Book Review: Parenting with Scripture
When I married my husband two and a half years ago, I became a step-mom. Anybody who has a blended family knows how difficult it can be. Jumping into the role of a parent can be extremely overwhelming. Particularly in blended families, parenting can be difficult because children are being thrown into situations that they might not want or understand.
There was a lot of chaos in the beginning of our marriage, because my step-child was not happy with Dad being remarried even though he had been divorced for almost 6 years. And truthfully I had no clue what I was doing as a parent. Probably still don’t. I remember wishing I had the answers. I knew the Bible would be helpful, but wasn’t sure which verses would help me.
I was extremely blessed to receive Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments by Kara Durbin as a Christmas present from my Pastor’s wife. Parenting can be extremely difficult in a blended family, and I am excited to have this tool to help me during difficult times.
Kara Durbin earned an elementary education degree from Texas A&M. When she looked for a reference book that would include scriptures for parenting her homeschooled children, she could not find one. She writes that her mother “blessed her life by parenting with Scripture,” and because of that was inspired to write this reference book.
The book begins with an introduction that includes a ten page portion with education about teachable moments and a page that describes features and symbols used throughout the guide. The 6 key symbols alert the reader to whether or not scriptures are parts of longer familiar scripture passages.
• The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)
• The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)
• The Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13)
• The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25)
• The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
• Clothe Yourself With…(Colossians 3:12-14)
Following the introduction is a section of 101 topics that are organized A through Z. Topics included in this book are anger, apathy, bragging, contentment, complaining, discipline, friendship, fighting, honesty, listening, responsibility, forgiveness, and salvation. Each topic has a definition, a list of applicable scriptures, ideas for discussion, and ways to take action or put the lessons learned to real use.
Following the topics is an easy to miss scripture appendix where the author includes the full scripture passages that correlate with the key symbols mentioned above. Next she includes a section of fifteen short verses to memorize that can be used in a multitude of situations. She also gives advice according to the children’s age on memorizing verses.
Durbin writes about praying scriptures for our children. She does make some suggestions but also notes that finding specific verses that apply to each child can occur through bible study. She also suggests praying scriptures that apply topically to whatever your child is dealing with.
Finally Parenting with Scripture concludes with a cross-referenced index. For example “Curiosity, See Discernment, 78; Knowledge, 144” and “Popularity, See Conceitedness, 58; Self-Respect, 198”.
In the short amount of time that I have owned this book I have found it to be extremely useful. I believe that the Discussion questions are good starting points for conversation. Each topic has a Take Action portion that gives suggestions for activities to learn about that subject. The activity might be prayer, making a list, writing a verse on a notecard, or setting personal goals.
Some topics have a Parenting Tip that has also been really helpful. For example in the section about money, advice is given to let children make mistakes so they will learn to spend money wisely in the future and to also establish a waiting period. A waiting period helps to make sure a child really wants something they are buying instead of just buying on impulse. Children aren’t the only ones that need to learn this in my family!
At first glance it seems that serious topics such as drinking, sexual purity, smoking and drugs are not addressed; but they are all addressed in the topic of health.
A few topics include a Challenge that attempts to stretch our minds spiritually with coordinating scriptures.
The Table of Contents does not list topics individually, but they can be found in the index.
Parenting with Scripture is an extremely valuable tool for any parent. It provides reasonable suggestions for conversation and activities to help children learn. The topic section is easy to read and short, with most being 2 to 3 pages long. I do wish more sections included Parenting Tips and Challenge. I also wish the serious topics such as drinking, sexual purity, smoking and drugs would have been addressed more thoroughly; but, all in all, this is a great book and I have a feeling I will be using it for years to come.
Other reviews have mentioned that the author is writing in a condescending tone, but I personally did not find that to be true. I think the Discussion ideas and Take Action portion of each topic should just be a starting point on how a person communicates with their children.