Continuing with my reviews of books I read in 2011… one of the last books I read was Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna.
I bought this book in July but wasn’t able to read much of it until the fall. I read most of this book during the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy. It was my attempt to keep my mind off of waiting for my son to arrive. It didn’t work.
Nevertheless, I finished the book. I’ll start my review by sharing a few sentences from the back of the book’s cover:
“Determined to learn the secrets of those who’ve raised spiritual champions, world-renowned researcher George Barna conducted a series of surveys and thousands of personal interviews with both young adults and parents.
In the process, he was able to uncover a number of common denominators to parenting success. Some of his findings will encourage you; others will surprise you.”
That is a very true summary of the book. If you read this book expecting Barna to tell you how to raise your kids, you’ll be disappointed. Barna doesn’t give a lot of personal reaction throughout the book (although he does reflect on the results of his findings in the last chapter, “How Studying Revolutionary Parenting Changed Me”) and neither does he offer much practical advice. He simply takes the results of his surveys and interviews and shares them. To give you an idea of the book’s contents, some of the chapter titles are:
- Conditions for Revolutionary Success
- Revolutionary Planning for Spiritual Champions
- The Rules of Revolutionary Engagement
- How Revolutionary Parents Behave
One basic question you may be asking yourself is this: What does Barna mean by the phrase “spiritual champion?” He explains in the introduction:
“I mean individuals who have embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord; accept the Bible as truth and as the guide for life; and seek to live in obedience to its principles and in search of ways to continually deepen their relationship with God. Spiritual champions live in ways that are noticeably different from the norm – even when compared to the average churchgoer.”
Given this explanation in the introduction, I was surprised to read this sentence in chapter 7 (A Revolutionary Faith): “Not all of the Revolutionary Parents we spoke to possessed a biblical worldview.”
I would not recommend this book to someone looking for a lot of practical advice such as how to respond when your child does this, says this, etc. But if you are wanting to get a better handle on your parenting philosophy, you might be interested in reading it. Personally, I approached Revolutionary Parenting expecting a lot of practical tips, so I was somewhat disappointed when I found the material to be more philosophy-oriented.
However, I did learn a lot through reading this book. Below are some of my favorite quotations:
- “We are measuring [our children’s] well-being based upon the wrong standards. Without realizing it, we have made ourselves the judge of what is right and wrong, good and bad, useful and useless in relation to our children’s lives.” (pg. 5)
- “As much as you love your children, God loves them more. As deeply as you desire to do what is best for your children, God wants it even more urgently. As we rely upon Him rather than our own ideas and wisdom, we can be assured that our young ones will experience the best that God has to offer, through us and others.” (pg. 16)
- “You build such trust by showing them unconditional love, complete integrity, and total commitment to the ways of God and their best interests. This implies devoting substantial amounts of time to building your relationship with each child.” (pg. 19; emphasis added)
- “Great parenting is the art of providing sufficient education and experience so that children are willing and capable of making appropriate choices without having to go toe-to-toe with their parents on every issue, under all circumstances.” (pg. 63)
- “Revolutionary Parents believe they are in charge from day one, behave like people who are in charge, and never allow doubts to linger as to who is in charge.” (pg. 83)
- “Children need to know that their parents will do whatever it takes to accept, nurture, and protect them.” (pg. 94)
- “Truly the only way we can justify not giving up in some circumstances is to recognize the presence of God and His desire to be our partner in the parenting adventure.” (pg. 133)
Did you catch that last quotation? “Recognize the presence of God and His desire to be our partner in the parenting adventure.”
The only way we can view parenting as an adventure is if we have the strength and power of God on our side. Otherwise, it looks more like a hopeless case. But truly, God has promised His help and presence for us as parents.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So let’s embrace the adventure – rather, let us embrace and hold on to God through the adventure – and find that He is ever sufficient for all our parenting needs.