Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving Workbook

Overview

Parents often find themselves suspended between snowcapped mountains of exhilaration and craggy chasms of desperation.

To be sure, parenting these days is a white-knuckle adventure―a scary roller coaster ride we only hope we can survive. Is there any hope at all that we can actually thrive as parents?

What an awesome privilege we have been given! What an opportunity to grow deeper in our relationship with our heavenly Father! Such privilege and...

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Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving Workbook

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Overview

Parents often find themselves suspended between snowcapped mountains of exhilaration and craggy chasms of desperation.

To be sure, parenting these days is a white-knuckle adventure―a scary roller coaster ride we only hope we can survive. Is there any hope at all that we can actually thrive as parents?

What an awesome privilege we have been given! What an opportunity to grow deeper in our relationship with our heavenly Father! Such privilege and opportunity certainly demand more of us than we can give. We need help. Fortunately, help has arrived! Based on beloved pastor and teacher Chuch Swindoll's Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving, this workbook explores God's divine plan for successful families.

This inductive Bible study workbook will help you discover:

  • The best-kept secret of wise parenting.
  • Why kids move from resentment to rebellion.
  • How to restore relationships after you've blown it.
  • Parents' secret struggles and how to cope with them.

Whether you're doing these studies alone, with your family, or as part of a group, this workbook will equip you with Scripture-based tools to help transform your relationship with your children from a struggle to survive into a lifelong love that thrives.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418514129
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/5/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 979,113
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as senior pastor to congregations in Texas, Massachusetts, and California. Since 1998, he has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt

Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving Workbook


By Charles R. Swindoll

W Publishing Group

Copyright © 2007 Charles R. Swindoll
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-41851-412-9


Chapter One

Lesson One

The Best-Kept Secret of Wise Parenting - Proverbs 22:6; 20:11 -

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

The popular interpretation of "Train up a child in the way he should go" fails to appreciate the rich, practical childrearing advice the verse contains. It doesn't mean parents dictate the correct way, but rather that they observe the child in order to discover his or her unique abilities, temperament, and interests. Then parents should adapt their training to help the child know and become his or her authentic self.

To prepare for this lesson, read Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 20:11; and chapter 1 in Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving.

YOU ARE HERE

Perhaps one of the greatest errors we can make when it comes to childrearing is to train our children exactly as we were trained. After all, our children are different people than we are, having their own unique temperaments, talents, interests, and styles. Furthermore, our parents were not perfect, so some of their methods were most certainly flawed. They did some things well and other things poorly.

Rather than blindly duplicate our parents' methods, we can learn good parenting skills by carefully reflecting upon how we were reared, allowing the best and worst of our experiences to shape how we train our own children. Our purpose is not to condemn our parents, but to leave behind what didn't work well and to build upon what did. Use the following questions and exercises to examine your upbringing.

As you consider your best qualities and strongest attributes, what was your parents' greatest positive contribution to your becoming who you are?

Whom do you consider to have had the greatest positive influence on you during childhood?

Describe how he or she related to you and how that shaped your view of yourself and the world.

In your childhood experience, which quality or pattern of childrearing do you consider to have been the most detrimental to your view of yourself and to your ability to be a successful adult?

Which of these statements do you think is most true of your parents?

My parents were evil people who were deliberately negligent or unkind. My parents wanted the best for me, but they were too broken and ill-equipped to know how to provide much that was positive. My parents did, on the whole, a very good job rearing me but made some significant mistakes that affect me today. My parents were the very best, and any failures on their part were so minor that they have had little negative impact on me.

How well do you think your parents did at helping you to discover who you are? In what ways did they help you?

In what ways did your parents hinder you or fail to help you from becoming who God made you to be?

What do you wish your parents had done differently?

Describe how your parents' childrearing methods have influenced yours.

DISCOVERING THE WAY

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

This proverb on childrearing has long been taught with a perplexing interpretation that goes something like this: "Rear your children as moral, upright, God-fearing, churchgoing kids. Be sure they carry a Bible to church, attend lots of Sunday school classes, and attend Christian summer camps. Enforce your rules and regulations with consistency. Make sure they learn the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and several key verses of Scripture. Teach them to pray, and be sure they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. After all, they're eventually going to sow their wild oats. They'll live in rebellion for a while, then, once they've tired of their fling with the wild side of life, they'll eventually come back to the Lord ... but only if you raised them right!"

