Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Parenting, Gen X Style

I don’t always enjoy parenting books. It’s not that I think I’m above advice. The problem is that I either end each chapter drowning in guilt because I can’t make the author’s methods work in my imperfect household or I find myself questioning how much time the “expert” (typically a man) actually spent in the trenches of raising children.

Then my friend and fellow author Tricia Goyer wrote Generation Next Parenting: A Savvy Parent’s Guide to Getting it Right. Tricia isn’t a psychologist. She doesn’t have a national radio program or multiple degrees. Instead she writes as one parent to another, in a style that feels very much like talking over coffee with a friend who really gets it. Best of all, this is a book especially for those of us in Generation X—children of the ’70 and ’80 struggling to raise Godly kids in a rapidly changing and frantically paced world.

Tricia offers practical tips based on both her successes and her mistakes as a young mom. I got to know and love her family through her stories, seeing that, even in the craziness of life, God guides and teaches us. Scattered throughout the chapters you’ll find statistics, quizzes, fun and informative sidebars, song lyrics (from the ‘80s of course), study questions, and quotes from fellow Gen X parents (including two from me. Yay!). The content goes beyond the typical questions on how to discipline, assign chores, and deal with homework issues. In addition to great tips on family devotions, community service, and family time, she shares how she learned the benefits of things like Christian community, taming the tongue, dealing with issues from the past that affect us as parents, getting Dad involved, dealing with media, and so much more. Tricia addresses her readers not only as parents, but as individuals, trying hard to grow in faith, follow personal dreams, and get past those moments when we blow it, all while juggling piano lessons, overdue library books, and dentist appointments. The book even includes a study guide for groups, pairs or individuals hoping to dig a little deeper.

Generation Next Parenting is so true-to-life and upbeat that I kept forgetting that I was receiving advice. I set it down encouraged that I didn’t need to become a perfect mom overnight in order to be a good mom. Parenting, like life and faith, is a journey. Tricia’s words reminded me that it’s also a pretty amazing one!

For more on Tricia Goyer, her other books (she has several wonderful novels in print too), or a sample of what you’ll find in Generation Next Parenting, visit:

And check out what Tricia has to say here!

Q: Why Gen X?

A: More than 44 million Generation Xers live in the United States today. This group is bound to have a strong influence, not only on society as a whole, but more specifically, on the next generation—our children. There’s no denying that the world is a vastly different place from the one we grew up in, and we are faced with a whole new set of parenting challenges our predecessors could never have fathomed. But Gen Xers have proven we have the passion and drive to excel in childrearing. This book is to help with that.

Q: How are Gen Xers different?

A: As a Gen Xer who graduated from high school in 1989, the way I parent is unique from the generations who’ve gone before me. Personally, I want to do it all—find God’s purpose in my life, impact my community, support my spouse, and provide my children every opportunity available to them. My generation is serious about parenting—just look at all we expect from our children and ourselves!

Q: If you could tell people in two sentences what this book is about, what would you say?

A: This book offers solutions to our unique questions and confirms that we can ‘parent right’—even if it looks nothing like the way our own parents did it. More importantly, this book focuses on seeking God’s Word and wisdom for answers to growing a new generation of God-seekers.

Q: Can you give me a hint of why Gen Xers raise their kids differently than their parents?

A: There are plenty of reasons Gen Xers turned out the way we did. Here are some biggies:
• More of our moms entered the workforce.
• More of our parents divorced.
• Either we were sexually promiscuous or we had friends who were.
• When it came to drugs and alcohol, it was pretty easy to get our hands on them.
• We don’t remember prayer as a part of school.
• We do remember every episode of The Cosby Show, and oftentimes we related more to that family than our own.
• We remember the first video we saw on MTV, and musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Tiffany, and Billy Idol were our, uh, idols.

Of course, I could go on, but this book wasn’t written just to reminisce about “the good ol’ days.” It’s about understanding who we are as a generation and why we became the parents we are today. More than that, it’s about taking our good qualities…and discovering how to parent better, for God’s glory.


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