Ian Matthews reviews the new book offering a fresh perspective on being a parent.
Love-Powered Parenting is the latest offering from the phenomenon that is Saddleback Church from California - where Tom and Chaundel Holladay are part of the staff team - home of the 30 million selling Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
There are so many parenting books available, both Christian and general titles, that my first thought was whether a new title was really needed. I have to wonder how many different approaches can there be to parenting - is there really anything new to say that hasn't been said (or written) before?
Of course, the truth is that it can often be helpful to have old truths expressed in new ways, and that is what this book offers. The authors have tried to take the oldest truths in Christianity - the words of Jesus, and especially his teachings on love - and apply them to how we raise our children.
The book is designed to be read as a couple (or with a friend if you're a single parent, an inclusive addition that was refreshing to see) over 30 days. The book is crafted around six 'parenting principles': Believe Nothing is More Important, Love with New Power, Communicate from the Heart, Show and Teach Mercy, Serve Your Children Well, Live the Golden Rule. Each section includes some helpful bible passages supporting the principles, and each day often has additional passages.
The individual daily sections each start with a section from Tom discussing and applying out the biblical principles, followed by a section from Chaundel called 'Response from the Heart of a Mom'. Some may find this demarcation a little irritating or patronising. Others will find the demarcation and different perspectives helpful. Personally I would have preferred both authors to have their views in the flow of the text, and wonder if this is done to placate a more conservative audience.
The actual content offers sound practical advice and an inspiring vision for how love can be the motivation for all we do as parents. The approach is solid, down-to-earth and is an accessible and easily digested way to work through these issues as parents.
The only other negative for me is a cultural one. In the US there tends to be a much more positive attitude, a 'can do' approach and this book is full of it. Every page promises that we CAN be better parents, that there IS hope. Although this is refreshing (and something we cynical Brits need to hear), I also longed for a bit more grittiness in the content and examples used.
However, this is a small distraction from a book that offers sound practical and spiritual advice in one of the areas in which we are most often lacking.
Love-Powered Parenting is published by Zondervan.
February 20th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Ian Matthews