Back To Detail Page Parenting books may be the most crowded category in bookstores; why another one?

First, this is a renewing market. Thousands of couples have their first child every day which sends friends and family to bookstores to find just the right gift. Secondly, although there are many wonderful titles in this category, we believed that there was room for a book that focused on the desired results of a Christian home—what one really looks like. For Christians, isn’t their church the most important place on earth?

No. Ask any youth pastor in America and he’ll tell you that, without a solid Chris-tian home base, his job is nearly impossible. In the second chapter you talk about a house that smells like God; what does that mean?

In high school biology class, we learned that the olfactory sense—the smell sense—has the best memory. In this chapter we talk about things that you can do in your Christian home like regular church attendance, speaking of God in normal conversation, having a Bible for everyone in the family (no matter how young), and prayer. These things create an unmistakable ambiance that even first-time visitors will detect. You compare a Christian home to a retail store and Christian parents to your dog! What is this about?

When you walk through the front door of a retail store, a little electronic beep signals your arrival. At that moment, you’re the most important person in the world to the store clerk (at least you should be). When I walk through the door of my home—whether I’ve been gone for 4 days or 45 seconds—my dog welcomes me by dancing on her hind legs and smiling. When anyone walks through the door of a Christian home, the reception should be all of this . . . and more. What does grace look like within the four walls of a Christian home?

First, Christian parents need to understand and embrace God’s grace in their lives. We are sinners and it’s only by His mercy that we have a chance. Having acknowledged this to ourselves and our children, we are in a position to issue the same grace on them in our homes. Lived out, this looks like repentance, forgive-ness, gratitude, tenderness, and generosity. You compare words to bullets; what do you mean?

No less powerful—deadly—than a loaded gun is a person’s tongue. In a Christian home, words must be truthful and carefully spoken. Why is laughter so important?

Because life is plenty serious all by itself. Laughter must be a part of a Christian family’s routine. And in case dads and moms need help in creating fun, this chapter gives them some good ideas. You say that discipline is a verb and a noun; how can parents understand this?

The goal of Christian parents is to raise children who have discipline. That’s ‘discipline’ the noun . . . and the way they get there is by issuing ‘discipline’ the verb. Doing discipline creates having discipline. Why is “safe at home” such an important concept?

Because every member of a family lives in a competitive—and sometimes hostile—world. A Christian home ought to be like home base in hide and seek. Children and parents are loved unconditionally, affection is spontaneous and genuine. The last chapter of the book talks about parents becoming priests; what does this means?

Way back in the Old Testament, before there were churches or synagogues, there were homes . . . house-churches. Presiding over these homes were parents, taking the responsibility of spiritual leadership . . . priests. Taking this kind of leadership in a Christian home is a parent’s great joy and privilege. You talk a lot about your wife Bobbie; how can parents stay on the same team in teaching their children?

We did our best to avoid talking strategy in front of the children. We did our best to do this alone first, not giving our kids a chance to “play us against each other.” We also did not severely criticize each other in front of the children and they regularly heard words of endorsement coming from one to the other . . . “Your mom is one fantastic person! Do you know how lucky you are to have a mom like her?” What is the most important thing that parents can do for their children and their home?

Get involved—engaged—in their roles at home. Do not delegate any of the good stuff to anyone else. Verbalize their love for their kids regularly and underscore it with physical affection. Most of all, parents create security in their children by loving God first, each other second, then the kids third.

Interviewer: Bonnie Benner, Internet Product Editor
Interview Date: October 26, 2004