Monday, January 4, 2010

Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna

The cover art and title of this book would make you think that it is somewhat of a sequel to his book, Revolution. But it isn't. It is actually more of a sequel to his book, Think Like Jesus. I think that he just used the titling and cover art (as he did with Pagan Christianity) because the book, Revolution, was groundbreaking and controversial and therefore, popular.

If you'll remember, Think Like Jesus (which I reviewed way back when) used short tests amidst his polls to measure whether people were actual Christians or not - not just whether they gave lip-service to the label of "Christian". Obviously, such a test is practically impossible to give credence to, but it still enables one to sift a bit of the garbage away, so to speak.

Barna, then went further and gave people a slightly longer test to determine whether they had a Biblical worldview or not. He went on to say that those people with a solid Biblical worldview lived lives that were vastly different from those who did not have a Biblical worldview - despite whether or not they claimed to be a Christian.

In Revolutionary Parenting, Barna takes this idea a step further and polls children, teenagers and young adults (20 somethings). He determines which of these children/teens/young adults has a Biblical worldview and then tries to find common threads among the familial culture in which they were raised.

Once again, using his research, Barna is quick to point out that he is only the messenger, and that some of his findings are counter-cultural. This would be where this book ties in with Revolution - as he finds that "parenting that produces spiritual champions is often with little or no help from the Church."

Some of his findings:

  • The lion share of responsibility for raising children falls upon parents, not churches, schools, or daycare workers - no matter how much time children spend in these institutions. The more time parents spend with their children, the more success they have in spiritually shaping them.

  • Parents who put the emphasis on character development rather than academics, sports, arts, or other distractions have the most success.

  • Single parent homes are screwed. Seriously. As he puts it, the research simply shows that if you are a single parent, you are screwed.

  • One-income families are profoundly more successful at raising spiritual champions, despite its counter-cultural position. He says that families that bite the bullet and figure out how to leave one parent at home have a huge statistical advantage - like it or not.

  • Parents who use strong disciplinary measures - strict adherence to threatened punishments, curfews, etc. - have a big advantage despite the counter cultural trends.

  • Parents who pray together (outside of mealtime grace), study the Bible together, and engage in Spiritual discussion together have the major advantage over parents who rely on the Church and Youth Groups to cover this ground.

  • For the 20 odd-years that you are a parent to a child, this responsibility should be your primary responsibility. Not second or third to anything or anyone else.

Basically, the wishy-washy mediocre so-called "Christians" that were outed in Think Like Jesus are breeding and raising wishy-washy mediocre so-called Christians in the next generation.


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