God takes great delight in creating unique individuals, so why do we feel the need to conform our parenting styles? Rebellious Parenting invites parents to recognize that conventional wisdom is not always the best route to success. This book will help parents find the courage and creativity to challenge cultural norms and individualize their parenting so each of their children can thrive.
Father and daughter duo Dr. Richard and Carrie Blackaby inform, engage and encourage readers through input from both sides of the parenting equation. Expanding on principles from their earlier publication, Customized Parenting in a Trending World , the Blackabys include actionable steps to help facilitate meaningful application in any family. Each page is filled with humor, inspiration and encouragement that will lead parents to a more personal take on Christian parenting.
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About the Author
Dr. Richard Blackaby has served as the president of Blackaby Ministries International since July 2006 and is the author of numerous bestselling books. He has been married to Lisa since 1983.
Carrie Blackabyholds a BA in English from North Greenville University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the Veda B. Sprouse award for the most outstanding English student. She is currently working on an MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College and an M.Div in Christian Apologetics from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Read an Excerpt
Daring to Break the Rules So Your Child Can Thrive
By Carrie Blackaby, Richard Blackaby
Elevate PublishingCopyright © 2017 Richard Blackaby & Carrie Blackaby
All rights reserved.
The Pitfalls of Popular Opinion
Rebelling Against Conventional Wisdom
"Beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance."
— George Bernard Shaw
My (Carrie) first exposure to the film The Little Mermaid came shortly after I turned five. It was perhaps the most traumatic event I'd experienced up until that point (well, aside from the time my brother Daniel crashed my princess birthday party dressed as Pocahontas). The image of Ursula, with her slimy tentacles and garish makeup, seared itself into my mind and haunted my dreams. I was young and illiterate; my knowledge of villains was confined to the realm of coloring books and Nickelodeon cartoons. But I was positively, absolutely certain about one thing: Ursula was coming for me.
Living under the weight of my imminent demise was a burden upon my preschool shoulders, so after weeks of nightmares and sleepless nights, I decided to enlist the help of my older brothers.
"No problem!" Mike said. He patted me on the back. "We'll help you lay a trap so she won't be able to sneak into your room at night."
Mike headed the operation as lead engineer, and he, Daniel, and I spent the evening constructing elaborate booby traps with Legos®. My room became a veritable Fort Knox.
That night, for the first time in weeks, I didn't dread bedtime. My older and wiser siblings assured me of their extensive knowledge of underwater Disney villains. If anything could keep her out, it was our barricade. Secure in their promises, I snuggled against my pillow and my eyelids began to droop.
"Now remember," Mike said, perched at the foot of my bed, "these will definitely keep her out. If they're still in place when you wake up, you'll know she didn't come."
"We're just down the hall if you need us," Daniel added as he tucked the sheets under my chin. They wished me goodnight and left the room. I was asleep before the door closed behind them.
The next morning, the sunlight streamed in through my slatted blinds. I remembered the Ursula traps and opened my eyes. My stomach reeled as I glanced at the floor. All of the traps had been set off. The evidence led to a single inescapable conclusion.
Ursula had been there.
My nightmares returned. I became a five-year-old insomniac, staying awake until the wee hours, straining to discern the faint sound of tentacles slithering down the hallway toward my room.
Mike and Daniel still love to reminisce about "that time they set the Ursula traps off while Carrie was asleep."
Conventional wisdom is any generally accepted set of beliefs and practices. Its conclusions aren't necessarily followed because of their proven effectiveness, but simply because they are popular.
A common advertising gimmick uses the "ratio" ploy. The dreamy actor in a white lab coat declares, "Nine out of ten dentists recommend" this toothpaste, or that mouthwash. Or a fellow with a European accent says, "Four out of five gastrointestinal specialists regularly prescribe this laxative for regularity." But Carrie's experience taught her that you can't always trust the majority, or put another way, the majority isn't correct on every occasion in every circumstance.
This principle is no more evident than in the fashion industry. To cite a few examples:
The misconception in the 80s that mullets were attractive. (Sorry, Billy Ray Cyrus.)
The misconception in the 80s that shoulder pads the size of tea cozies were flattering.
The misconception in the 80s that spandex neon bodysuits ... well, you get the point.
The current myth that jeans should dangle precariously midway down the wearer's thigh.
