Unlike many parenting books I've read over the years, Kate Battistelli offers views and a vision of a much bigger picture. Dealing with issues such as integrity, honesty, character and calling, this is no "how to" book. The reader is often reminded that Kate is not offering a panacea or quick fix to any problems you might be experiencing with your child. In fact, the questions that follow each chapter will quickly move your eyes from your child to yourself. Not, however, with a critical or blaming lens, but by providing thoughtful and gentle probes that will encourage you (the parent) to enlarge the vision you may already have and play an active part in developing that vision. Really good stuff_
I loved getting the chance to review Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli - mom to Dove Award-winning recording artist Francesca Battistelli.
I really wish I had this book when I was raising my kids -what a life changer it would have been for me as a mom trying to do a good job raising my kids. I put so much pressure on myself to do it right, this book would have allowed me to release that burden to God. I was inspired by how much Kate showed she relied on God to help her in her role of mom.
The focus on praying really stood out to me in a HUGE way. That is something that I will do more of now.
Kate talks about being an example for your children and I completely agree. I have seen in many families, mine included, that the examples parents display - good or bad - play a very important role for children later in life.
We all know kids don't grow up to be successful overnight and on their own. There is so much pressure and bad influence that our kids have to face today, more than any other generation. This book helps parents and/or grandparents to guide their children to becoming the person God created them to be.
The strategies Kate highlights are realistic, doable and will allow you to strengthen your own faith walk while raising your own great kid.
So many books written for and to parents today seem to leave the reader feeling desperate to catch up to all the things shown to them that they seem to have missed. We are left feeling less-than, overwhelmed and desperate. We either give up before we begin, or we try to implement everything we just read in one week. Can you say crazy!?
Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli is definitely not that book. With endless grace and optimism in the power and goodness of God, Kate takes you through the journey she and her husband have lived with their daughter, Dove award-winning singer Francesca Battistelli. Time and time again Kate's faith in God shines through as she shares how He worked His good through Francesca's life, and through Kate as she walked in faith and trust with Him.
While each chapter focuses on a central independent topic there is, from my perspective, two over-arching themes that play themselves out again and again as you turn the page.
The first theme is consistent, intentional parenting. At every point Kate shares how they supported their daughter, led her, guided her, and when needed, nudged her. As you read you will see how Kate and her husband Mike put careful thought, prayer and intention into parenting. They looked for the long-term effects, they prayed, they stayed involved. We hear so often today that as Christian parents we need to help guard our children, to raise them up in a godly way in an ungodly world. But if you are like me, often you are left with good intentions, great desire and the big question, "HOW?" Kate answers that how by sharing glimpses into her own parenting journey. More often than not, it was more Kate remembering that Francesca was God's first, and that her role was to do all she could to raise her and point her to God. By honoring God in that way, good decisions and right choices became more apparent.
The second theme that seems very apparent to me was that she never stopped casting a vision for her daughter's life. From the time Francesca was little until today, Kate never stops seeking God's best for her. She is very clear through the pages of this book that the words, attitudes and actions of the parent have so much impact on how your child will grow up. By never limiting Francesca's view of what God could do in and through her life, Kate and her husband raised their daughter up believing that God would always have her best and that she could trust Him in all things. I think as parents, if we can raise our children to also believe that, than we have done what God calls each of us to do. Growing, succeeding, worldly success, monetary comfort, those things are all a very distant second to having an intimate and authentic relationship with the Lord. All those other things will come if that is what God has planned and in this book, Kate shows how to plant and nurture those seeds of faith. Not only in our children but in ourselves as parents as well.
At the end of each chapter are some very simple questions that you won't find so simple to answer. Several times I had to stop to really consider my answer and to question if that answer needed changing based on what I had just read.
With the insights of this book fresh in my mind, I heard one of Francesca's songs on the radio yesterday. I was reminded of something I had read in the book. In chapter 11 she writes:
"As parents we want our children to make bold choices, to take a fearless stand for faith, and to press in and hear God for themselves. At least we say we do. When they actually step out in bold faith, let me tell you, it can be the scariest thing in the world_"
As the parent of a teenage son and a preschool daughter, every day I talk to God about calling my children to Himself, that they would stand up for what we believe, that our children will grow up to believe the same thing, and that God would be glorified by the lives they live. This book was a breath of fresh wind in those hopes and dreams. It reminded me that I need to believe God now, even when I can't see him working in their lives, because He has them. He really does.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and see the many ways you will be able to apply Kate's journey to your own_ no matter how far along the road of parenting you have traveled.
