Book Review: The Christian Parenting Handbook!

29 04 2013


I’ve been privileged to get a preview of this brand new book by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, known for great parenting books based on Biblical and heart-based approaches. Their website is You can pre-order the new book anywhere, but here is a link to it at the Canadian Amazon site. Below is my review.

When Joanne and Scott say in the introduction, “You’re holding a book of ideas,” they aren’t kidding!  If you’re looking for a treasure trove of parenting ideas that goes beyond clever quips and coy research to truly heart transformational truth, you’re going to want to pick up this book. As the title says, it’s a handbook. You’ll want it close by for quick reference relevant to almost any situation or any question you’ll face as a parent.

As a parent, you’re also looking for more than a plethora of ideas, you’re also looking for an overarching way of thinking that breathes vitality into your family life. Scott and Joanne provide the Biblical foundations that are essential for looking beyond the parenting pressures of day-to-day life and into eternally valuable insights that will sustain and energize your journey.

The authors don’t sugar coat their principles or try to make parenting seem easy. They acknowledge the difficulties, but provide more than adequate inspiration to accompany many truths that will equip parents well. They often suggest things that may take a little more work on the surface, but will greatly improve the results and increase the satisfaction and sense of purpose along the way. I love their emphasis on training, which I like to call rhythm, and their solid understanding of the Bible’s use of the word “discipline.” Here’s a quote:

“The word discipline used in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word chanak. It means “to train.””

Oftentimes, we as parents feel we’re constantly in the corrective mode and trying to “get kids to behave.” This book offers a refreshing approach that focuses on building relationships, the joy of great character, building on strengths and a life of wisdom leading to success.

I feel a sigh of relief coming on and see the sun of hope rising on the horizon!

This book is super-charged with practical and easy to find advice and, more importantly, it is infused with a Christ-focused way of thinking about the parenting journey. It is a proactive versus reactive approach that will empower you to be a great parent. You’re going to want this as your go-to book in your parenting library!

Behaviour Modification or Biblical Correction?

30 07 2011

I’ve been thinking about my use of consequences as I parent and lead children. Consequences are a powerful motivator for making right choices and avoiding the wrong. So they are needed for guiding children.

However, there is a word of caution for relying solely on consequences. Relying on them is merely behaviour modification. This is actually damaging because simply changing behaviour is self-reliant and exterior. As parents who believe in and follow Jesus we know that we cannot save ourselves or grow our character apart from his redeeming and sanctifying work. We are not self-reliant, but Christ-reliant. And the way Christ works is by transforming the heart not putting a vain polish on our appearance.

We reap what we sow. If you plant a fern you will grow a fern. Likewise, if you sow anger you will reap anger. So as parents we can help children recognize the implications of their choices with appropriate consequences.

Tedd and Margy Tripp have written a book called Instructing a Child’s Heart. In it, I came across a quote that provides a solid distinction between the worldly approach to parenting called behaviour modification and the Godly approach they call biblical correction. They write,

“We do not depend on consequences to alter behavior. We want to train the heart of the child. In behavior modification, consequences are the means of shaping or manipulating behavior. In biblical correction and discipline, consequences are a means of demonstrating, in a sensory way, the importance of the spiritual consequences that are accruing in relationship to God, to others and to ourselves.”

Therefore, communication is vital for parenting. We can’t slap down consequences and expect children to turn out right. We have to do the hard work of explaining what Christ wants to accomplish in our hearts. The consequences are a way to help make that conversation happen.


What Kids Talk About and Why We Must Listen

28 03 2011

I love kid talk. Especially the talk of the littlest ones. Most of the time it doesn’t make sense. It is usually blurted from the context of their own minds. Then, we as adults have to constantly try to catch up and figure out what that context is to figure out what they really want us to know. Their talk is filled with imagination. Superheroes, unicorns, bumps, food, owwies, and on and on the conversation goes from their world of fantasy mixed with reality.

As children grow, so does their talking ability. Things become a little more complex, although not necessarily less silly. The stories they tell become more elaborate and increasingly coherent. It is truly a wonder to watch this develop in a child. Through this conversation, whether it be with others or simply self-talk, kids are shaping their view of the world. Through learning a joke, talking sports, imagining crazy scenarios, or chattering about favourite whatevers, kids are learning what life is all about. But they are not learning this on their own.

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Transformational Children’s Ministry

11 02 2011


Transformation is a powerful word to me. There is the classic Transformers cartoon where vehicles turn into powerful machines and back again. You see the wonder of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly. There’s the annual transformation of nature from cold and dead to green and vibrant. Each night and morning God dazzles us with His light shows in the sky.

Then there are personal awakenings. Those moments where life stands still, discoveries are made, ‘whoa factors’ stun us and we are jolted into forging a new path.

Life isn’t normally this way. We don’t often face these high intensity decision points. Life usually happens in those little moments. Change and development takes place slowly. For believers, the question lingers daily: “Am I being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ?”

The LEDGE (the children’s ministry of Bluewater Baptist Church) is all about leveraging those everyday moments by using high impact moments. Our programming is designed to provide a transforming experience that translates into daily change. We believe that the two go hand in hand; church and home are both necessary for this transformation to occur. What this means is that we want to inspire the children that walk through our doors to consider the magnitude of God all week long in a way that changes everything about them.

The LEDGE strives to equip kids with powerful and transformational moments so that parents will be empowered to engage in meaningful and transformational conversations about Jesus throughout the week.

(Thanks Aaron Reynolds for the ‘whoa factor’ phrase and cementing the transformational principles into our mindset. Click here for my summation of our Aaron Reynolds training event.)

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