January 14, 2014

Everyday Talk, by John A. Younts

Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God with Your Children is a book all about conversations and how what we say as a parent is important.  John A. Younts provides biblical basis and practical ways to help parents bring God into everyday conversations.   I had been looking forward to reading Everyday Talk because how and what we say to our children does impact them.  I thank Shepherd Press for sending this copy for review purposes.

My biggest takeaway is that how I talk to my children is just as important as what I say.  (Yes, I know this should be common sense...)  It seems that the words from my mouth are often instructive or corrective; worse, they are often spoken in frustration.  Overall, Younts provides practical parenting advice
with Jesus at its core.
An important question Younts brings up is, "What do your children think the gospel is?"  Do our children think they must be good for us to like and love them?  My everyday talk should center on grace, not performance.  (I know this is one of my biggest struggles.  I need to reread that chapter now...)

Proverbs 16:21 does not only suggest, but states that pleasant words promote instruction.
"Think about the last confrontation that you had with your children about obedience.  Was the problem that you spoke pleasantly, clearly, specifically to your children?  Or was the problem that there was frustration, anger and harsh language from both you and your children?" ~ p. 52
Younts wisely suggests that we, as parents, need to be prepared with a response when our children sin (and when anyone deliberately sins against us).  Because they will sin.  Even deliberately.  God desires us to be holy, even when we are hurting.  Our words are to build up our children, not just in a special-event style, but through our everyday talk.  We need to be helpful.  God wants us to listen actively and speak with pleasant words.

We need to remember that we are on display.  Our conversations and attitudes with our spouses, friends, and family are all portraying something (and don't forget social media...).  It is up to us to choose self-control.  The following paragraph was in the context of swearing, but I think it is much bigger than that. Younts goes on to say that it is dangerous to define sin as a list of inappropriate words.  Paul condemns a broader range of sins than just swearing in Ephesians 5:4.
"People fall into Satan's trap of giving themselves 'permission' to sin to compensate for the difficulties and trials they've had to bear.  Self-pity is a direct rejection of God's control.  It is saying, 'I don't like what you've done in my life, and I absolutely will not be content!  I can't change it, so I'll just be angry and miserable.'" ~ p. 140
Instead of yelling at the world or having a pity party, we are to respond with gratitude.  Not for each trial that we face, but in each of these tough times.  (And yes, I've had a few.)
"If your everyday talk is ungrateful and complaining, you are, in effect, swearing, even if you don't use swear words.  The impact on your children will be the same.  If, on the other hand, your everyday talk expresses gratitude and acceptance for God's Providence, you will have no need for the kind of language described in Ephesians 5:4.  Both your words and your attitudes will honor God, not defy Him." ~ p. 142
I really appreciated Everyday Talk and anticipate rereading it again in the future, as well as loaning it to friends to read.   This is an easy-to-read (though convicting for me) parenting book.  I actually read most of the book while sitting at the bus stop.  Passages, and even chapters, are short enough that it worked out well.  Some of this is common sense, though I must say, much of it I didn't really think enough about until reading the book.  Highly recommend for parents!

Thank you, Shepherd Press (a great resource for Christian parents) for providing this book for review purposes.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
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3 comments:

  1. This DOES sound like a great book! I'll keep it on my radar....

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  2. I actually found this book at the thrift store the other day!!! I bought it along with "Teaching Your Child How To Pray" and "Gotta Have God- Cool Devotions For Boys". Excited to read them all!

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  3. Wow! I need to add this to my reading this year! The "pity party" part really steps on my toes.

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