"Successful adults don't happen by accident." writes author Kate Battistelli in the introduction to Growing Great Kids. That statement is the the theme of the books and should be in the back of the mind of every parent. Kate has a written a great "How to" on finding your child's gifts in order to guide them on a path to successful adulthood and strong faith without imposing your own ambitions or being an unintentional hinderance to their dreams. Her parenting story is interwoven with scripture, the power of prayer and her strong faith.
Aren't we all looking for a parenting manual as soon as we get our little miracles home from the hospital?I love how Kate mentions that the Bible IS the parenting manual that we should look to for answers.
Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions to ask yourself and a prayer relating to the chapter's overall theme.
Gifts and Callings
The Power of a Parent's Words
Seeing the Oak Tree in the Acorn
Pursuing Purity in Heart and Mind
Tools of the Trade
Destiny of the Diligent
Encouraging Their Walk With God
When Your Ceiling Becomes Their Floor
Prayer, the Essential Ingredient
Timing is Everything
Don't Be a Hinderance to the Dream
Common Parenting Traps
A few of my favorite parts of the book:
Francesca's decision about surgery and Kate's struggle with deciding to support her or not
The story of gifting Francesca's purity ring and the conversation about the importance
Francesca's beautiful way she presented her purity ring to her husband
As I read this book, I found myself realizing some things I need to change in my parenting style as well as reaffirming some things I have always done. I, like Kate, was raised in a very critical home and was not pushed or encourage to seek out or develop my interests. I was very unprepared for adulthood and lacked a purpose, plan or goal. As Kate described, I was an adultolescent ( a person who has physically matured to adulthood yet still behaves like an adolescent with no clear direction.) Learning from my own childhood, a lot of my goals as a parent are similar to Kate's. Children need not only love but nurturing and firm direction.
I am grateful that shared her childhood story and how she became a successful adult. It is also refreshing that she shared her parenting fails in addition to her many, many successes with her daughter. Her daughter writes a very heartwarming and loving introduction to the book which makes you realize Kate knows her parenting stuff!
Her sections on the power of words, purity, seasons of life, household standards and integrity were powerful eye openers. Her personal stories and memories of how she handled big topics and situations with her daughter were welcome guides to how to parent firmly, faithfully and lovingly.
One thing I didn't like was the feeling I constantly had of being an underachieving mom. I think if we all had only one child and were financially secure then our children would have the chance for classes, lessons, camps, etc. to feed their gifts and talents. However, we are all not in that position. Hopefullly, parents like me can find our own ways to nurture and lead our children on the path God has in store for them. The prayers in the book and the questions to ask were a great start to accomplishing that hope.
I would recommend this book to any mom whose parenting philosophy includes strong Christian values and a very strong emphasis on prayer.
If you know a mom, this book would be a perfect birthday, holiday or mother's day present! You will thank me later.
Disclaimer:I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review.Â I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part ofÂ The CWA Review Crew.
Kate Battistelli offers wonderful insight, humor, and inspiration to dream big dreams for each one of the children God has gifted us with. She explains, "Successful adults don't happen by accident. It takes wisdom to raise your children with a strong sense of their destiny in God and a deep knowledge of their gifts and callings".
I really enjoyed how Kate wove stories of raising her daughter Francesca to become the amazing Christian singer she is today to share her points in growing great kids. She even shares some of the stories behind her daughter's songs that came from real life incidents where Francesca learned some life lessons. "Got a couple dents in my fender..." I was impressed how much Kate would press in and pray for specific things for her daughter, including for her daughter to win a Dove award and Grammy nominations. She covered her daughter in prayer! When Kate needs more support for her advice she relies heavily on quotes from friends who parented more than one child. This makes for a wonderful read as she reveals her own shortcomings and failures and becomes very vulnerable with the reader even as she encourages us to dig in deeper and do the hard task of raising up kids for God's kingdom. She quotes many scripture verses, but I loved this particularly, 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]."
My favorite chapters were "Gifts and Callings", "The Power of a Parent's Words", "Prayer, the Essential Ingredient", and "Common Parenting Traps". If you are looking for a wonderful parenting book to inspire you to be a better parent in order to grow great kids you need to own this book! Kate has written prayers at the end of each chapter to pray for our kids. They are, in my opinion, worth every penny of this book. She has inspired me to get a notebook and to begin praying BIG dreams for my own children, to be diligent in prayer, purposeful, specific, relentless, ever pursuing God's calling, seeking after God with all my heart for my kids!
I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.