How to be a Hero to Your Kids

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I just finished reading an oldie but a goodie: How to be a Hero to Your Kids by Josh McDowell and Dick Day. This is one that that I remember on my Dad's book shelf. I probably would have stolen it from him if I had seen it recently, but I picked this one up from Edward McKay for like $3.

This is a great book and an easy read. It's definitely not the best "dad and family" book I've ever read but this one is extremely practical. Almost every chapter left me with some practical ideas on how to be a better dad. Probably the biggest take-away is the books discussion on rules vs. relationship. Your rules are only as good as your relationship. The mistake that many parents (in church life) make is being completely authoritarian: "These are the rules, and you WILL follow the rules, or else." Even at Journey, I recently heard a parent of a teenager say, "I'm not your friend; I'm your dad!" This dad has shifted too far to one side of the scale. Rules will only work as far as your relationship will carry them. Of course, as long as your kids are younger, you can continue to simply enforce rules. But when your kids are older, they will rebel against your authority. Teenagers and young adults want relationship. Those who are open to relationship with them will be the ones they allow to have influence in their lives. 

The other side of that scale is where many other parents fall. It's all about relationship and never about rules or authority. These parents are able to have influence in their kids lives, but no authority. The problem with this is that influence is only passive. The only control you have is through a kind of peer pressure. But peer pressure doesn't always work, especially when your kids are teenagers. Teenagers are developing minds of their own, and they are going to make their own decisions regardless of whatever influence  you are trying to have. Then when you try to enforce a rule, they reject it and still do whatever they want because they don't respect you as an authority figure in their lives. 

The goal, then, is to have the perfect balance between rules and relationship. Rules are necessary and good. But they will only work as far as your relationship will carry them.

It's a good book. At times, it's a little outdated, but still recommended.