After reading the book, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture - Practical Help for Shaping Your Children's Hearts, Minds, and Souls, I am encouraged and challenged in how David and I are raising our children. I am encouraged because we have lived honestly before our children and have shared openly about our faults and failures as individuals and as parents. In fact, just yesterday I had to tell my son that I haven't parented a 15 year old boy before, so perhaps he could tell me how I might do a better job. (AND I didn't say that in a sarcastic voice, it was sincere! ;-) We had a good visit, and he told me that he needs me to tell him what to do one time and set a time limit for it, and then not to bug him again. Good advice, right? So, I learned from my child, and that's one of the themes from Mary's book - children and parents must listen to one another, be honest and open-hearted with one another, and learn from one another. In other words, we need to have a CONVERSATIONAL APPROACH to life because that will serve our children best as they leave our home and venture out into a postmodern world.
I was also challenged reading this book because I was shown that I have often mistaken protection for parenting. This is such an easy thing to do, and I (and Dave) have done this with the best of intentions. Like many parents, we want our children to know the truth of Jesus, but we haven't allowed them in many situations where they've had to rely on that Truth. I want my children to absolutely love the Lord Jesus with their whole hearts, and to know their need of Him, but I've unwittingly put up barriers to that by my protection of them that was mostly motivated by fear. I don't think I'm alone in not fully trusting God with my children. We say that we've given our children back to the Lord, but we try to control so much of their lives that we are showing them (and the world) that we don't trust Him with our children.
Another thought: the term "postmodern" is thrown around a lot these days, and Mary does a good job of defining what that means. I appreciated her definitions and examples of modernity and postmodernity. She accurately points out that because our culture is shifting (not our need for Jesus or the absolute truth of His word) "and most of postmodern thought is a reaction against modernity, we're (parents) are better off if we simply try to follow Jesus in the midst of the change as we love our children." (page 26) Isn't that how we all desire to live? We want to "engage as a family in people's lives in such a way that beckons them to Jesus Christ without sacrificing our family to the world system." (page 28) Mary tells us how we can better do that.
I thought today I'd share from the back cover of the book. It says:
Tired of trite answers about family life? So are your kids.
Your children are growing up in a world that's different from the one you knew as a child. In this postmodern culture,people are discovering and living out truth in radically new ways. Mary DeMuth highlights the pitfalls of this new worldview and demonstrates how you can use its strengths to enhance your relationships with your children and prepare them to genuinely live out and effectively communicate the good news of Jesus Christ.
With her own imperfect family life as an example, Mary reveals the helpfulness of...
-engaging your kids in conversations instead of issuing ultimatums
-seeing your children's behaviors as windows into your own spiritual life
-coaching your children instead of lecturing them
-modeling the transparent, authentic lifestyle you want for your kids
-demonstrating a life of thankfulness, creativity, and service
Find out how you can use this new way of thinking to cooperate with God's work in your family and in the world.
Gena here again: Tomorrow I'll post an interview with Mary that I think you'll enjoy. Remember, we're all on this journey together, and we need to learn and grow together. I cannot be all that God designed me to be without you, and neither can my family be all that God designed us to be without your family. I am honored to be a part of God's family along with you.
Blessings to you all!