As aging Americans increasingly grapple with dementia, churches have a growing opportunity to minister to exhausted caregivers and to comfort the forgetful
Parenting With Words of Grace
William P. Smith
Children are shaped by every interaction with their parents, and Smith defines parenting as the “sum total” of these interactions, which either invite or dissuade lasting relationship. No certain words or actions guarantee desired outcomes in children, but the more parents understand grace and treasure their relationship with God and others, the more they talk differently to their kids and better represent their heavenly Father. Smith includes Scripture and stories illustrating his own successes and failures as a father, while emphasizing that the gospel is the only solution to the problem of the human heart.
Lowe has a unique perspective as a counselor and social worker. She married in her 30s while a single mother of two foster girls whom she and her husband later adopted. The couple then added four more children, both foster and adopted. Wary of formulas that guarantee a desired outcome in our children, she emphasizes a commitment to Biblical wisdom and gospel-centered parenting, recognizing that the application looks different for individual families. When parents focus on reflecting Christ, they see their children not as personal achievements, but as “fellow strugglers with whom we live, eat, grieve, forgive, and do life.”
Now Say This
Heather Turgeon & Julie Wright
Turgeon and Wright presume children are innately good, so they believe parental methods that rely on punishment and rewards are counteractive and teach children to see love as conditional. They discourage saying the word “no” and instead offer lots of positive reinforcement—but using the right words will not cure children’s souls. The book outlines a three-step approach involving careful, prescribed language that empathizes, sets limits, and helps children solve problems. Their emphasis on science and research is sometimes helpful—addressing screen limits, for instance—but it also steers readers away from long-standing Biblical and societal ideas about discipline.
Tying Their Shoes
Rob & Stephanie Green
As first-time parents, the Greens found many books about preparing physically and emotionally for children, but few equipped them spiritually. Their book fills that gap as they write honestly from their experience as parents of three children. A follow-up to Tying the Knot, a marriage preparation book, Tying Their Shoes offers refreshing Biblical wisdom for couples about identity, prioritizing each other, and maintaining clear communication. The Greens include advice about labor and delivery, baby gear, career decisions, discipline, and finances. Discussion points in each chapter prompt couples to talk, pray, and seek counsel if needed.
Rachel Jankovic says most Christian women are influenced more than they realize by prevailing existential self-love messages. In You Who? Why You Matter and How to Deal With It (Canon Press, 2019), she identifies the un-Biblical philosophies of personhood and self-actualization that have seeped into the culture and church, fueling the widespread believe-in-yourself mantra, along with deceptions about abortion, feminism, and gender identity.
Jankovic aims to define a Christian view of identity, one that puts to death the sinful self and receives new life in Christ. She emphasizes submission and “a million small acts of obedience,” leading some critics to say the book appears to promote a works-based identity. But I found grace spelled out in the pages, and a timely message for women and teenage girls: “The more we try to build up an identity apart from God and apart from His Word, the less truly ‘us’ we become.” —M.J.