You'Ve Got To Be Kidding!

( 1 )


Kid-Tested (and Tested, and Tested…) Guidance for Parents in the Trenches.
The Inside Track to Raising Kids.

Most of us find raising one, two…or maybe three or four children to be challenging enough. The idea of parenting a half dozen seems almost crazy, and more children than that–impossible. But Pat and Ruth Williams have together raised (and are continuing to raise) nineteen kids. More importantly, they’ve...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $1.99   
  • Used (11) from $1.99   
You've Got to Be Kidding!: Real-life parenting advise from a mom and dad of nineteen

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99 price


Kid-Tested (and Tested, and Tested…) Guidance for Parents in the Trenches.
The Inside Track to Raising Kids.

Most of us find raising one, two…or maybe three or four children to be challenging enough. The idea of parenting a half dozen seems almost crazy, and more children than that–impossible. But Pat and Ruth Williams have together raised (and are continuing to raise) nineteen kids. More importantly, they’ve not just survived the process–they’ve loved it!

What do they know that the rest of us don’t? What does it take to make a family of any size not only work, but thrive? After bringing up nineteen kids–as biological parents, adoptive parents, single parents, and step-parents–Pat and Ruth Williams have gained a volume of insights and experience that will enrich your home, strengthen your family, and help you be the parent you want to be. Inside you’ll find counsel that really works–whether you’re raising one child, one dozen (or more), or any number in between.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I’m a parent of six. At times it seemed impossible! But nineteen? Incredible! Yet through such an enormous responsibility comes life lessons for us all. Wow! I mean, oh my!”
–DICK ENBERG, sports broadcaster

“This is the most wonderful guide for raising happy, healthy, self-confident children ever written! It will transform you, your children, and your home.”
–BRIAN TRACY, motivational speaker and best-selling author

You’ve Got to Be Kidding! is down to earth, full of biblical wisdom, and touches all the bases! Parents are in for a great read and will be greatly helped in raising their kids for God.”
–JIM CYMBALA, pastor, Brooklyn Tabernacle Church

“This is more than a book–let’s call it an incredible guide for living, whether you’re a parent or not. Thank you, Pat and Ruth, for setting this high standard for all of us.”
–CHRIS SCHENKEL, Hall of Fame sportscaster

“Pat and Ruth Williams are real and relevant as they share the delightful pleasures and the painful realities of raising nineteen children from various cultures within their own blended family. With the application of God’s Word and prayer, they have magnificently and responsibly accepted all the challenges. Their story will enrich your own efforts through the marathons of life.”
–CYNTHIA SWINDOLL, president and CEO, Insight for Living

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578567034
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/22/2004
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Pat Williams is senior vice-president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, one of America’s top motivational speakers, the host of a weekly sports radio show, and the author of over thirty books, including Go for the Magic. Ruth Williams is a consultant with FranklinCovey Company and the co-author of How to be Like Women of Influence. Together, they are the parents of nineteen children, including fourteen adopted from four nations. The Williams family has been featured on all major television networks, the “Focus on the Family” radio broadcast, and in numerous publications including Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, Family Circle, and The Wall Street Journal.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


No–we’re not kidding!

We have nineteen children.

That’s right. Nineteen.

You should see mouths fall open and pupils dilate when we drop that bombshell on unsuspecting new acquaintances.

It happens every so often at a dinner party or other social gathering where we’ve just met someone for the first time. After we’ve chatted about the weather, the Orlando Magic’s latest game, our jobs, or current events, the conversation almost always gets around to children.

“So…how many children do you have?”

We try to be as nonchalant as possible.


“Pardon me? I don’t think I got that.”

“I said nineteen.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!”

Pat will often add, “I have parented nonstop, day-by-day, for thirty-two straight years and gone to Little League baseball games for twenty-one years without a single year off!”

At this point in the conversation, we’ve experienced a number of interesting reactions. Some people slap their ear with the palm of their hand as if there must be something wrong with their hearing. Others have sprayed us with a mouthful of whatever they happened to be drinking at the moment. But most people just say something like: “Good heavens! Why?”

The best answer we can give is, This is what God wanted for us.

“You’re joking…right?”

Nope! Having nineteen children is no laughing matter.

“Did you plan on having nineteen kids?”

Of course not. Nobody would plan on having that many children!

“Are you two crazy?”

Crazy, no. Stressed and frazzled sometimes, you bet. Someone has said that having three or more children is like having a bowling alley in your brain. You can just imagine what things are like in our brains!

This is when the challenge comes: “What are your children’s names?”

The person who asks this question always has a look on his or her face that says, “I bet you can’t do it.” But we can–and usually without even stopping to try to remember whom we’ve left out!

There are Jimmy, Bobby, Karyn and Stephanie, Sarah, Andrea and Michael, Thomas, Stephen and David. Then there’s Peter, Brian, Sammy, Gabriela and Katarina, followed by Daniela, Richard, Caroline and Alan.

