Real World Parents by Mark Matlock

Being that I want to raise my boys up to be wonderful men of God, I am always seeking the Bible for wisdom, but definitely appreciate the help of other books as well. This whole parenting thing is tough. Am I too hard on the kids? Do I let them get away with too much? Am I really doing what’s best for them?

There’s no one perfect answer that fits every family or every child and Mark Matlock addresses that in Real World Parents.

I love that he shows the world’s story in comparison to God’s story and how important it is to live in a way that shows our children that we are living for God’s story, not the world’s. It’s not about having a list of rights and wrongs, but about simply showing our kids in our daily lives what God’s story really is and letting them ultimately make the right decisions based on what they know about how God wants us to live.

I loved that at the end of each chapter, he has questions for you to ask yourself and your family. What an eye-opening thing that was for me. Am I really living out God’s story? Is that what my children are seeing or are they hearing me say to live out God’s story while I still hold onto things that go along with the world’s story? Ouch!

I really can’t say enough good about this book. All of our children are different and one cookie-cutter approach to parenting them just isn’t going to work. There really is only one way to “train them up” and that’s by living out God’s story in our daily lives, making sure He is the center of all of our decisions and everything we do, praying for Him to give us wisdom in raising our children for His glory and ultimately… loving our children and giving them the same grace that God has extended to us.

Here is a little more about the book, provided by The B&B Media Group…

“Many Christian parenting books focus on helping parents figure out how to raise well-behaved, well-mannered kids. And while that’s an important element, not many focused on raising kids to have hearts that seek after Christ. The goal of parenting, in the long run, isn’t for our kids to be known for how well behaved they are, but for how well they know and respond to God,” Matlock says. “Our behaviors are ultimately driven by our understanding of the way the world works, of what we believe to be true and false about the universe, of our perception of reality. How can we communicate God’s worldview to our kids? What story are we telling them about the universe, both intentionally and—more importantly—in the way we live with and for God over time?”

Matlock teaches a wisdom-based approach to passing God’s story on to young people and teaching them by example how to navigate the real world. Along the way, Real World Parents will discover:

· Why God likes us and is already happy with our families

· Surprising statistics about teen sex, drugs, and smoking that raise the question: are things really getting worse?

· The three most common parental responses to a scary world—and why they don’t work

· Why parents should teach their children how to “fail productively”

· What kids really need to become spiritually healthy—and how parents can provide those things.

· How to evaluate media through the lens of God’s story

Just like the Real World Parents seminars, the book guides parents through the seven marks of a wise person, encouraging them to examine their definitions of success, their management of resources, the sources they turn to for wise counsel, and the health of their relationships. Matlock believes it is only through embracing and modeling God’s wisdom to their families that parents will create an environment that promotes the true spiritual growth of their children.

Real World Parents is, at the heart, a message of hope for families. “We wonder how God could ever look at our families in the shape they’re in and grin. And the problem is that as parents we sometimes forget that we’re also children, that our God is our Father, that he’s even more lovingly inclined to smile at us than we are to smile at our own kids. Our father likes us, and he forgives even our parenting shortcomings and our family failings,” Matlock says. “No matter how good or bad you think your family is God has plans for you that will unfold in the Real World. God will continue to move your family along in the journey he has in store for you. That’s what real world parenting is about—understanding that journey and communicating it to our kids.”

Real World Parents: Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World by Mark Matlock

Zondervan/Youth Specialties March 2010

ISBN: 978-0-3106-6936-4/143 pages/softcover/$12.99

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book from The B&B Media Group and was not compensated in any other way.


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