Although the information in RAISING KIDS FOR TRUE GREATNESS may seem like familiar advice, the tried and true ideas Dr. Tim Kimmel espouses here will be a good refresher course for anyone in the throes of parenting.
Kimmel, a veteran parenting book author (50 WAYS TO LOVE YOUR KIDS, GRACE-BASED PARENTING) urges parents to let go of the emphasis on their kids' popularity, possessions and SAT scores, and focus on their character. "I'm not saying there's anything inherently unbiblical or evil about getting a good education, making a nice living, and being well known," writes Kimmel. "These things are fine additions to an adult life --- but they shouldn't be the primary goals we set for our children. That's because man-made success has little to do with true greatness."
The key to true greatness is helping your kids find answers to three big questions: Who will they marry? What is their purpose or mission? Who is their master? Using personal anecdotes and illustrations from scripture and contemporary culture, Kimmel fleshes out his ideas for helping your child become abundant thinkers (who get joy out of using what they have to bring out the best in others) and learning to develop a servant attitude. All part of achieving true greatness!
Artificial success will eventually be hollow for your children, Kimmel warns. True greatness doesn't have to do with accomplishments or accoutrements. Fame is only an attractive substitute. Power, health and beauty are all fleeting. Although there is nothing wrong with making a good living, wealth by itself is just money. "We must be careful to avoid equating wealth with greatness," writes Kimmel. "They are not the same."
Raising kids is not just about them; it's also about what we model for them, Kimmel believes. "Moms and dads who decide to embody greatness are all a child really requires," he writes. With this in mind, interspersed throughout the book are special pages with tips specifically for parents and for kids on ways to be a good teammate, friend, family member and classmate; helping your kids get the most out of organized sports; and putting God first. This is practical information. "Be involved in church." "Never whine or complain." "Encourage your children to respect and obey the coach." Although these ideas may seem like things you've heard before, it's nice to have them organized and easily accessible in one spot. Parents may want to copy these pages and put them on the refrigerator as a reminder, or use them as springboards for discussion during a family devotional time.
Once in a while, Kimmel oversimplifies, as when he writes for parents in bad marriages. "He can redeem your marriage from the unfortunate years that might have gone before." This may feel pat to those in abusive situations. However, his enthusiasm is contagious: "Love big! Work hard! Forgive gladly! Repent quickly! Encourage graciously! Speak humbly! Play enthusiastically! Think abundantly!"
The more we instill a sense of true greatness into our children, the more likely their practical, day-to-day lives will fall into place, Kimmel writes compellingly. If our kids are going to aim at something, why not help them aim high? This book will encourage parents to keep focused on what really counts, and help them prioritize what is important to instill in their kids.
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby on April 1, 2008