Everyday Talk: Talking Freely And Naturally About God with Your Children, by John A. Younts
As someone without children myself, I find it somewhat inappropriate to give too warm a recommendation of books which seek to provide parenting advice , especially when the book is particularly critical about the lack of parenting skills of many contemporary Christian parents. Although the discussions in this book are somewhat disparate, they are based with an essential goal of parenting in mind and a characteristic approach: parents are responsible under God to raise their children to become successful and independent adults who leave the home and start families of their own for the glory of God. Parents therefore have, in the author’s eyes, a responsibility not only to teach God in lectures and more moral discussions, but to model God’s love and patience, and also his justice, in their ordinary dealings with children, despite the fact that those children are born rebellious against authority and have hearts that are bent at least somewhat consistently on mischief and evil. Let it not be said that the author has an ungodly humanistic view of the native goodness of children–his beliefs are squarely within the Calvinist tradition of total depravity., and he makes no apologies for it.
In terms of the contents of the book itself, the author uses a great deal of statistical reasoning to back up his assertion that most parents spend little ordinary time with children and instead allow passive entertainment to take up most of a child’s time, and when there is interaction parents are tired from work and unprepared to actively listen to the concerns of their children, leading to generational divides when parents view children, especially as they approach their teenage years, as sullen while those same children view their parents as out of touch. The chapters of the book, with titles like: Stupid rain, your children and the gospel, letter to your children, holy directions, don’t be ordinary, big sins, little sins, thirteen comes before twenty-one, your home is God’s greenhouse, the world: the grand deception, every day talk about sex, every day talk about music, you are on display, and for everything there is a season, is full of pointed Bible quotations and commentary. Few parents will find their discipline habits or efforts at delegating chore tasks to their children to avoid stark criticism here, and the way that many parents talk badly about their spouse or God also comes up for consistent criticism.
There are likely two ways that this book will be viewed by readers. The author’s demanding standards for parents being gracious and upholding the holiness of God in the face of rebellion and whining will likely come off as being challenging and harsh to some. On the other hand, the author’s purpose to align parents as being fitting examples of the nature and character of God, although demanding, is nothing less than that which is called for by the Bible itself. It needs little explaining, although the author gives plenty, that the failure of parents to behave in a godly fashion as parents leads to a great deal of generational damage for children, and that the bad patterns of parental behavior are easily copied by future generations and that children may grow up with difficulty in understanding the nature of God because the nature of their own fathers (and mothers) get in the way. The seriousness of this problem needs no exaggeration, and it is to be hoped that the book’s challenging tone does not interfere with the book’s laudable aims at bringing parental behavior more in line with the biblical standard, so that more children may be raised in a godly fashion, able to, with the help of God, overcome their native rebelliousness.
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