Clyde was our first Christmas Critter ever adopted. He was born out of necessity. in 2012, our family moved to southern Asia. Though we enjoyed our new adventure, and we definitely enjoyed serving the Lord, holidays were tough at first. We were mission familiar sights, smells, sounds, and traditions of Christmas. Rather than sulk in our losses, our family chose to start new traditions and new adventures. And so, The Christmas Critter Character Building Series was created.
Each family shops for and chooses a personal "Critter" to adopt as their family Christmas Critter. Then for each day in December leading up to Christmas, this Critter is used for a new activity. Children wake up each morning to find the Critter has done something crazy overnight. (The scene is set up by the parent following the simple instructions given in each pack.) Each day they also find a letter beside the scene explaining the situation. The letters are included with the instructions in the pack. The activities have been kept simple using supplies that are easily accessible in most places. The packs were designed with missionaries on foreign fields in mind who often have limited access to materials. The activities were also kept simple because... well... the author is a mom! Mom's are busy people... We need simple!
They are amazing kids.
Some days I just watch them and think how blessed I am to be their Mom.
And I want to do it right. There is a deep longing in my heart to be the kind of mom God wants me to be.
That kind of parenting doesn't come naturally.
That kind of parenting comes from being trained... changed... shaped by the Lord.
It comes through much labor and submission.
It comes through study and inspection and growth and conviction and learning.
It's work and it's tough.
I love resources that help me in this journey of motherhood.
Recently I came across a resource that I invested in. Someone had recommended a book to me.
The book? Passionate Parenting by Cary Schmidt.
I read it... well, actually I DEVOURED it!
It was that good!
The book is often directed toward parents of preteens and teens, but covers the whole spectrum of parenting in some fashion. It even covers parenting adult children, too.
My favorite things about the book?
Practical. The book isn't just happy fluff, but it gets down to business of how to put into practice bringing our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
This book isn't about changing our children. It's about training parents to be what God has called them to be.
Cary Schmidt did a wonderful job in helping me to understand my children better... my ten year old... my almost teenage girl... and my college kid.
Not only that, but he presented ways to help me improve parenting each of the ages of children who call me Mom.
The book helped me understand myself, too.
All of this from biblical perspective.
It isn't too much longer and I will be having a Mommy/Daughter getaway to talk about "growing up" things with my girl.
This book had a whole section covering those discussions. Like I said-- practical.
Usually when I do a book review, I like to give the good side and the bad side. But honestly, this book impacted me as a parent greatly.
I really cannot think of a negative. I will be reading it again...
Best parenting book I have ever read by far.
I am not a huge fiction fan...
I don't sit around reading tons of fiction books for many reasons. Two of those reasons:
1) My time for reading is limited. If I am going to use my limited time for reading, I want it to be spent on things that are going to be helpful to me!
2) I hate to read things labelled "Christian" fiction that turn out to be carnal, flesh-filled, worldly... I am NOT filling my head with that junk.
So when I come across a Christian fiction book that is worth reading, I like to pass it on. Beyond the Gathering Storm by Janette Oke was such a book.
The book was given to me along with several others by the same author. It started out slow, and there were points where I was concerned where the book might go, but I am glad I stuck around and finished it.
It's about a brother and a sister who pursue relationships.
Now let's park right there and let me explain how picky I am. I don't do "romance" books. You know... those books about wooing and flirting and emotions out of control. Not interested. They aren't about love. They are about self-serving and gratification with no moral benefit to the reader. Yep. I am picky.
But I enjoy relationship books that keep things clean, God-honoring, and have good moral lessons.
So, with that said, this brother and sister pursue very different relationships in very different ways. Both are professing Christians who start out with standards, but one allows those standards to be chipped away in temptation. Compromises here and there. Before you know it, one sibling is snared into a relationship that causes great inner (and outer) conflict. You watch... um, read... the consequences and see the downward spiral. You see the steps that lead to the consequences.
The moral lesson of the book?
2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
The book does a great job displaying this truth and the stumbling block of thinking that "we can change them."
Things I loved about the book:
The book kept the "physical" side VERY clean... clean enough that I plan on letting my daughter read it. Literally, when there was kissing, it just said, "They kissed." No details about planting a wet sloppy one. Gag. So nothing there to incite passions that don't need to be awakened.
It showed both sides of the coin... the sibling who looked for the godly character as well as the sibling whose eye was swayed by the glitter of the world.
The ending was exactly what I had hoped for.
It wasn't sappy or chick-flicky!
The book is a great launching point for discussion with teens on what to look for in a potential mate. It is also a great starter for discussing having your standards firmly in place before temptation confronts you!
Things I didn't like about the book:
The Gospel was not clearly presented. It was a social "Go with God" presentation at best.
There was a serious issue with two people being unchaperoned in nonpublic places frequently, AND there was kissing frequently between two unmarried characters. Nothing blatant and gross, but they were not married. If you have a standard against those things, you might want to discuss it with any children who plan on reading the book. I recommend 12 years and older.
I didn't agree much with the decisions of the parents where the daughter was concerned... but that's a whole other story.
The book is definitely a great read and the lesson it teaches made it worth the time.