Last week, I wrote about GPS, or Global Positioning Systems, which now appear on everything from cars to bicycles. When you get off track, the GPS unit says loudly, “Recalculating, recalculating.” Through the years of writing these articles, I have tried to say, “Recalculate, recalculate.” We need to make adjustments in the way we raise our families. After nine years of Messenger columns, I decided to write a book that can serve as the GPS for today’s parents. At the end of the month, your humble writer’s new book (and soon afterwards, an accompanying church/Bible study workbook) will release. The title may seem familiar. It’s Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip Your Kids for Life.
I am as shocked as you are I could write anything more than a weekly column. The book addresses the cultural forces that have left gaps in our children’s lives. Mom and dad, you already know there’s a problem. God’s GPS, the Holy Spirit, has been telling you something is missing. You are good parents. You want to raise capable, responsible, self-reliant adults.
As I wrote last week, our culture encourages us to raise . . . children. A parent’s real task is to equip them to become healthy adults.
This book addresses the four areas that have been most affected by the cultural shift. Rite of Passage Parenting teaches parents how to build into their children’s lives the essential experiences every child needs:
1) Rite of Passage. No wonder our children never grow up-we don’t provide them with a way to close down their childhood. Every child is born with the longing to grow up, placed within him by the Creator. Our culture has extended the “growing up” years long past the short season God intended.
2) Significant Tasks. In agricultural America, all children had a significant task, a special assignment that demonstrated their worth to people who were important to them. The only ways today’s children show their importance is by making their beds and taking out the trash. No wonder they don’t feel . . . significant.
3) Logical Consequences. Since the beginning of time, God has used logical consequences. He told Adam and Eve if they ate, they would die. They ate . . . and God said, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. Don’t eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!”
Of course He didn’t say that. Adam and Eve ate-and then they died, first spiritually, then physically. Today, our children experience fewer and fewer logical consequences. If there are no logical consequences, there are no values.
4) Grace Deposits. This is the final area affected by cultural changes. In an earlier era, the majority of families had grandparents living nearby, who mentored the parents in raising children and poured loving grace into their grandchildren’s lives. With the shifting of our culture, we have become a mobile society. Many families have left those “grace depositors” behind.
The book comes to you in that familiar “Walker Moore” style: a large dose of humor, coupled with sound teachings from the Word of God. Here are a few lines from the Introduction:
“Recently, I was talking to my youngest son about my latest writing project. He said, ‘Dad, what do you expect to accomplish with this book?’
I was shocked that he asked such a deep, thought-provoking question. My sons generally ask things such as, ‘Dad, can I borrow five dollars?’ . . . Since Caleb asked a serious question, I thought I would give him a serious answer. I said, ‘Parents today are called the ‘the lost generation’ because we have lost the tools to develop capable, responsible, self-reliant adults. I want to help ‘lost generation’ parents become good parents.’
Without even thinking, my son said, ‘Dad, bad parents don’t buy books.'”
(Rite of Passage Parenting Thomas Nelson, 2007).
I know you are good parents. Bad parents don’t read articles on parenting, but you do-every week. On May 29, the book will be available in your local stores. I want you, my Baptist Messenger family, to know about it first.
Please put me on your prayer calendar. 1) Pray God will use my writing and speaking to help parents re-instill biblical essentials in their children’s lives. 2) Pray God will use the church curriculum to touch and change families. 3) Pray we can turn this culture around and raise capable, responsible, self reliant . . . adults!