Introducing a new approach that swaps fear and guilt for grace and wisdom
In his new book Real World Parents: Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World, popular author and speaker Mark Matlock offers a perspective that directly contrasts the usual fear and guilt-based parenting programs that focus on shielding kids from the evils of the world and producing good behavior. Parents, he says, become fearful and controlling because they are listening to the wrong story—the world’s story. Real World Parents is about a fundamental shift in focus towards God’s epic, timeless story and His understanding of reality, which is unchanging, regardless of the world’s traps and trends.
What readers won’t find in the pages of Matlock’s book is a rigid program or magic formula for churning out good kids because Real World Parenting is not about what parents do. It’s about who they are.
“Many Christian parenting books focus on helping parents figure out how to raise well-behaved, well-mannered kids. And while that's an important element, not many focused on raising kids to have hearts that seek after Christ. The goal of parenting, in the long run, isn't for our kids to be known for how well behaved they are, but for how well they know and respond to God,” Matlock says. “Our behaviors are ultimately driven by our understanding of the way the world works, of what we believe to be true and false about the universe, of our perception of reality. How can we communicate God’s worldview to our kids? What story are we telling them about the universe, both intentionally and—more importantly—in the way we live with and for God over time?”
Matlock teaches a wisdom-based approach to passing God’s story on to young people and teaching them by example how to navigate the real world. Along the way, Real World Parents will discover:
• Why God likes us and is already happy with our families
• Surprising statistics about teen sex, drugs, and smoking that raise the question: are things really getting worse?
• The three most common parental responses to a scary world—and why they don’t work
• Why parents should teach their children how to “fail productively”
• What kids really need to become spiritually healthy—and how parents can provide those things
• How to evaluate media through the lens of God’s story
Just like the Real World Parents seminars, the book guides parents through the seven marks of a wise person, encouraging them to examine their definitions of success, their management of resources, the sources they turn to for wise counsel, and the health of their relationships. Matlock believes it is only through embracing and modeling God’s wisdom to their families that parents will create an environment that promotes the true spiritual growth of their children.
Real World Parents is, at the heart, a message of hope for families. “We wonder how God could ever look at our families in the shape they’re in and grin. And the problem is that as parents we sometimes forget that we’re also children, that our God is our Father, that he’s even more lovingly inclined to smile at us than we are to smile at our own kids. Our father likes us, and he forgives even our parenting shortcomings and our family failings,” Matlock says. “No matter how good or bad you think your family is God has plans for you that will unfold in the Real World. God will continue to move your family along in the journey he has in store for you. That’s what real world parenting is about—understanding that journey and communicating it to our kids.”
Zondervan/Youth Specialties March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-3106-6936-4/176 pages/softcover/$12.99