Today’s post is from my good friend Brandon Donaldson. Brandon and I worked together at LifeChurch.tv for several years and it was there that I saw Brandon’s deep passion for his children.
Brandon, I absolutely love this post!! And thank you for writing today and please know that Team Sprad has much respect for your family and your commitment to parenting!
Can you imagine if the U.S. Constitution was the work of just one mind? Can you imagine the Chicago Bulls from the 90’s winning even one NBA championship with Michael Jordan alone? These things were meant to be done with others. Parenting is no different. Too many times we beat ourselves up for not having all the answers as parents, but the truth is, we were never meant to. There are so many great men and women of God in our lives that have different experiences, strengths, and perspective that could be a great resource for us as we raise our kids. I love the scripture in Proverbs 22:6 that starts by saying, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” The phrase “the way” literally means “his way.” As parents our job is to help our children find their bent, their specific way, their unique design from God. To help our kids discover their way, we need to expose them to more than our limited perspective. Don’t misunderstand, my role as father to my children can not be duplicated by anyone else, but I know that some of the greatest insight and growth in my life has come through other leaders that I have met in person or learned from in great books. What if we set this up for our kids on purpose?
Here are a couple of my favorite practical ideas, which I have gleaned from other great men, Tim Elmore and Greg Gunn, that I am using to bring a broader perspective to my children. The first idea is creating a book list for my kids to read in their 12th year, which I believe will help bring my kids important insight as they are growing into true men and women of God. Here is the first book list I have put together for my soon-to-be 12 year old boy, Merrick:
- Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations – Alex & Brett Harris
- Habitudes – Tim Elmore
- Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
- Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens – Sean Covey
- I Kissed Dating Goodbye – Joshua Harris
- The Teen’s Guide to World Domination: Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Awesomeness – Josh Shipp
- The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino
- Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World – Joshua Harris
- The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens – Sean Covey
- Take Your Best Shot – Austin Gutwein
- Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are – Alex & Brett Harris
Second, Christi and I are putting together a list of 8-10 men (or women for my girls) with great character and different life and work experiences who could spend a day or 1/2 day with our kids when they are 13. This will allow other great people to speak into the lives of our kids and share about their work, their life experiences, their important life-lessons learned, and their thoughts of what it takes to be a man or woman.
It is our job to train up our children in their specific way, but that does not mean we have to have all the answers or do it alone. God never intended that. I think the wisdom in Proverbs 15:22 can be a good principle to remember as we parent: “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”
What are some ways you are giving your kids perspective and experiences outside of your own?