The health industry is also riddled with fluctuating "facts." Widely held conclusions based on scientific opinion are accepted by the masses, only to be amended later or even renounced. Coffee has gone from villain to hero more times than Severus Snape. Milk, once dubbed the perfect food, is now the "silent killer." We dread the day scientists change their view about the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Clearly, just because practices or beliefs are popular today, doesn't mean they won't be tossed onto the scrap heap of outdated opinions tomorrow.
What You Don't Know Can Kill You
On December 13, 1799, the most famous American of his era mounted his horse and made his daily rounds on his large estate. Three inches of wet snow fell, drenching George Washington. That evening, he developed a sore throat. His wife, Martha, urged him to take medication, but he believed in letting illnesses run their course.
By the next morning, Washington suffered from chills and strep throat. Martha summoned their physician, Dr. Craik, but before he arrived, Washington's overseer, a man named Rawlins, entered the room and drew a knife. Despite Mrs. Washington's protests, Rawlins cut open the ailing general's arm so that blood began flowing. Washington ultimately died. Was it murder? Was it the first presidential cover-up? No. It was conventional wisdom.
The great general who had once quipped that there was "something charming" in the sound of musket balls being fired at him in battle was not a masochist. Medical practitioners of the time employed a procedure called bloodletting, which dated back to the scientific experiments of the ancient Greeks. Experts believed that some illnesses were caused by imbalances in the human body's four primary fluids, so removing "excess" blood could help restore a healthy inner equilibrium. Hence the practice of dropping leeches onto a patient's chest. As if being deathly ill were not disturbing enough.
By the late 1700s, medical advances had caused physicians to second-guess the value of bloodletting, but Washington still believed in it, so he instructed his assistant to initiate the process. When Dr. Craik arrived, he bled Washington for the second time. Eventually, two other medics came to help. The younger one, Dr. Elisha Dick, diagnosed Washington with a throat infection and recommended an immediate tracheotomy. His senior colleagues disagreed. Tracheotomies were too dangerous, they said. They proposed further bloodletting.
By the fourth round, the blood ran slowly. The brave general confessed, "Doctor, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go." His last words were, "Tis well." He was 67.
If Washington's illness occurred today, modern medical knowledge may well have cured him. (By the same token, had he died, a modern Martha Washington would sue the socks off those doctors.) Even back then, one of the medics knew of a procedure that might have saved Washington's life, but the aging warrior general chose to stick with an outdated, dubious remedy.
So What's The Problem?
Parents have goals for their children. We want them to become happy, successful adults. Christian parents also hope their children will embrace faith in Christ and uphold Christian values.
But despite their best intentions, many parents realize their parenting method isn't working as well as they hoped. Instead of enjoying a home filled with laughter, their house is consumed with stress and dissention. Rather than growing up to become devout Christian adults, their children lose interest in their faith and stop attending church.
People regularly tell me (Richard) about the anguish they feel as parents:
Jordan was a charming preschooler, yet by the third grade, he had lost his joy in learning and was becoming increasingly attention-seeking.
Jim and Susan are devout Christians who take their three children to church every week, yet the children constantly bicker and fight. Family outings and vacations have become unbearable.
As a child, Amy was a sweet Christian girl who went to church with her parents every week. But when she entered high school, Amy became distracted by boys and parties. Her parents were shocked at how readily she lost her faith and her virginity.
How can people who work so hard to be good parents end up experiencing such disappointments? There are many contributing factors, but we contend that one of the main reasons is this: Despite the fact that parents are achieving disheartening results, they are not seriously rethinking their practices or making the necessary adjustments so their children can thrive. Many parents are experiencing failure in their home, despite the fact that they love their children and are doing everything they know to do.
Lofty Goals, Humbling Reality
Most parents have high hopes for their children from the day they are born. Who knows what potential each bundle of humanity possesses? Could they be elected to government? Become doctors and heal the sick? Solve heinous crimes on the police force or teach the next generation in school? Moms and dads believe their child has the opportunity to accomplish more than they did (hence the obnoxious parents at Little League games).
I (Richard) was a typical, idealistic dad when Lisa and I carted our first child, Mike, off to kindergarten. So many decisions burdened my mind that day: When he graduated summa cum laude from high school, would we enroll him at Harvard or Yale? Should he attend a local university so we could more easily watch him quarterback his college football team to the national title?
Then we went to our first parent/teacher interview. The teacher described watching Mike squirm in his desk chair as if his pants were infested by a colony of fire ants.
Oh, well. Massachusetts has harsh winters anyway ...
