At a time when there is a renewed emphasis on the importance of Fathers, BETTER DADS, STRONGER SONS provides an excellent guide for anyone who would like to have a part in helping to build a generation of stronger young men. By following the Biblical principles and practical applications outlined here, parenting can become a more exciting and less formidable role for every man who is a father. While much of the material will not be new to those who have sought guidance in parenting, Rick Johnson presents it in a dynamic format that inspires follow-up.
His list of “The Top Ten Mistakes that Fathers Make” is enlightening. It includes not only the expected “Giving too little time” but also “Forgetting to have fun” and “Being complacent and passive.” Johnson covers many other topics that often are avoided or given the scripture treatment: i.e. the Bible says don’t do, so don’t do it. He discusses sex, respect, and the importance of showing love toward the boy’s mother.
Each chapter is filled with examples, inserted highlights and Biblical references, and is followed by several suggestions for reflection and application. Used as a guide, these are sure to trigger more ideas that a man could develop to meet his own situation. For example, in the chapter “Making a Noble Man,” one of the suggestions is to “Tell your son what you think makes a man. Ask him what character traits he thinks are manly.” A follow-up might be to rent several “guy” movies and discuss whether the heroes were manly or simply macho.
Rick Johnson not only has written a timely book, he also founded Better Dads, an organization dedicated to equipping men to be better fathers. He delivers training workshops to businesses, churches and schools. Like many in the field, the author lived his subject. He was raised in a chaotic home where he did not get the fathering he needed. As a result, he spent his early adulthood trying to fill that void with drugs, alcohol and looking for love in all the wrong places. His epiphany came with the birth of his first son, and with God’s help he has become devoted to forging a better path for future generations.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on May 1, 2006