One of my most favorite parenting books ever is "â€˜Parenting Is Your Highest Calling' And 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt" by Leslie Leyland Fields. If you've hung around my blog for very long, you know I'm pretty picky about my parenting books, so this is high praise. In this book, Fields gives us "a liberating look at what God most wants you to know." She acknowledges up front that the Bible doesn't offer a lot of directly specific parenting advice. Yet she gleans biblical truths about parenting from the stories of God's people, from their parenting successes and failures, from God's work in their lives. It's a true parenting Bible studyâ€”no twisting God's Word around to support strictly human ideas will be found here.
This book provides unique insights for parents of older elementary, tweens, and teensâ€”though parents of younger children can benefit from reading it too. It's non-judgmental and encouraging, combating society's beliefs about parenting that leave parents frustrated and wondering where they must be going wrong.
To summarize my favorite ideas, society tends to teach parents that if they carefully follow all the parenting rules, their kids will turn out rightâ€”just as sugar cookies turn out just so if you follow the recipe. Parents like this thought because they see in it a guarantee that their kids will grow up to be responsible Christians, contributing members of society, and problem free.
The truth is, however, there is no such guarantee. God gave each of usâ€”even our kidsâ€”the freedom to make choices. And our kids will make choices. And sometimes those choices will be wrong. This would be true even if there were such thing as the perfect parents. In fact, God is the only perfect parent, and He gave His kids free will, and every single one of them rebelled.
The good news is that God provided for that, and He provides for our kids. As parents we do the best that we can do, then we prayerfully leave the rest to Godâ€”the One Who loves our kids even more than we do. We all have a spiritual journey to take. This book helps parents understand Who Is really guiding their kids on theirs.
Have you every had a passionate belief that you couldn't put into words? You knew it had a Biblical foundation, but for the life of you, you couldn't nail it down or explain it well enough without making you sound like you were making excuses or justifying yourself? This book, Parenting is Your Hightest Calling & Eight Other Myths by Leslie Leyland Fields did that for me. It is a must read for all parents. She outlines 9 myths that many parents buy into that can cause grief and disappointment when their parenting experience doesn't the bring the results they'd expected. As a mother of 15 children, 13 of whom are special needs adopted, I saw how the blame game is easily entered into by those who have a tendency to judge others, especially Christian leaders who take credit for their own children's successes. Her basic premise is that we as parents are required by God to be faithful, to follow His basic guidelines for holy living and endeavor to teach the same precepts to our children. That's it. We are to leave the results up to Him. He is the one who will woo their hearts, call them to repentance and a life of service to Him. This book will help parents to look to God rather than themselves and quit applying pressure on themselves to satisfy those around them who expect them to take on God's role in their children's lives. This is a very encouraging book and I recommend it to every parent.
Leslie Leyland Fields answers the question every parent asks. What is the perfect formula for raising children? There isn't one. But as she answers it she provides tools and references to free us to be everything God wants us to be as parents and to recognize what our highest calling truly is. This book is well written and well paced. It is freeing and convicting all at the same time. I would strongly recommend it to any parent, particularly those just starting out. In addition this book should be part of the reference library of every pastor and marriage mentor who deals with parenting issues. If, as a parent, you read one book next year, make it this one.