Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Born to Be a Blessing

Continuing yesterday's theme on the value of human life, let's talk about the fact that children are indeed Born to Be a Blessing.

It's a sad fact that most people in the world do not believe that children are a blessing. We hear more about how inconvenient they are, how they frequently make a point of showing up "at the wrong time" (leading to innumerable abortions), and all other manner of negative statements. We don't want to see them on airplanes, and we certainly don't want them around in restaurants (esp. nice ones). (I'm laying aside arguments of disobedient children.) Christians are equally guilty of segregation and neigh saying when it comes to involving our children in our lives. How so? Heaven forbid we bring them with us into the main church service to fellowship with mature believers!!!! (Don't even get me started on that subject.)

This is an unhealthy attitude to have towards the younger generation in general, but even more so - it's blatantly unbiblical.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward Ps. 127:3 (KJV)
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Myrtle E. Felkner understands these verses and, based on this book, I'd say she has lived them. Writing from the perspective of a great-grandmother, she wrote this book to encourage Christian parents (and other adults) to view children as the blessing God intended them to be.

Most child rearing books follow the same format - plenty of scriptures, a Biblical argument for why you should be doing whatever it is the author thinks you are supposed to be doing, and some amount of admonishment. Please do not read this incorrectly - none of those aforementioned things are wrong. In fact, such books/advice can be hugely beneficial. This book is different than the rest, however. As I mentioned, it's written by a great-grandmother and it comes across as such.

Not meaning to sound like a complete negative, but it's rather poorly written. (I know that that fact will bother some.) Sometimes I, as the reader, had to connect the dots to understand Felkner's thought processes. If you wanted to poke holes in her presentation, you could easily do so. But I would rather encourage any reader not to do that.

In reading this book I heard the voice of my husband's paternal grandmother speaking to me - a lovely lady in her own right. Felkner seems to have a similar personality in just being a cheerful, loving woman who has a heart for children and family. She has a great deal of encouragement to offer to moms in all stages of life - because she has lived through all of those stages herself. Felkner has a sense of humor about her that makes her charming and endearing and in reading this book I felt like I was sitting down with a grandmother who was reminding me of Biblical truths and who was encouraging my spirit to raise my children well and in light of eternity.

I would definitely say that this book is different from most parenting books. Instead of offering a guideline or argument for a particular method of parenting, she just offers you, well, encouragement. Sometimes, that's what moms need the very most. Sometimes, hearing words of encouragement can spur you on more passionately in your chosen method of child rearing than if someone were giving you more traditional instruction. I would say that this book is a good thing.

Felkner uses a lot of examples in her writing, one of which is a more trying child to raise named Nathan. She says this, which I took to heart:

The "Nathans" in our lives will always be both a joy and a challenge to parents. We know that they are wonderfully and fearfully made, and that God, in God's creative wisdom, has a plan for these children as well. We cannot always discern the plan, but we love these children and offer prayerful guidance for their maturity in Christ. Every minute we spend with our children counts. (page 35)

One of the things I particularly appreciated about this book is that Felkner does not pretend that parenting is an easy ride. She clearly knows and understands that some children are more difficult to raise than others and stretch us beyond what we thought we had the capacity to handle as parents. But no matter. Faulker never deviates from the Bible or her desire to point the reader to its sacred truth that children are indeed blessings. She speaks of God's purposeful design and creativity, as you saw in the above quote, as well as His faithfulness and tender care in helping parents raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

At the beginning and ending of each chapter, Felkner offers a scripture reading as well as follow-up questions to help prompt the reader to focus in on her encouraging advice. (See? I can't get away from the word "encouragement" because that is exactly what this book is!)

I, for one, really loved Born to Be a Blessing. I needed a boost of morale at the time I sat down to read it and to have such cheerfulness emanating from the pages of this book did my heart and spirit a world of good.


abi said...

I have a surprise for you here

Sky said...

A boost sounds good. Every mom needs that, maybe even once a day!
There is nothing more important then raising your child, and yet it is highly unrecognized as a worthy career!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great book. I'll keep an eye out for it.

- Sara

Carrie said...

Abi - Thanks for the award!

Sky - Yup. No objections to receiving the DAILY encouragement. ;)

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