As is often the case after I spend a week with parents I think are doing a better job than me, I have loaded up on parental encouragement in the form of books. Thank you Half Price Bookstore. I’ve come across one that I think is going to revolutionize my thinking about my job as Dad and my expectations of my children.
The book is Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip Your Kids for Life* by Walker Moore. Our job as parents is to bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Bring them up, that is, lead them to maturity and adulthood. Moore suggests our American culture has lost four essentials to help bring our children up to that maturity.
- Rite of Passage
- Significant Tasks
- Logical Consequences
- Grace Deposits
I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’ve read enough to be excited about its promise and if the book falls flat in delivering good advice the mere concept has opened my eyes to a better way to work with my kids. Sometimes I think he is over the top with his satirical humor (perhaps the result of working as a youth minister–one can tend to forget that in writing a book for parents he no longer has to shoot from the hip with excessive humor). Additionally, some of his illustrations fall flat for me because of the difference in perspective on things like prom. However, I’m getting a great deal out of this book and I look forward to telling you all about it when I’m finished.
Today, I thought I would simply throw out the concept and leave you with a passage from the book to whet your appetite.
Walton’s Mountain Revisited
While I was growing up, my parents used to make us sit through (back then, it seemed more like “suffer through”) a television show called The Waltons. Each week the show reached us throug the vision and voice of John-Boy, the eldest son of John and Olivia Walton. John-Boy worked with his dad on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains and helped him run the sawmill.
Today, this show might be considered politically incorrect. For instance, John and Olivia actually expected John-Boy to work–planting corn, feeding livestock, and chopping wood. He and his six siblings had to do their chores in order for the family to survive. You would never hear his dad say, “You know what? We ought to let our kids be kids. They’ll grow up soon enough.”
If The Waltons had been written about our modern-day family, the show would look very different. First of all, no one would expect John-Boy to help his family. While his dad tried to keep the farm going, John-Boy would sit in his room, playing video games. His sole responsibilities would consist of making his bed and taking out the trash. He could only accomplish these tasks, of course, with tremendous whining, complaining, and snorting like a bull poised for attack.
If the contemporary John and Olivia ever dared to let John-Boy go outside, he would certainly have to be covered from head to toe in protective gear. Can you see our modern-day John-Boy coming out to chop wood? He would have a helmet–not just any old helmet, but one that had passed all the government safety ratings. He would don protective eyewear, elbow pads, and safety shoes with reinforced steel toes. His parents would make sure he had a rope tying the axe handle to his wrist. That way, if he let the ax slip, it wouldn’t go very far. It would have a safety shield covering its head so John-Boy wouldn’t accidentally cut himself. Of course, it would also come with a safety DVD so he could learn which end was sharp and how he should always keep it point away from his face. Finally, the ax would come shrink-wrapped in clear plastic–the kind that even a nuclear blast can’t break free.
I’m sure you get the idea of where this is going. I can’t wait to learn more about helping my children become adults. I’ll share with you what I learn as we’re going along.
*This post does contain affiliate links. Hey, I’m trying to help you with your parenting. Why don’t you help me with mine, click the link, buy a book, help my kids. Here’s another chance.