“What is the best parenting book?”
We get asked this question a lot, and it isn’t an easy question to answer. We love books. Let’s just say we have read a lot of books, and we might own a small library in our home. I have yet to come across the one complete guide to raising kids, but along the way I have learned some valuable information. Today we are going to share the books and ideas we have learned along our parenting journey. Hopefully they can help you along yours.
1st Things 1st
The best advice I can give any parent is make sure your relationship with the Lord is in a good place. If it is not, make this THE top priority. No matter how many kids I have or how many books I read, the kids are constantly throwing us curve balls. Situations constantly come up that are not covered in the books, or they come up unexpectedly leaving you no time to prepare. You WILL need Holy Spirit to guide you during those times. So the first key to successful parenting is to make sure you are tapping into His wisdom. Prioritize your relationship with the Lord. It has to take top priority and be scheduled daily into your day, if you want to lead your children well. The “Sunday School” answer of “Jesus” really is the answer to everything!
Here are some of our favorite books for Spiritual Intimacy:
- Soul Keeping by John Ortberg
- The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels
- Frequency by Robert Morris
- How to Pray – a Simple Guide by Pete Greig
- Walking With God – John Eldredge
It really takes a community to raise kids. God created us to need Him and to need each other. Think about who is a part of your community and invest in those relationships. If you don’t have anyone, start praying and asking the Lord who to pursue. You will need them to pray with you through the hard times and rejoice with you through the good times. Here are three different types of community we feel is important.
- Your Spouse: You are a team and you need to be a team to raise your children. You may approach things differently, so it is important to work together and be on the same page. Embrace your different points of view, pray about each one and figure out a way that will work best for your family at that moment.
- Your Network: We need family and friends to come alongside us and help us on this parenting journey. Sometimes we need them for practical help-carpool and babysitting. But we also need people we can do life with. People we can brainstorm with or ask questions. People we can call on a hard day to cry or laugh with. Life is so much better with family and friends
- Your Mentor: It is so important that you have someone you can call when you have no idea what to do. Someone who can listen to you and who will seek the Lord on your behalf. Someone who will tell it to you straight but also gently help you through the hard. Their wisdom and insight is priceless and will bring you huge amounts of benefit if you listen, consider and respond to their words of wisdom. If you don’t have one, pray and ask the Lord who would be the right fit for you in the season you are in.
Okay, so here we go. Here is a list of our favorite parenting books that have helped us on our journey. Books are a great resource. God has given many individuals lots of Godly wisdom and has used them to help us on our own journey. Be open to their thoughts and opinions. Talk with the Lord about them. Not every point the author makes will work for your family but think about them. Ask the Lord what the heart it behind their statement. Ask Him which ideas or suggestions you should focus on today and with which kid. There is such value to being open and teachable. There are many topic specific books that we will share at another time. For today we are sharing our favorite general parenting books. (If you have asked us this questions before, still scan the list we have a new favorite!!)
- The Bible- seriously, this is the best parenting and life book. The more in love with it you are the better equipped you will be to handle anything life throws at you. Make it a habit to daily be in God’s Word. It will not disappoint!
- Start with the Heart by Kathy Koch- this is a recent read for us and I think has moved to the top of our list. It really is ALL about the heart. If we don’t reach our child’s heart it doesn’t matter what we do. Everything we do should be centered around their heart. Attitudes, emotions and decisions all come out of the heart. Helping them to have a heart turned towards the Lord and a willingness to do what He asks is the most important thing we can do as parents.
- Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony- Our job as parents is to put our children in the path of God. Only He can change their hearts and mold them into who He has created them to be. This book talks about how to partner with God to do just that.
- Sticky Faith by Kara Powell- When our children leave our home we want them to have a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord. We don’t want them to be living on the coattails of our faith. We want it to be personal to them. It is our job as parents to help them on their journey of faith.
- Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans- As parents we are called to shepherd our children’s hearts and instill values into them. In this book Dr. Evans talks about 6 different virtues all children should possess and he teaches parents how to do it. It is an encouraging reminder that even if our kids find themselves in “Babylon,” a strong faith can help them to live like Daniel.
Where to Begin:
At this point you may be saying, “Where do I begin?” Sometimes it is overwhelming when someone throws so many different options at you. So let me make it a little easier for you. Here are the top two books we would recommend you start with, after the Bible of course! Read Frequency by Robert Morris to help tune in to the Holy Spirit and read Start with the Heart by Kathy Koch to start thinking about your approach to parenting. After that see where the Lord leads you next. Parenting is a journey for all of us. As long as we seek the Lord and stay humble and teachable we will always have what we need!!