gadgets. Sometimes there are more puzzled looks and “huh’s?” than actual communication. It’s almost as if they are from different countries.
Although aimed primarily at problems generational differences cause in the workplace, there is a lot for the parent and teen child to glean as well. Shaw defines the types of problems in our homes and workplaces that are actually caused because of generational differences. He spends a lot of time attempting to help readers understand why the other generations think and act the way they do.
Part of being an effective parent is knowing how to be an effective leader. We normally don’t think of parenting that way, but when you analyze it, you are attempting to lead these little ones to follow God. As a result I am drawn as much or more to books on leadership than I am to books on parenting.
I ended up loving this book. Personally I believe it is a must read for everyone. Whether you are a leader, a parent, attempting to raise a child with strong leadership skills or “just” a follower of leaders, this book has information you need to know and thoroughly digest.
One of the parenting mistakes I see the most is parents not taking the time to really listen to what their children have to say. For Christian parents, getting to know your child through listening, is especially crucial. What they tell you and share with you will give you glimpses into their hearts. As Christian parents, it is really the heart we are trying to mold towards God. It is almost impossible to mold what we don’t know.
One of the reasons parents don’t really listen to their children is that they don’t know how. Many current parents were not heard by their own parents. In fact, there are still many people alive today who believe “children should be seen and not heard”. If your parents never really listened to you or you were raised in a dysfunctional or abusive environment, how do you learn what to do differently?
Milan and Kay Merkovich may just have the help you need in their book, How We Love Our Kids. (You can read the first chapter here for free.) They have analyzed parents and have discovered five main types of parenting styles. Each of the styles has its own ways of not giving children the attention and real listening they need. Sadly, the children are often blamed for the resulting conflicts when it is the parenting style that is causing many of the issues.