A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids And Grandkids To God And Family, by Glen and Ellen Schuknecht
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I have read a great deal of volumes about the struggle to connect parents and children together, and they have a wide variety of approaches . This particular book strongly advocates a gracious approach of dealing with children, avoiding micromanaging as well as overly harsh approaches to parenting that provoke children to wrath. Coming from a family where childrearing was done with a pretty harsh approach, this book seems more than a little bit weak. The authors quote the Ragamuffin Gospel approvingly, and that is always a negative red flag as a reader given how terrible that book was. If you want to read a parenting approach that models the same sort of cheap grace that is common in many contemporary Protestant churches, this is the book for you. Even so, the approach of the book does have much to commend itself, especially where it connects to relationships and communication and the way that many children and young adults are simply ill-equipped to handle boundary issues in a successful way.
This short book of less than 200 pages is divided into three parts and fourteen chapters. After an introduction that talks about cinnamon rolls and Oma’s (grandma’s) place, the first part of the book looks at how people create an atmosphere for spiritual heritage for their offspring by connecting with the younger generation, balancing justice and grace, using the RITE approach (relate, inspire, teach, and equip), inform the minds of young people, and cooperatively set boundaries that connect us to our children. The second part of the book looks at how people choose and implement desired heritage characteristics through courage, responsibility, peacemaking, prayer, and faith. The four chapters of the last part of the book give the reader extra tools to put into practice in helping to guide young people, by looking at the purpose in each child’s uniqueness, the often hidden motives behind the madness of their behaviors, the use of story in helping to make points and teach lessons, and an example of the longsuffering love of God. The book then ends with another story about cinnamon rolls as well as a recipe for those rolls.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, this book is clearly written by grandparents and not parents, insofar as the book has the sort of spoiling rather than disciplining that most grandparents are known for. This is clearly a book written by someone who is more than a bit mellow and inclined to be gracious and even forgive for the appearance of wrong in order to preserve a relationship. This book really strikes me as more than a little bit weak in terms of its approach to justice, erring far too greatly on the side of mercy. Would I prefer to be treated graciously than harshly? Absolutely, but there are definitely times where discipline is merited. One thing this book excels at is in looking at why people do the things they do, reframing the problems and difficulties and issues of young people by looking at what they are (and are not) equipped to do, and how to have a more collaborative and individualized approach to parenting that is less rigid than previous generations were known for. Even though I found much in this book that I thought to be far too wishy-washy, there was still much to apply here, and sensitive and thoughtful readers, even those who are not fully on board with the authors’ appraoch, will find a great deal to apply in their own parenting and grandparenting.
 See, for example: