Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Revolutionary Parenting Part 1

 Did you know that there are currently more than 75,000 books on parenting available on the market?  That would be 10 new books per day for the last 21 years on the topic.

I am assured that I have read my few hundred of those in the last decade. 

Well, as always, I am staying busy about my homework as a youth director this summer. One of the assignments I have challenged myself to do is to read and blog weekly about George Barna’s “Revolutionary Parenting.” I am doing this in order to better assist parents, but I am also doing this to better equip myself as a parent.  

But yet, here is another book on parenting as I mentioned in my intro.  Another book on parenting?  Why should I bother?  Is this going to be another book about the kind of personal attributes one needs to be a good parent? Or is this going to be another 320 pages of the nifty, new agey, earthy-crunchy parental practice that I need to start employing or my kids will be lost forever, or perhaps even worse, uncool?  Is this going to be another book of parenting assumptions, parenting systems and parenting-oh-that-is-how-its done stuff but re-packaged?

Barna begins with the point of view that most of the parenting books on the market are based on observation and assumptions and “very little of the content is based on objective, projectable research.” (Barna, 2007, xii)  He writes, “Most of these guides promote a particular point of view or parenting strategy, even though [the] approach has not been empirically tested or validated through some type of scientific process.” (Barna, 2007, xiii)  He writes that many of the books are in actuality the isolated leading the desperate. 

Why does that ring so true?  I know that I have heard and read some seemingly innovative sounding strategies in the last few years but I will agree that the material itself was mostly disconnected from real evidence and too often disconnected from God’s design for children and parenting as well.  Furthermore, I have certainly watched parents overjoyed with a book’s new method, telling everyone about it, but then later on admitting that it was out of touch with real world results in the home.

Do we talk a better parenting game over the savvy parenting books we read than we actually play?  I definitely think so. After just a decade of youth ministry and nearly decade of personal parenting, I know so. 

Okay, George, what have you got for us? What is this book all about?

George Barna, world-renowned researcher, set out to learn the secrets of those who've raised spiritual champions.  He conducted a series of surveys and thousands of personal interviews with both young adults and their parents.  In the process, he was able to uncover a number of common denominators to parenting success.  Revolutionary Parenting is the result. 

He writes:

“In this parenting model, God’s Word provides the perspective and the marching orders on how to raise a young person.  The goal of such child rearing is to raise children who make their faith in God and relationship with Him, their highest priority in life, and proceed to live as intentional and devoted servants of God.  The role of parents is to guide the child to understand the principles and outcomes that honor God and advance His purposes. Success in this venture is measured by transformed lives.” (Barna, 2007, xv)

If you get the chance, check it out.  Here is the contents:

Table of Contents from the book:
part one: Reasons
A Crisis in American Parenting
part two: Research
Conditions for Revolutionary Success
Revolutionary Parents Put First Things First
Revolutionary Planning for Spiritual Champions
The Rules of Revolutionary Engagement
How Revolutionary Parents Behave
A Revolutionary Faith
Training Up Spiritual Champions
part three: Relevance
The Bible's Revolutionary Parenting Rules
How Studying Revolutionary Parenting Changed Me

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