By Tim Kimmel
Family Matters, Published by Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing www.familymatters.com
13402 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite A120
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Raising our children is a wonderful adventure, often through uncharted territory. It's a rich and wonderful commission by Christ but certainly not a job for wimps. Dr. Tim Kimmel's book, 50 Ways to Really Love Your Kids ($14.95), offers an insightful and Biblical roadmap for parents who want to touch their children's hearts with God's love, not just train their minds. He manages to capture the balance of God's discipline with His mercy and grace, and then he applies this wisdom to parenting. This little gem of a book (only 117 pages) is largely composed of excerpts from several other books he has written on parenting, cut down to 51 bite-sized chunks perfect for a morning devotional or a study group. The titles all start with "Give your kids love that . . ." and include such items as "love that admits mistakes", "love that manages their doubts", love that maintains moral equilibrium", "love that finds its source in God", and one of my favorites, "love that carefully stewards their tears".
The theme of 50 Ways to Really Love Your Kids is choosing to parent our kids as God parents us, for eternal purposes and not just for our immediate convenience. Dr. Kimmel's concept of "grace-based" parenting starts with our relationship with Christ, which sets the foundation for our relationships with our children. For a taste of the Biblical wisdom, consider a quote from Chapter 9, Give Your Kids Love That Models True Greatness:
Besides, raising kids for greatness is far less about what you do and far more about what you are. Our kids just need an idea of what greatness looks like, feels like, tastes like, smells like, and sounds like. And you can do all of that by practicing one quality: grace-treating others the way God treats you. . . . Love big! Work hard! Forgive gladly! Repent quickly! Encourage graciously! Speak humbly! Play enthusiastically! Think abundantly! Serve eagerly! Worship earnestly! And . . . never stop dancing!
I liked the warmth, the practical advice, and the encouraging writing style, which reminds me of Max Lucado's books. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that each nugget gives you so much to think about, it was hard to just sit down and read straight through it to write this review! In 50 Ways to Really Love Your Kids you will find grace and wisdom to raise your children to be mighty men and women of God. Not because we are perfect as parents, but because we serve a perfect God who fills in the gaps if we will only give Him the room.
If you are looking for a parenting book that says just love your kids and everything will work out, or just spank your kids while quoting Scriptures at them, then you will be sadly disappointed. But if you want a book that will encourage you in your parenting with advice and wisdom that is based on Biblical principles, then you will enjoy this book as much as I did. Grace-based parenting is the kind of eternal, Christ-centered perspective that will reverberate through the generations.
Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September 2006