This standard interpretation is not helpful, it's not very hopeful, and it is not an accurate understanding of the rich, picturesque language of the original Hebrew. If we take the time to study the terms and how they are put together in this proverb, we will discover a very refreshing, sensible approach to childrearing that offers both hope and practical guidance.

PROVERBS 22:6 ... THE RIGHT WAY

Proverbs 22:6 contains only eight Hebrew words, each one packing a wealth of illustration and cultural analogy. Let's study each term in detail.

"Train up ..."

The Hebrew word hanakh means "to dedicate, or consecrate." It's used only four times in the Old Testament: three times in reference to dedicating a building and once of a child, here. In several Semitic languages, it stems from a term meaning "palate, roof of mouth, jaws, lower part of mouth, lower jaw of horse, mouth, etc." An Arabic verb, a very close cousin to hanakh, pictures the custom of a midwife dipping her finger into crushed dates in order to massage the palate and gums of a newborn. This encouraged the baby's sucking instinct so that nursing could begin as soon as possible. The term in languages similar to Hebrew also means "make experienced, submissive, etc. (as one does a horse by a rope in its mouth)."

So in this single Hebrew term translated "train up," we have the mingled ideas of "dedicate," "mouth," and "make experienced." Also included is the picture of a horse's bridle, which subdues the horse for the purpose of directing its natural energies.

"... a child ..."

In each of the following verses, the Hebrew word na'ar refers to a child. Note the considerable variety of ages of the people.

Verse Approximate Age 1 Samuel 4:21 A newborn baby Exodus 2:6 A three-month-old 1 Samuel 1:22 An infant 1 Samuel 3:1 A young boy Genesis 21:12 A 14-year-old Genesis 37:2 A 17-year-old Genesis 34:19 A young man of marriageable age

"... in the way he should go ..."

The whole meaning of the verse turns on this phrase! Many parents emphasize the word should, reading, "in the way he should go," which they consider to mean their way. However, the literal Hebrew reads, "in accordance with his way" (the child's), or even more literally, "upon the mouth of his way." (There's "mouth" again, forming a wordplay with hanakh.)

The word translated "way" in this verse is derek, which means either "road" in the literal sense, or "characteristic manner" in the figurative. For instance, notice how the word is used in Proverbs 30:18-19:

There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. (emphasis added)

Each child has a "way," a characteristic manner that distinguishes him or her from all other children, including brothers and sisters. We receive each child from the hand of God, not as a malleable lump of clay to be molded in whatever way we see fit but as a unique, distinctive person with a destiny. We are to honor God's creation of this one-of-a-kind individual by adapting our training to his or her way.

"... when he is old ..."

The Hebrew word translated "old" in Proverbs 22:6 finds inspiration in the image "hair on the chin." The first wisps of hair growing on the chin of a young man show that manhood is not far away. Here the idea of "old" doesn't mean "one foot in the grave"; it means "when he is mature." Hair begins to appear on the face of a young man at about the age of fifteen or sixteen, and we can expect the age of maturity for young women to correspond. In other words, parents should see the positive results of training the young person begins to exercise his or her independence as an adult.

"... will not depart from it"

The Hebrew word translated "depart" means "to turn aside." When a parent helps a child know herself and follow a path, or "way," consistent with her talents, her interests, and her temperament, the child finds herself walking in harmony with God's plan for her. She has no need to rebel. Her contentment keeps her sensitive to the Lord's leading. Why, then, would she want to depart from the way?

We have seen that these few Hebrew words of Proverbs 22:6 are packed with insight. To summarize, a contemporary paraphrase of this verse in New Testament times would look like this:

Cultivate a thirst, initiate a hunger, create an appetite for spiritual things in the life of a child of any age, as long as he or she is living under your roof, and do it in keeping with the way he or she is made-disciplining evil while affirming and encouraging the good, the artistic, the beautiful.

When the child begins to walk alone, his or her path will be aimed directly toward the Savior, and he or she will continue to walk in God's sovereignty.

STARTING YOUR JOURNEY

Based on our study of Proverbs 22:6, the best-kept secret of wise parenting can be stated this way:

The job of a parent is to help his or her children come to know themselves, grow to like themselves, and find satisfaction in being themselves.

