We have a section in our monthly newsletter dedicated to parent book/podcast reviews. We have compiled them here for easy reference. The views and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the official stance of Harbor Light Christian School.
Mama Bear Apologetics
Growing Up Social
“One morning, I was scouting the internet for yet another parenting book, and the book ‘Growing Up Social’ by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane popped up. I knew that Gary Chapman was a reputable author having wrote “The 5 Love Languages” and many other books. The reason for my search was probably for the same challenges that parents my age are facing: Why won’t my kids just listen? Why do they not respect me? Why can’t they focus? Why is our house filled with yelling- when we are loving, present parents? Why is our discipline not working?
I was not prepared for raising children in a digital age! Once I started reading the first chapter, tears were streaming down my face. It was as if the Holy Spirit was gently correcting me as a parent and downloading a plan for our family and what changes needed to be made. I had to grab sticky notes from my glove box just to keep up with all of the tools, tips, and information He was sharing with me! I started implementing the changes right away and we have seen a shift in our house. Was it sunshine and rainbows day one, No! But is God up to something huge for us, Yes!
If you have asked yourself any of those questions or feel ill-prepared for raising children in this digital world, please pick up this book. I have been sharing with every parent that I can what a difference this has made for our family!”
The Maven Podcast
This past summer I was fortunate to attend the Great Lakes Symposium on Christian Worldview, a Colson Center event. One of the speakers, Brett Kunkle, mentioned a ministry he had founded, called Maven.
This ministry birthed a podcast that exists to equip parents to navigate the journey of parenting children within our current culture. Brett brings the experience of being a father, youth pastor, and author and combines it with his knowledge of apologetics, culture, Christian education, and philosophy. His wife brings her knowledge of parenting, homeschooling, ministry, and sociology. Together they bring their marriage to the microphone to tackle the HUGE issues we are all facing in today’s world as we attempt to parent our children to the best of our ability.
They have a light, playful banter as a couple, but bring reverence to the topics we are facing every day. Topics range from picky eating and chores to heavier topics such as gender ideology, biblical identity, and anxiety.
I have really enjoyed listening to this couple and hope you will too!
M is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood
Over Christmas break I read M is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood by Abbie Halberstadt and I cannot recommend it enough. Abbie is a mother of 10 and gives such a positive light to motherhood in a way we don’t often see in today’s world, which glamorizes being a mediocre mother. She encourages you to aspire to be a Christlike mother with each chapter touching on a different topic, but all relating back to Biblical parenting. In her words, the Bible “is not just theoretical, but is rich and nuanced in its practicality as well.”
I love that she gives reference to specific Bible verses often throughout the book. I find myself writing down the verses to go back and reference later when I am reading my Bible. At the end of each chapter, she provides a review that gives examples related to that chapter of what a Mediocre Mother does or looks like and compares it to Christlike Motherhood. She also gives you action steps, questions to ask yourself, and a prayer for each chapter.
As a mother of 10, she has children of a variety of ages and speaks to parenting topics for all ages and stages of motherhood. She encourages parents to go against the grain of modern society if we want to train our children to be true followers of Christ, even if that means taking the more difficult path. This may look like not allowing our children to have access to certain media which does not exemplify behaviors or language we wish our children to emulate, speaking with our children at an appropriate age about sex in the way that the Lord intended, or not allowing ourselves to fall victim to the idea of self-care vs soul-care.
While none of what she recommends is the easy road, it is said best in the book of Matthew, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). I would encourage every mom (or dad) who feels convicted to train their children to follow the Lord and behave in a way that exemplifies being a follower of Christ to read this book.
Love Centered Parenting
It’s a book I listened to slowly the first time and then listened to again because I wanted to see if I had put into practice any of the lessons I gleaned from my first read. I initially found Crystal Paine and her blog Money Saving Mom when I was couponing to save our growing family money. I enjoyed her pragmatic yet focused insights into saving money and budgeting. When she released a parenting book, I was a bit skeptical because it seemed out of her area of expertise. I didn’t even make it through the first chapter, and I knew this was a book that would challenge me.
Crystal writes about one of her children being kicked out of a Christian school for bullying, and about dealing with a child who struggles with depression. It isn’t written in a way that deals with the child or a step by step of how to parent better and change your child…Instead she talks about what the challenges did in her. It made her examine if she was truly parenting her child from a place of love or from a place of fear…fear of her reputation. Fear of what others would think. If there was one thing Crystal and her family did well it was setting goals and achieving them. So, this new realization that it wasn’t about meeting goals or achieving high standards but about meeting her child right where they were was life-altering.
My biggest take away from this book was: Why am I making this parenting choice? What is my motivation? Am I meeting my child where they are, or expecting them to meet me where I think they should be? Don’t get me wrong, and I think she’d agree: Parenting is about teaching and training in righteousness, but it’s also about recognizing our children are fallible humans and treating them the way Christ treats us. Parenting children is hard. This book has helped me remember to keep the most important thing, important. I want my child to know they are loved. I want to listen…not to diagnose…not to fix…but to be in relationship with them. I want to point them to the One who lets me know that in my imperfectness, I am perfectly loved, and they are too.