We spent a wonderfully refreshing evening last night with Ryan and Andrea Ward and their sweet kiddos, Grace and Caleb. If any of you grew up in Manhattan or have attended Montana Bible College, you probably know them. What a great family. Filled with God to the brim and overflowing.
Andrea made us pizza and Gracie and Caleb couldn't wait to get to the ice cream they made. J made a big hit with the kids, per usual. He made pineapple talk (which Grace giggled about but promptly informed us that pineapples don't talk). Later he asked if she ate ice cream on her pizza or pizza on her ice cream - - in general he was just a big kid; hence the complete adoration of the lollipop league.
Late in the evening we talked about books that have spoken to us recently and ones that helped us as we were raising a family.
It isn't the first time in the past couple months that I have had this conversation with someone. We have several new, or soon-to-be, parents as friends and it blesses me that people turn to us for answers. We haven't really done anything extraordinary - it's just that intentionality goes a long way when you couple it with the convictions of God in your own hearts as parents. We read and listened to a lot because their is something about becoming a parent that causes you to feel lost (or at least 'at a loss'). Good place to be. Humble, needy, scared, and directionless are all postures that God can use and infuse with His glory.
Here's a list of books we've read, loved, reread, tried to implement, cried over, repented because of, etc... etc... etc...
Family life and parenting in general:
The Family - JR Miller
Ministry of Motherhood &
Mission of Motherhood - both by Sally Clarskson
For the Families Sake &
When Children Love to Learn- Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Romancing Your Child's Heart - Monte Swan
Family Driven Faith - Voddie Bauchaum
Parenting with Kingdom Purpose - Hemphill & Ross
My one caution is that several of these books lean heavily toward the 'works' side of things. Be careful as you read them to remember that Christ died to allow the Holy Spirit to come and empower you to do all things through Christ. Your lives should be filled with the Holy Spirit and grace so that the work is a joy and an outflow of Who is alive inside of you.
Future Men - Douglas Wilson
Thoughts for Young Men - RC Ryle
Raising a Modern Day Knight - Robert Lewis
Beautiful Girlhood - Mable Hale (updated version by Karen Andreola) or online here
To the Harmonious Development of Christian Character - Newcomb
Raising Maidens of Virtue - Stacy Macdonald
There are others, of course, but these are the ones that I have purposed to buy for my own children to read for their development as parents when the time comes. Some of them are for when your children are small, some for when they begin to grow into adults, but if you can read them BEFORE you get to the stage they are really needed, the stages will be in a truer perspective as they come. I read several of these while I was pregnant with Cassia, and have gone back to them continually.
If you are planning on homeschooling:
Seasons of Life &
Practical Homeschooling - Gregg Harris
Anything and Everything by the Vision Forum