Parenting the Wholehearted Child: Captivating Your Child's Heart with God's Extravagant Grace
Author Jeannie Cunnion holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is also a speaker, writer and counselor who specializes in parenting and adoption issues. As the mom of three boys, her parenting resource, PARENTING THE WHOLEHEARTED CHILD, is part autobiographical, part practical how to be a terrific mom or dad. Cunnion’s style is warm and cozy, and that alone helps parents feel genuinely “at home” as they peruse this handbook on learning to capture their children’s’ hearts and thus direct their lives in the most positive ways possible.
Cunnion has divided this handy and oh-so-helpful resource into four parts. Each section focuses on specific areas where moms and dads can learn for themselves more about how they parent or how to gently engage their children in ways that will help them grow into mature, other-oriented adults. Part 1, “Imperfect Parents, Perfect Grace,” will offer parents the biblical foundation for the rest of the book by underscoring how essential grace is to the parenting role. This first segment also helps moms and dads recapture the depth of God’s love and grace that He has for them as parents attempting to raise children in the likeness of Jesus.
"Cunnion’s style is warm and cozy, and that alone helps parents feel genuinely 'at home' as they peruse this handbook on learning to capture their children’s’ hearts and thus direct their lives in the most positive ways possible."
The author continues in Part 2, “Experiencing a Vibrant Friendship with Jesus,” by sharing ways moms and dads can create a home where they all experience Jesus through prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memorization, worship and community, and service to others. Part 3, “Growing in Christlike Character,” focuses on developing the fruits of the Spirit --- namely, the fruit of grace, respect, self-control, kindness, thankfulness, peacemaking, honesty, and living life in and through Him. Rounding out her text, Cunnion discusses in Part 4, “Leading with Love Unconditional,” the specifics to parenting by understanding these disciplines and how they frame and form a child’s heart and life. Parents will get a primer on authority and obedience; training and instruction; discipline and correction; and repentance and forgiveness.
Throughout this lively, composed text, Cunnion openly shares numerous stories of parenting her own three sons. She is quite candid about her mistakes and mess-ups, as well as telling readers what she learned from failing. One of the most striking statements she makes is that too many Christian parents aim for perfection, and this never-win mindset can render them paralyzed because every mom and dad fails. Perfection is never possible on planet Earth, but persistence, patience, and an attitude of stick-to-itiveness will help parents stay on track when they feel undone and disappointed in their abilities to parent “perfectly.”
Cunnion offers so much great advice that some readers might feel a tad overwhelmed on where to start. Thankfully, she anticipated such a response and has included a “How to Get Started” plan in the Epilogue. Here, she suggests that parents identify their starting place; help the children develop a trusting relationship with Jesus; choose a family Bible verse/virtues; involve children in the discussion; lead with love unconditional; and surrender all to the Lord who loves the children more deeply, rightly and fully than any earthly parent.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on April 27, 2014