by the attic library

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

The book “Empowered Parenting” covers stages of a successful marriage offers advice on parenting, as well as provides insights on single parents. The part on single parenting gave me a lasting impression on how the church can offer solutions to struggling single parents and how single parents can draw strength from the church.

The struggles of single parents are many, and here are a few instances:

  • Finding adequate role models for their children
  • Financial difficulty
  • Inadequate time
  • Struggle with loneliness
  • Inferior perception thinking that the rest of the world view them as second-class parents
  • Lack of available childcare
  • Sense of competition with a child’s father or mother

What can a single parent do? The single parent must recognize that however small a family unit, they are still a family. But don’t expect your children to provide for your emotional needs as your spouse would have. Single parents must take time for themselves every day. They can’t take good care of the kids without first taking good care of themselves. Single parents need to walk close with God. Single parents must not be shy to lean on their extended family, friends, and church support group. Large endeavors can be undertaken together with other Christians.

In the book, Robert J Morgan suggests that the church need to have programs for single parents. Sunday School classes (i.e. our SUN JAM), weeknight socials, weekly support groups, divorce recovery groups, weekend getaways and retreats, exercises classes, all with childcare provided — these are examples which strong growing churches can reach single parents who face difficulty attending church activities due to lack of childcare.

Children from single parent homes are very affectionate. A word, a hug, a trip to the ice-cream, a little attention — those things pay higher than average dividends.

The book “Empowered Parenting” offers practical advice not only for single parents, but also for married couples, and every stage of parenting. It is a book worth reading.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

How could families better cope with change? How could we better recognize family fault lines? What critical roles do grandparents play? How could family cope with divorce? How could family cope with grief and loss?

These and many other issues are addressed by Gary R. Collins in his book “Family Shock”.

Many people fear these changes, sensing that they will tear apart our nation and our homes. Change, however, is a part of life, and we cannot cope by resisting its impact, denying its reality, or withdrawing into what have been called “armored cocoons”. When we understand the changes that are shaking families, we can take steps to deal with the change and undergird our homes so they can stand firm.

The church must become a stabilizing influence that gives direction, healing, hope, and security to marriages and families that are battered by the shock waves of change.

From the beginning of recorded time, God has placed people in families. The scriptural family involved a man and woman who were married to each other, committed to each other, and sexually faithful. Sometimes the couple was childless, but most often the husband and wife had young or grown children. Siblings and extended family members were assumed to be part of the larger family (Gen 46:27; Acts 7:14). It was this idea that couples would marry, that we would all be born into families, and that we would all have family ties. The God who initiated the family surely is still interested in families, including yours and mine.

To gain valuable information on how you could strengthen your family ties, read “Family Shock”.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

In guiding your daughters in their growing-up years, Dannah Gresh has suggested the following ways:

Way 1. Give her the right dolls to play with. When our daughters play with cute, non-sexual dolls, they tend to let imagination run loose. They role-play and create, giving muscle to their executive function. But when our daughters play with dolls that have a more seductive or beauty-based nature, they tend to be more confined in their imaginative play. Their play generally leans towards the notion “to seduce the boy.” Dr. Dianne Levin says “the more time a girl plays this way, the more she’ll focus on looks and coquettish behavior, and the less time she‘ll spend doing the open ended activities kids need. It puts her on a conveyor belt to early sexualization”. Healthy role playing with age appropriate dolls opens the door to pursue the imitation of the good.

Way 2. Celebrate her body by sharing about puberty. Parents should prepare the conversation years in advance on puberty. Tell her about her period between her eighth and tenth birthdays.

Way 3. Unplug her from a plugged-in world. Research proves that the smart mom says “no” to kids doing homework while simultaneously watching TV or listening to music. The brain prioritizes functions when asked to do two things at once. Since a song would be over in 3 minutes, the brain prioritizes it based on urgency, therefore math gets less brainpower.

Way 4. Unbrand her when the world tries to buy and sell her. Moms should practice modesty and humility in front of their daughters every day.

Way 5. Become a carpool queen and sleepover diva. This is a healthy way to get to know her friends and to shape their conversations.

Way 6. Dream with her about her prince. Keep her off the boys-crazy train while at the very same time developing within her a love for marriage by being positive about boys and telling her what she can have in the future.

In a connected world of diverse value systems, this book is a recommended read for moms.

