4 Stars Out Of 5
You will be encouraged by reading this book!
September 17, 2012
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.