I'm going to go ahead and guess that when you saw the title of the book for this review, you probably had thoughts a little similar to the ones I had when I was approached about it. Something to the effect of "clearly the authors are out of their minds" or a slightly more irritated "yeah, lets raise our kids to have a ridiculous sense of entitlement and to think they could and should just have everything their little hearts desire". Thankfully, you can breathe a little easier, because the title was not meant to be taken so literally, and the book was written simply to challenge readers to rethink how they live out the primary purpose of parenting.
In the book "Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids", authors Mark and Jan Foreman explore practical parenting concerns including how to nurture creativity in a media saturated culture and how to balance structure with individual choice. With one chapter written by Mark, the next written by Jan and so on, this book offers great insight on just how to raise those big picture kids, all while sharing personal real life experiences of their family.
I really appreciate that the Foremans used the format they did to write this book. Instead of coming across almost condescending, like some parenting advice can, the wisdom inside of "Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids" is shared in a way that is like reading the parenting diary of a good friend.
With reflective questions at the end of each chapter, this book serves not only as a good read, but also as a study guide that provides a way for the reader to incorporate what they want from the book into their family's life.
Some of the Questions Found in the Book
Based on the title (not the cover, so it's okay) I was not expecting too much from this book. I really thought it was just going to be filled with suggestions from well meaning parents on how to basically spoil your child rotten and then unleash them into the real world. I could not have been more wrong, and I was actually incredibly motivated to work on my own parenting style and make a conscience effort to be the kind of mom I really want to be, not the kind that tends to gravitate toward the word "no" just out of habit.
This is the Kind Of Parent I Want to Be
Even though I am not so new to the parenting life, I still find myself eager to soak up as much advice and wisdom from other parents as I can. Not every parenting tid-bit I've come across works for our family, but I have the feeling that "Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids" is one of the books I will be referring back to over the years.
A Great Reminder!
7 Ways to Say Yes To Your Kids
1.Yes to a Greater Story- Help kids see past themselves, connecting them to God's big picture of redemption. Beyond the obvious but small goals of safety, healthy, happiness, even success, we are raising children with this surpassing privilege: to reflect God's loving face to others.
2. Yes to Being an Example- Children are hard-wired to copy us; this is both good news and bad. The power of our lives is the most immediate way to shape our kids. Raising children includes raising ourselves to become who we want to be.
3. Yes to Time- Children spell love T-I-M-E. It's the currency of all relationships. Large deposits left early in lives will reap generous rewards later. It reverses Harry Chapin's song, Cat's In the Cradle.
4. Yes to Delight- Children see themselves through their parents' eyes, discovering their worth by reading our faces. Beyond loving our kids, it's equally vital to really like them, enjoying who they uniquely are. Children who bask in these smiles of appreciation will pay it forward to genuinely enjoying others and being comfortable in their own skin.
5. Yes to Mess- All children are Michelangelos looking for a canvas. They come equipped with curiosity and innovation as part of the image of God's package. This creativity grows best when we stretch their imaginations in a batteries-not-included environment, allowing them to explore and experiment.
6. Yes to Being Naturally Supernatural- Help kids find God in ordinary moments. The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-8 tells parents to look for God-clues throughout the day. We can communicate more theology in a family dance party or telling stories around a campfire than sitting stiffly for an hour.
7. Yes to Letting Go- Maturity happens in baby steps; from crawling to walking, training wheels to two wheels, dating to marriage. Three ingredients that work together are essential for this process: increased freedom, risk, and responsibility. As we lean into this gradual increase of our kids' freedom and (gasp) risk, we will hopefully see a corresponding growth in their response-ability. It's helpful to remember our destination: raising kids who say yes to God's extraordinary plans for their lives.
*Every parent, child, and family is a fascinating original, experiencing God's fingerprints in unique ways. So one final yes is to grace. As we imperfectly guide young humans to find their place in God's epic, we all need buckets of God's unearned love. Raising children is the most humbling and exhilarating privilege on Earth. Here's to saying YES!
Want It? Buy It!
Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids is a great book and would be a great addition to your library or an excellent baby shower gift. I prefer the paper-back copy, but you can also purchase the e-Book.
A Special Thank You to Rick Hoganson of Hoganson Media Relations for offering us the opportunity to review this great book and to Mark and Jan Foreman for writing it!