Friday, September 3, 2010

Nobody will read this book, but if you do, please, let's discuss.

I have just read the best non-fiction book of my life thus far.
And I want to talk with someone about it. It's a little bit lengthy and that could explain some of my summer blogging hiatus. (But it could just be the weather. I didn't really want to be inside in front of a computer,either.) But guess what I just found out? The book I read was the 2nd printing and it has been condensed! The first printing was 20,000 words longer. So go buy it from amazon, it's only 264 pages.

The info in it can be used in practically EVERY human interaction you have in life, but it's specifically about parenting. Here it is:

If you have had any personal interaction with me over the past 3 months, you most likely heard my say, "I'm reading this book right now and ......." then I went on to try to quickly, or not so quickly, articulate what I've been ruminating on.

I will do a super-bad job at trying to condense what has obviously been a lifetime of accumulated knowledge by Gordon Neufeld, but I really want to share just some of the mind-awakening principles. None of these thoughts are my own, I'm not trying to re-write anything they've written, but here goes, some of my favorite quotes by chapter. 

Chapter 1
"For many today, parenting does not feel natural."

"The secret of parenting is not in what a parent does but rather who the parent is to a child."

"All the parenting skills in the world cannot compensate for a lack of attachment relationship."

"Fitting in with the immature expectations of the peer group is not how the young grow to be independent, self-respecting adults."

(This is one of my favorites from the whole book.)
"Adults who ground their parenting in a solid relationship with the child parent intuitively. They do not have to resort to techniques or manuals but act from understanding and empathy. If we know how to be with our children and who to be for them, we need much less advice on what to do."

Chapter 2
"What children fear more than anything, including physical harm is getting lost."

"Whomever the child is most attached to will have the greatest impact on her life."

"To have our children treat us like enemies makes no sense whatsoever, for us, for them, or for our relationship."

Chapter 3
"Our children are growing up peer rich and adult poor."

"It is for economic reasons that parenting does not get the respect it should."

Are you hooked yet? Let me go on.

Chapter 4
"The power we have lost is the power to command our children's attention, to solicit their good intentions, to evoke their deference and secure their cooperation. Without these four abilities, all we have left is coercion or bribery."
Does this sound familiar to anyone?

"We cannot truly take care of a child who does not count on us to be taken care of, or who depends on us only for food, clothing, shelter, and other material concerns."

"We have put such a premium on independence that we lose sight of what childhood is about."

"We expect that the child's need to be taken care of and our willingness to parent will suffice. We are surprised and offended when children seem resistant to our parenting." 

Chapter 5
"It is immensely frustrating to manage a child who does not pay attention to us. Getting a child to look at us and to listen to us is foundational to all parenting."

"...parents who avoid giving direction on principle end up abdicating their parenting role."

"We must never intentionally make a child feel bad, guilty, or ashamed in order to get him to be good."

Y'all, I have to stop. There are 18 chapters in this book, but I could go on and on and on. It is answering so many parenting questions some of which I didn't even know I had. It's practical applications are simple and powerful. Understanding and applying them to my relationships with children, family, husband and friends is making a distinguishable difference in my life.

I give a full 2 Thumbs Up and recommend it for all parents, grandparents, teachers, principles, aunts, uncles, and neighbors of children.

If you think this is going to be a book about "God", it's not. So find another excuse because this is not a bait and switch to get you thinking like a follower of Christ if you don't really believe. However, if you're hesitant to read it because of the previous sentence, let me say there was a single paragraph, a solitary one in 264 pages, that may conflict with my personal understanding of how God created people and relationships.

If you get the book and read it let me know! I'd love to hear what you think!


Edward and Gretchen said...


I ordered my copy from Amazon on Tuesday...should have it tomorrow. Plan to read it aloud with Ed so may take me even longer than 3 months. We will definitely have some good discussions when we come in December. Can't wait to see you. Won't be long.


Amber in the City said...

Ok, I am ordering the book too. Much of what you quoted compliments my favorite parenting book Raising Godly Tomatoes. But I want to ask about this quote:
"We must never intentionally make a child feel bad, guilty, or ashamed in order to get him to be good." Can that be supported biblically? Is there more in the context to balance that out? It seems that God gave us guilt so we would know we need Him and kids need to know if they do something that harms someone else. Sometimes that knowledge will make him feel bad. Yes? Is the author just saying we shouldn't say "Bad Sally. You're a bad girl for spilling the milk" or is he saying we should try to protect them from all guilt and shame everywhere?

Kelly said...

I requested one from the library. Should get it sometime next week.Can't wait to talk about it.
TO Amber in the City - I don't know what this book says but I personally don't think that guilt and shame comes from God and therefore shouldn't come from us as parents.
I believe responsibility and repentance are very different than guilt or shame. Just my 2 cents.

The Sexton Family said...

I also requested it from the library.

Jody said...

Sorry I didn't get back sooner, but it was a fun-filled weekend around here with a canoe trip and day with friends and birthday party! Whew!

Amber, You were right in your second response. If we say things like--"You're a bad kid who does bad things. No body will love you if you stay like this. You're an embarrassment to your family."--those things don't actually help a child in anyway.

And, Ladies don't even try to read the whole book before we start discussing. I found it so helpful to chew on a chapter at a time for a few days to a week. And watch the world around me and see if what he was saying is true.

So let me know what you think in chapter by chapter play by play!

And just because I loved it, doesn't mean you have to. I'm curious to see what the 'opposing' viewpoint might be.

Ginger said...

It's not my desire to debate, but I don't understand the place a non-biblical book has for a parent whose sole goal is raising children biblically. :?
I have, however, listened to Ken Ham's "Already Gone" about children raising in Christian homes who are leaving the faith as soon as they leave the house.
Also Kyle and I just finished listening to "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" by Steve & Teri Maxwell. It was awesome! The main point was: authority only lasts so long; when our kids are older, it is our influence in their lives that will cause them to do what's right. If we don't have their heart and we tell them we aren't going to do something they want to do b/c it's best for them not to, they won't trust us and will rebel. On the other hand, if we have their hearts, they will trust our counsel even when it goes against their desires.
I got a lot out of it.

Jody said...

I'm tending not to draw lines between the secular and the sacred in my life. And I feel like one paragraph out of a book this size that perhaps doesn't gel with my personal understanding is still a really good book. I'm glad you've gotten some great parenting insight lately! I'll have to look those up!

Ginger said...

I wasn't referring to the paragraph you mentioned that you disagreed with; I meant it doesn't have a biblical basis.

shipra said...

oh thank you, I was just thinking that I needed an inspiring parenting book to read. This is going on my wish-list, priority one!

Amber in the City said...

So I didn't order the book; I got it from the library. I am a few pages in. It seems that the premise is that our culture makes the natural attachment that humans should have with their offspring difficult to impossible. This leads to children attaching to children and being mentored by them, a blind leading the blind sort of thing, that creates a Lord of the Flies environment where parents are viewed as intrusive referees. Seems like the book Voddie Baucham would have written if he were an anthropologist.