I have 5 children – more than some and less than others. And I have to admit that when I first picked up Growing Great Kids, by Kate Battistelli I became a little skeptical when I discovered she had “only 1”. Well, you know what they say: Pride (and, I might add, skepticism) goes before a fall. So I have to start by encouraging any others who might find themselves feeling the same way to stay with this book!
Unlike many parenting books I’ve read over the years, Kate Battistelli offers views and a vision of a much bigger picture. Dealing with issues such as integrity, honesty, character and calling, this is no “how to” book. The reader is often reminded that Kate is not offering a panacea or quick fix to any problems you might be experiencing with your child. In fact, the questions that follow each chapter will quickly move your eyes from your child to yourself. Not, however, with a critical or blaming lens, but by providing thoughtful and gentle probes that will encourage you (the parent) to enlarge the vision you may already have and play an active part in developing that vision. Really good stuff…
After reading about two chapters, I realized that I needed to make notes. Personally, I know I will be referring to this book again and again, even if only for some of those questions I referred to earlier. (By the way, if you ever have a friend coming to you for parenting counsel and you feel somewhat hesitant to offer any, the queries are a great way to encourage her to think about deep and meaningful answers, rather than look for an easy solution.)
Here are a few snippets from the book that I found very encouraging (and, perhaps, a bit challenging)…
My goal is to inspire you to partner with God to mine the greatness that’s lying dormant in your child. Each of us is capable of far more than we think we are. I truly believe we are capable of greatness, and we shouldn’t be afraid to pursue it. P9
Success doesn’t happen by accident. It takes years of hard work. I believe if we seek Him, God is faithful to put a dream in parents’ hearts for their children… He entrusts the dream to us and gives us the responsibility to dig it out and give it shape. Kids don’t become successful adults by accident.
There is a culture of drift all around us—adults with no goals or dreams who are living out their lives in mediocre jobs, having little impact on society…We aren’t supposed to be going nowhere. Destiny connotes a destination. But God won’t do it for you. You have to do it in partnership with God. P18
It’s a good thing to set (the) expectations high for your child, but do it with discernment. God will show you where He wants to take them. Your job is to call “things that are not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17, NIV) and not doubt God. P35
For my homeschooling friends: Kate did homeschool her daughter, Francesca, for many years, and has some interesting insight to offer. Advice she shares on goals and goal-setting in Chapter 6 will be helpful for anyone. The progressive nature of the concepts presented in the final few chapters made them a little tough for me, in that the concepts themselves are important and deeply personal. Modeling humility, maintaining integrity, recognizing and making the best of the seasons in our children’s lives – I think many of us have struggled with those from time to time. Finally, there is lots to learn from her discussion on seasons – and this is coming from a well-seasoned parent!
This is a great read for parents who are serious about their calling: well-written and encouraging, and certainly something that you will refer to time and again during the journey that is parenthood.
You can find Kate’s book, Growing Great Kids: Partner with God to cultivate His purpose in your child’s life, on Amazon.
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