Tuesday, September 18, 2012


We will be periodically doing Book Reviews posts on this blog. Here is an oldie for you:

Publisher: Zondervan (1993)
ISBN-10: 0310578612
ISBN-13: 978-0310578611
Inspire Your Kids to Greatness: How Parents Can Nurture God's Next Generation
In many homes today, and with particular reference to Christian homes, the problem parents and children face is problem of Generation Gap and because of this, many parents tend to have ideas which their children call archaic while their children have ideas which the parents think are weird.  How do we communicate with these children? I found the book “Inspire your kids to Greatness” by Jerry Johnston an attempt to bridge the divide. Johnston approaches the issue from both sides and arrives at an acceptable “compromise”. The book is divided into sixteen chapters with an afterword as the summarizing chapter.
“Would you know greatness when you see it?”
To different people “greatness” means different things but Johnston takes his definition from the words of Christ which associates greatness to humility and service (Matthew 18:3-4); words which are not usually associated with greatness. Greatness begins on the knees as the one seeks the Lord for guidance and cannot be achieved without Trust, Repentance, Confidence, Commitment, Courage, Faith, Meekness, Humility and Patience.

The opening story of chapter two summarized the word “Inspiration” to me.
“Theologian/Philosopher/Pastor Jonathan Edwards and his wife Sarah raised eleven kids and died when their youngest kid was eight years old, and their children carried on their godly heritage through their parents’ original inspiration. One hundred and forty-two years after the death of their parents in 1758, the Edwards’s descendants had produced: One hundred foreign missionaries; platoons of full-time Christian workers; thirteen College presidents; sixty-five professors; one hundred lawyers; thirty judges; sixty-six physicians; one dean of a medical school; eighty holders of public office; and one vice-president of the United States”
One meaningful and significant saying from The Edwards was that “every family ought to be ... a little church; consecrated to Christ ...” Inspiration is not coercion. It is living out your faith for others to see. It is a mirror of your spiritual depth or shallowness. As parents, our inspiration is Christ and as children our inspiration is our parents.

The book gives guidelines on how to motivate children to be competitive; to view every mountain as a challenge to be conquered. It also touches on how to overcome perceived or even real deficiencies in the child as well as in the parent. There is a stress on upholding family traditions and values as a way to battle unscriptural cultural influencers including but not limited to pop trends, unwholesome sex–crazed culture, the homosexual revolution and the declining Christian culture in the national lifestyle. One concept the book brings up which I found interesting was the idea of Forging Family Covenants i.e. putting on paper the ethics that identify the family for all members to see and comply with whether they are together or separated. Each member signs it and dates it as a constant reminder that they all belong together. There are a few other catchy concepts one of which are the L & L’s i.e. finding time to LUNCH, LAUGH, LOVE, LEARN, LISTEN, LABOUR, LIBRARY, and LITTLE LEAGUE. All the events in the L & L tend to say to the kids “I recognize that you are special and have a place in my life”.

Perhaps the most important take home from the book is that inspiring your kids is a matter of time and communication. How much of your time do you spend with your kids not only as a group but individually? How effective is your communication? Does your family have a tradition and does every member understand the family tradition? Of course other ingredients such as love (which is the single greatest motivator), forgiveness and ceaseless prayer (we need to take each child to the Lord in prayer and ask God for your desire for them) are also important and are discussed in the book as well.

On a final note, the book urges us:
"Never, never give up on any child!"
I simply love this Book and recommend it to parents who want to Inspire their children to greatness.

Other books on parenting:

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