Reviewed by: Rev Kevin Graves

Despite Professor Slayton’s many successes, he writes that being a Dad is “the most important job a man will ever have.” Raised in a dysfunctional home by a father who abandoned them when he was an early teenager, Gregory was rescued by a Chinese immigrant family who took him in, taught him what a real family could be, and ultimately introduced him to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Inspired by this example, Gregory spent 25 years studying common traits of successful fathers around the world. He has compiled these nuggets into a handy 10 Tools format, based on the acronym: F-A-T-H-E-R-H-O-O-D. It includes gems such as Family Fun, having an Optimistic, Never-Surrender Attitude, and tips on marriage (All-in Marriage), where Gregory gives multiple facts on how a strong marriage directly impacts children in life. He boldly states, “One of the most important gifts you can give your children is to love your wife.” He highlights another important tool; that fathers need Other Good Dads. We need allies. We need accountability. We need encouragement.

Full of practical suggestions and a “Put It to Work” section at the end of each chapter, one of the most outstanding chapters teaches us how to create a Noble Family Vision. While many work for companies and attend churches with clearly defined vision statements, Professor Slayton wisely beckons us: “Happy families are not built by accident”. Families need a vision too!

The book ends with some practical ways to start a Father’s Group.

May this book bring you insights, and may the Lord bless you in your parenting journey.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

We have been told by secular experts that our parental role ends when our children are in their late teens or early 20s, and for the most part we accept it as true. How wrong can they be? Kids grow up, but they never stop being your children. And in this ever-changing time, families need each other more than ever.

The issues facing adult children could be:

  • Financial problems
    Are good times supposed to last forever?
  • Marriage deterioration
    Who will adult children turn to for security, stability and acceptance in the chaos of a turbulent, broken relationship?
  • Career stress
    Who will your adult children turn to for life transition advice?
  • And many others…

Once a Parent Always a Parent’ shows how you can be concerned about your adult children in a nice and healthy way – without driving each other up the wall. It offers sound advice such as developing a communication routine with your adult children and being careful about keeping it. Each child is unique. Adopt the routine that best fits the individual needs of each child. Assume it as much your responsibility as it is theirs to keep the friendship growing with your adult children.

May this book bring you insights, and may the Lord bless you in your parenting journey.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

If raising faithful children is something you’ve been thinking about, then this book is for you. Some of the parenting issues that are addressed in this book include the following:

  • Raising children will not always be sweetness and light. Kids will test your boundaries and create conflicts you never knew existed. How then can we effectively deal with conflict and discipline?
  • If you think peer pressure begins during teen years, you’re wrong. We must work extra hard to guide them through the struggles they’ll face. How then can we communicate effectively: what to talk about, when, and how to do it?
  • Adolescence can be exhilarating and exasperating. During these turbulent times, will your children grasp on to their faith or will they seek their own paths?

This book is full of wisdom. God offers His free gift of salvation and then waits patiently until our children receive it with their whole heart. All children have free will and play a big part in whether they choose to follow what they’ve been taught. The parent’s role is to instil spiritual values and point their children toward Christ. While we don’t shoulder the entire load, we do have the responsibility to be faithful stewards of those little lives God has given us. The key question is: “Do I want my children to have a faith like mine?”

May this book bring you insights, and may the Lord bless you in your parenting journey.

Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group

What are the effects of modern pressures on the family? Which is more effective: Permissive Parenting or Authoritative Parenting? How can we best resolve family conflicts? If you think of parenting as helping to train a disciple, then how would that affect the way you approach parenting?

If you are a new parent, a parent to be, or a parent facing family issues desperately searching for information to navigate the chasm of parenting, then, look no further.  ‘Helping Parents Make Disciples’ may just be the guide for you.

The authors had surveyed over 400 pastors and presented many practical advice and counselling tips in this book which include the following:

  • A honeybee is drawn to a flower because of nectar it can give. As a parent, what kind of nectar can we give our children?
  • Research on Marital Therapy by John Gottman (1993) suggests that happy marriages have at least five positive interactions for every negative interaction. We believe this is true for parenting as well. Positive interactions won’t happen without work.
  • Almost all parents were ecstatic when their first child was born. They whipped out snapshots at the slightest excuse. In a struggling family relation, the key is to restore that enthusiasm. Recall what did you previously do as a family that was fun?

May this book bring you insights, and may the Lord bless you in your parenting journey.

5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:5-7

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