This book came across my Google Reader, and I immediately passed it along to my boss, one of my profs I work for, and a youth pastor. This was right up their alley. I was asked to order 10 copies within the week.
I finally was able to sit down and finish this book. An easy read, not too hard, not too long (225). Though not stated, this book, I would have to say, is written to men. If you keep that in mind, this book will pose little problem to you. If you are a woman (mother, wife) you may feel a little slighted. Farley does a great job addressing the need for Fathers to step up and be fathers – but sometimes at the neglect or dismissal of the mothers. (That is just how I felt reading some of his words, others may not feel that way at all).
Anyway, again, since I’m not a parent, I won’t make much comment, but hopefully you can learn and maybe even pick this book up to read yourselves, or give to parents you know.
“We are absolutely dependent on God’s Spirit to complete the parenting process.” (19)
“We (parents) are responsible to reach our children for Christ.” (21) This as opposed to what many parents would say: the school or the church is responsible.
“Either we can focus on preparing our children to enter the world and conquer it, or we can concentrate on protecting our children from the world.” (23)
“Most Christian parents assume that church attendance or youth group involvement equates to new birth.” (28)
“Effective Christian parents aim at their children’s hearts rather than their behavior.” (43)
“We parent out of our theology. Everyone, Christian and non-Christian, has a theology – an idea of who God is and who we are by contrast. Some are accurate. Some are not.” (71). This can go for everything – its called a worldview.
“Marriage-centered, not child-centered moms, usually exert the greatest influence on their children for Christ and his kingdom.” (113)
“Those who meditate on the message of the cross strive for holiness. Their efforts only make them more aware of their failings. This causes them to run to the cross for forgiveness more frequently. It causes them to need the cross more desparately. All of this happens because they feel the weight of their sins more biblically. It culminates in the peace of biblical humility.” (121)
“We should encourage women to promote biblical masculinity.” (135)
“A woman can also encourage masculinity by respecting her husband, especially in front of her children.” (140). I see this often on facebook. Now, true, most children are not on fb because of the age limitations, but what is said on fb is often said in person or on the phone talking to a girlfriend, etc. Wives will cut down, or belittle their husbands, or speak of his incompetence, etc. Children pick up on this. This causes them to lose respect for one or both of the parents. It is difficult to regain.
“The gospel should be at the heart of all attempts to discipline children. It motivates our discipline and it becomes the end of effective Christian discipline.” (147) – Probably my favorite quote of the book.
“We have not learned to be thankful for our children, despite their problems. We think we deserve better. We are ungrateful. A lack of gratitude always points to pride. We deserve crucifixion. We don’t deserve obedient, easy children.” (213) – Second favorite quote of the book.
“What wonderful news! God uses the imperfect efforts of gospel-centered parents to do his deep and abiding work in our children. In the meantime, the gospel frees us from the burden of perfection.” (219). Ends it with the gospel – which is where he stays most of the time.
Now – how to teach this, promote this, equip parents in this, live this out – without being a parent. That is the task.