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Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Modern Parents, Vintage Values"

TITLE: Modern Parents, Vintage Values: Instilling Character in Today's Kids [Paperback]
AUTHOR: Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2010, (256 pages).

This book is written for parents to guide children in a digital age. Ever feel like a parent feeling increasingly analog in a growing digital world? Ever feel hopeless about technology leaving you behind? What about the modern addictions, the fears of growing up in an adult world, the dangers of entitlement, and many more? Trevathan and Goff brings together a whole list of relevant modern issues that young children face. They explain clearly the six technological issues (cell phones, gaming, Internet, social media, chat, online communications), the need to move from entitlement to gratitude, the instilling of respect to learn to treat others the way we like to be treated ourselves, addictions (alcohol, drugs, sex, eating disorders, self-harm), emotions (anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, high stress, anger), and many more. Each issue comes with a list of do's and don'ts for parents, complete with a delightful "Sunday Drive" activities that the whole family can participate in.

Part Two goes into "Vintage Values" where the virtues are defined, exemplified, understood, and practiced. The nine virtues are kindness, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, integrity, responsibility, patience, confidence, and manners. There is also an accompanying "Sunday Drive" on how to incorporate these values into the lives of the whole family. There is a helpful section with each chapter that deals specifically with obstacles surrounding the teaching of such values. This is important because very often, the virtues are a no-brainer, but the practice of it seems most challenging to implement.What is also helpful is the specific instructions given not just to parents, but also to children, teenagers, and older adults.

Part Three covers "timeless truths." In "Take Heart," the authors begin to summarize the impact of the book they have written thus far, even self-convicting. They urge readers to look at their own lives as well as they stuff they accumulate. In other words, they remind us that kids are watching not just what we say but how  we behave.  In "Have Life," parents are urged to carve out time to be alone themselves. Parenting is hard work, but not always all the work. "Seek hope" is a reminder that hope does not disappoint, for God wants the best for us and for our children. Finally, "Give Love" encourages us not just to give and give, but to love unconditionally, love continually, and to love extravagantly.

My Thoughts

Will character be instilled just by the reading of this book? Maybe. What if the book is put into practice? Possibly. What if the book is prayed and practiced? Most definitely. Parenting is a strange thing. We can try our best, and sometimes it works, other times it does not work. Children grows all the time. Adults too. Parenting techniques have to keep up with the different phases of growth. Parenting is challenging. It is always heart-breaking at times. Yet, I am reminded too, that it is better to have tried and failed, than not to try at all. Trevathan and Goff has given us a really helpful manual for parenting children in a modern world. They have brought into focus very important timeless values. At the same time, they have incorporated hope using biblical ideas to help us to achieve that.

I like this book for its clarity and a no-holds barred addressing the challenging issues of our time. Though the peripheral package of issues are changing, (like technology, types of addictions, external devices, etc), the core behavioural matters are similar. The values and the virtues of good faith have to be inculcated and taught rather than assumed. This book enables parents to do just that. Perhaps, the authors will also prepare a supplement for this book, like a teen version. That will enable both parents and children to read and to understand the issues on the same page. If the book can cause parents and children to start talking, that is already worth the price of the book.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by B&H Publishing and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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