Proverbs 20:11-12 says, "Even a young man is known by his actions, whether his activity is pure and whether it is right. The ear that hears and the eye that sees-the Lord has made them both" (NET). Your child longs to be known intimately by you, and he or she constantly drops clues for you to notice. If we are to adapt our parental training in order to cooperate with God's design of each of our children, we must first know them. And that comes by careful observation, over time.

Given what you have observed about your child, what nonphysical trait stands out the most to you? This could be a talent, a temperament, an interest, a habit, a way of interacting with the world-anything.

How is this trait positive? How can your child use it constructively?

How is this trait negative? How can it have a negative impact on your child?

How might your child use this trait to serve the Lord and benefit others when he or she becomes an adult?

How does this trait challenge you as a parent?

How can you adapt your training to accommodate your child's "way"?

How is the child different from you? From your spouse?

How might your parenting techniques vary from that of your parents in light of these differences?

What vocations would you imagine to be well suited for your child?

How will you react when your child's interest in something fizzles? What if he or she fails?

Do you allow for differences among your children, even celebrate them, without comparing?

* * *

When you help your children know themselves, like themselves, and be themselves, the path that God has prepared for them will become self-evident. His ordained path will be a natural fit for the people they grow to become. As you adapt your childrearing to cooperate with your child's temperament, interests ,and abilities, you will likely find that he or she will have no desire to depart from the path-vocational and spiritual-that you help him or her discover.

Leader Help

By the end of this lesson, group members should know the meaning behind the key words and phrases of Proverbs 22:6, understand the primary responsibility of parents, resolve to observe their children, and adapt their training methods accordingly.

* * *

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Leader Help

The purpose of this exercise is to help mothers and fathers be open to the idea that they can be the parents they wish theirs had been. Using a dry-erase board or a poster board, have the group identify the qualities of an ideal parent. Many of the suggested qualities will be prompted by a significant personal story. Encourage group members to share stories and to explain why the particular quality has such meaning.

* * *

On the whole, I had a healthy, happy childhood. Nevertheless, every home has its challenges ... I never felt wanted or respected by either of my parents ... not deeply. I can't remember many times when I was affirmed by them. And I honestly don't think that they ever really knew who I was, which left them ill-equipped to help me know myself. -Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving

* * *

Hebrew is a language of artists and poets. Almost every word has a metaphorical connection to something in the experience of these people. Hebrew poetry, especially, uses allusion and word pictures that convey meaning by analogy, so that a rich tableau of cultural associations stands behind even the simplest sentences. -Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving

Leader Help

After briefly describing each term or phrase, have the men form one group and the women form another. Ask each group to prepare a word picture or a drawing that reflects the Hebrew idea of "train up" using contemporary culture and images. Then have each group present its illustration to the other. Encourage the groups to discuss, critique, and refine the images.

Leader Help

Ask a volunteer to read Proverbs 30:18-19 aloud. Then spend some time discussing how the word "way" is used in each illustration. Does it mean "road," "characteristic manner," or both?

Leader Help

Each child is different from his or her parents and from other siblings. Encourage group members to answer these questions about each of their children. Ask participants to share selected insights during group time to ensure that everyone has a chance to share.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving Workbook by Charles R. Swindoll Copyright © 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

A Letter from Chuck....................xi
How to Use This Workbook....................xiii
Special Workbook Features....................xvii
Lesson One The Best-Kept Secret of Wise Parenting....................1
Lesson Two Understanding How Your Child Was Made....................13
Lesson Three Establishing a Life of Self-Control....................27
Lesson Four Cultivating a Life of Self-Worth....................41
Lesson Five Secret Struggles ... Family Troubles....................57
Lesson Six From Resentment to Rebellion....................73
Lesson Seven Affirming and Encouraging Words to Parents....................85
Lesson Eight Confronting the "Older Brother Attitudes"....................101
Lesson Nine Increasing the Priority of Your Family....................115
Lesson Ten: Restoring Relationships After You've Blown It....................131
Lesson Eleven: When God's Gift Comes Specially Wrapped....................147
Lesson Twelve: Final Words to Families Then and Now....................159
How to Begin a Relationship with God....................177
Notes....................181
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