That’s a final score–so far–of eleven boys and eight girls! At this point, after our new acquaintance’s initial shock has worn off, we’re always asked, “What’s it like?”

Well, it ain’t the Brady Bunch!

It’s wild, it’s crazy, it’s frenetic, it’s a never-ending stream of soccer, swim meets, tennis, volleyball, football, cheerleading, basketball, church youth groups, homework, skinned knees, broken hearts, carpools, runny noses, trips to the dentist, doctor visits, braces, parent-teacher conferences, and… Well, you get the picture.
With nineteen kids, we celebrate lots of birthdays. (Seven in the month of July alone.) And with all nineteen of our kids growing rapidly, we’ve had to shop for clothes about as often as most families shop for groceries. Thank goodness Ruth works for the FranklinCovey organization, where she spends a lot of her time teaching and coaching business executives how to get their lives organized. We have called upon every bit of her expertise to keep things running smoothly in the Williams household.

Still, having nineteen kids around the house means that every day is a college-level course in parenting. The things we’ve learned about parenting could fill a book–and this is the book!

Are we qualified to write such a book? Well…

• We know what it takes to parent children who are born to you.
• We know about raising adopted kids, including girls and boys from other cultures and ethnicities.
• We know the particulars of raising stepkids and dealing with the special problems that arise from trying to blend families.
• We even know what it’s like to be a single parent.

We know all of this from direct personal experience: Pat has fathered four children, welcomed another fourteen kids into his family through adoption, and gained another daughter through his marriage to Ruth in 1997.

Ruth spent years as a single mother. Then, through marriage to Pat, she jumped feetfirst into his “family circus”–despite the incredulous reaction of some friends who warned her, “You’d better take some time to think about what you’re getting yourself into.” After doing what her friends suggested, she decided that the poet was right and that love would indeed conquer all. She married Pat, became a mother to an additional eighteen children of various ages, and has never looked back.

Now, having nineteen kids is no day at the beach. In other words, it’s not easy. Ours is not a “television-family,” where everything is tied up in neat little packages at the end of every episode. A couple of years ago, we had sixteen teenagers all at once. Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a house with teenage hormones bouncing off the floors, walls, and ceiling? It was like living in the middle of a hurricane!

Raising these children to be respectable, responsible adults has been the hardest thing either one of us has ever had to do. When you’ve parented nineteen kids, you’ve seen it all–every conceivable problem and pitfall of every age group, from the tiniest infant in her cradle to the much-taller-than-you young man heading off to find his own way in the world. But at the risk of sounding trite, we have to tell you that it has also been the most rewarding experience of our lives.

Every Child Is a Miracle

The Bible says in Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD” (NASB). And so they are, even though that may be hard to remember when the school principal calls you for the third time in two weeks and asks, “Can you come in for a conference? We need to talk–again!

Because you’re reading this book, we’re assuming that you, too, know the joys and pains associated with parenting. If so, think back to the first time you saw that little girl or boy who is “bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh.” Or think back to when the person at the orphanage placed that little hand in yours and said, “You can take him home now. He’s all yours.” Like us, you probably dreamed about what that tiny little guy would become when he grew up.

Like most parents, you have made plans for the new arrival; sacrificed your own needs and wants; saved money (or tried to) for things like college and weddings even though they may seem to be as far into the future as Star Trek.

As parents, we teach, we laugh, we cry–and we get down on our knees and pray, pray, pray that we do and say things the right way so that our precious little bundle will grow up to be a happy, contributing, successful, and independent human being.

Sometimes our children actually live up to our dreams and expectations. And, sadly, sometimes they don’t. As parents, we have experienced the ultimate highs with the children who do it right and the devastating lows with the children who don’t.

The things we’ve learned in the trenches are distilled into this book. But we’d be misleading you if we tried to tell you this is an “advice book.” If there is one thing that stands out in what we have learned over the years, it is this:

There are no simple answers. Just as no two snowflakes or sets of fingerprints are alike, no two children are alike. Just when you think you have heard, seen, and learned it all, something entirely new and unexpected happens–sometimes wonderful and sometimes awful.

Bottom line: We can’t tell you what you should do in any particular situation because every child and every situation is unique. However, we can pass on the benefit of our hard-earned wisdom learned from our own five or six lifetimes’ worth of parenting. We have made mistakes. There are some things we would go back and do differently, but that’s impossible. So we simply keep going, ask for God’s guidance, and do our best every day.
More than anything else, we want this book to encourage you to keep investing your time, energy, and love into your children–even in that daughter who seems to be beyond your reach and beyond hope, and even when that son has long since grown up and flown from the nest. You see, parenting is a lifelong commitment. And despite all the confusion, frustration, conflict, heartbreak, and loud music, the words of the psalmist are still true. Children really are an inheritance from the Lord! And yes, that includes teenage children.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014


    Awful bad ekkkk!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)