Jim Daly is a man that I have grown to respect through his work at Focus on the Family. So I was excited to read this book on parenting.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment, dedication, and discipline. It’s too easy to sit the kids in front of the TV, phone or tablet and let them babysit our children. At the same time, it’s also easy to be legalistic, overbearing and prohibitive. If only it were easy to have the perfect balance, then you could be the perfect parent. But as Daly points out in this book, there are no perfect parents and striving for perfection can leave us empty and drive our children away. So, what Daly has hoped to accomplish through this book, is not to tell us how to be perfect parents but how to parent in spite of our imperfections.
Too often we quote Proverbs 22:6 and use it as a proof text that if we raise our kids the best we know how, when they are older, after they settle down they too can become just like we want them too. But the point of that verse is to raise children according to their personalities, drives and abilities. To equip them to function as God has wired them, not as we think they should be and that is essentially what Daly advocates for in this book.
So, through personal illustrations and helpful guidelines, Daly explains how perfection is the enemy of parenting and laughing, talking and connecting with your kids is what is truly important. He also encourages us to embrace the messiness of parenting. We’re not always going to get it right, and our children will not always respond as they should but what we need to learn as parents is that kids just want us to be present and not perfect.
No matter what stage of parenting you may find yourself in, this book is a helpful and needful reminder that God’s grace is a perfect example to follow in our parenting and Daly does a good job of explaining how.