3 out of 4 stars
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"Moms and dads who understand that parenting is a journey, rather than a destination, benefit greatly by allowing joy to become their strength."
In Glad to be a Dad; Calm to be a Mom, David Holden states, "I want fathers to associate the joy they feel in being a dad with the joy our Heavenly Father feels being our Abba Father." Likewise, he compares the calmness mothers experience with the disciples' assurance that "Jesus could calm any storm." Holden stresses that his family is not perfect; rather than being a how-to parenting book, he emphasizes why God desires to use us as parents. Holden's thoughts are supported by scripture references, and with the purpose of encouraging parents to enjoy the process, he provides a devotional study guide at the end of the book.
Written from a Christian perspective, the book is organized and easy to understand. Parenting concepts related to communication, trust, forgiveness, love, security, discipline, sibling relationships, and stewardship are addressed. Holden presents examples of the parenting style he and his wife have implemented over the years with their children, who are now in their twenties. However, his assertion holds true; the book answers more questions about the reasons and motivations for parenting, as opposed to the typical how-to book.
Holden's transparency related to the challenges he faced as a father was refreshing, and I appreciated his honesty regarding that there are no guarantees when it comes to parenting. He refers to the often-quoted Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Holden conveys that the verse reveals a tendency but is not an absolute, as free will must be considered; "parental obedience to the word of God does not guarantee a life filled with hope and salvation for their children." At the same time, the anecdotes he shares about his family and excerpts written by his children confirm the scripture's relevance and ultimately, God's faithfulness.
I particularly liked Holden's illustrations of the significance of simply taking time and being present for our children. For example, he suggests taking the opportunity during the dinner conversation to ask each child their best and worst moments of the day. Here, he stresses the importance of active listening to promote communication, trust, and feeling valued within the family. I also love their tradition of planning a celebratory family hike for each child's thirteenth birthday. Friends or mentors were stationed at half-mile intervals to offer counsel, and the end of the hike concluded with family prayer and the presentation of a special notebook filled with encouraging words.
There wasn't anything I disliked about the book's content. Unfortunately, there were over ten incorrectly capitalized words, preventing me from giving it a perfect score. To be clear, the errors I counted were not phrases coined by Holden that he chose to capitalize, but common nouns such as "Divorce" and "Coaching."
Overall, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to the targeted audience of Christian parents of children ranging from toddlers through the preteen years. However, I would extend the recommendation to parents of teenagers and young adults and even grandparents, due to its wealth of information. Readers do not necessarily need to agree with all of Holden's beliefs to take something away from the book. However, I would not recommend it to readers who dislike reading a Christian perspective.
Glad to be a Dad; Calm to be a Mom
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