At least Daniel, our second born, knew how to sit still. He progressed nicely until First Grade "show and tell." That wasn't in Daniel's contract. So, our cherub became an escape artist, running away from school every time his teacher appeared less interesting than the Mario Kart Nintendo game waiting for him at home.
At least he is showing initiative, we rationalized ...
Hope resurfaced when our daughter, Carrie, was born. She was our overachiever. I knew she wouldn't let me down. I wrote a form letter we could send to the colleges we would have to regretfully decline, despite the impressive, full-ride scholarships they were offering....
Carrie's kindergarten teacher was a seasoned veteran. She made appointments the week before school started and visited the children in their homes to help alleviate any first-year jitters. To me, that seemed appropriate for other kids, but entirely unnecessary in Carrie's case. But, to set a good example for Carrie's classmates, we scheduled a home visit. Lisa arranged a child's tea table in Carrie's bedroom. A dish of dainties was tastefully laid out with child- appropriate beverages. Mrs. Wilson, a pleasant, motherly type, arrived on schedule and made her way to Carrie's room for some private time. We assumed she would probe Carrie's thoughts on the nation's abysmal educational record or perhaps ask her opinion on current trends among preschoolers.
Moments later, Carrie emerged from the room and abruptly closed the door behind her, leaving Mrs. Wilson to sip her tea in solitude. Carrie slumped dramatically against the closed door. "I just had to get out of that room!" she announced, rolling her eyes. "I could hardly breathed!"
Well, perhaps our grandchildren ...
Like most parents, Lisa and I eventually adjusted our expectations to correspond with reality.
It's in the Bible
Today, if you mention the Bible in certain circles, you will be labeled an out-of-date traditionalist. Nevertheless, the Bible continues to be the most revolutionary book in print.
The apostle Paul was indoctrinated in the prevailing values and customs of his day. The most prestigious group in his nation was a political organization called the Sanhedrin. Paul aspired to enter into its esteemed ranks in record time. The most popular religious group was known as the Pharisees. Paul strove to outdo them in fervency. He zealously embraced his generation's trending values and wholly bought into his culture's measures of success.
Then he had a life-changing meeting with Christ. The encounter left him blind for three days (Acts 9:9). When the scales fell from his eyes, Paul saw his life accurately for the first time. He immediately cast aside his former customs and habits and began living the life God had always intended for him. Paul formerly embodied everything his society cherished, but Christ transformed him into a revolutionary.
Paul joined a movement so dynamic that 2,000 years later, we still experience its repercussions. Christianity turned popular views on marriage, child-rearing, and life in general upside down. One of the most profound pieces of advice Paul wrote was this:
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Rom. 12:2)
After years of getting it wrong, Paul realized that you can't let mainstream society dictate your life; instead, you must embrace who God created you to be.
What's a Parent to Do?
Many parents know their children are struggling or could be doing better, but fail to act in ways that help their child succeed. We contend that one of the primary reasons for this is because modern society inundates families with misguided solutions to their problems.
In our frenzied culture, we can tap in to a steady stream of bitesized phrases on social media. We simply scroll down and snatch up what appeals to us. There are potluck-styled sites that circulate
However, just because an opinion is widely publicized doesn't make it wise or even true. Faulty thinking presented in a touching video or written in calligraphy and illustrated with rainbows is still faulty. It's up to us to discern between wisdom and fallacy. Here are a few examples of pithy quotes on social media right now:
Get lost finding yourself.
If you can dream it, you can do it.
Create your happy, whatever that means to you.
Trust your instinct.
The only failure is not trying.
Life is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.
It's easier now than ever before to let others do our thinking for us. Society brims with advice and opinions for how you should parent your child. Unfortunately, modern society is becoming increasingly intolerant of people who don't follow its politically correct approach.
Ironically, in an age when advice is more available than ever before, families continue to struggle. The challenge for parents is to discern what, if anything, in conventional wisdom is best for their child. It could be that what seems to be working for other children simply isn't the best option for everyone.
To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool
Partway through my seventh grade year, I (Carrie) had an epiphany: I didn't want to go to school anymore. Most children reach that conclusion at some point in their educational odyssey, and many do so a lot sooner than I did. My brother Daniel had tried to fix the problem by running home at recess in first grade. But, what can I say? I'm a late bloomer. I didn't want to quit school altogether — I wanted to try homeschooling.
When I mention that I was homeschooled, I often receive a sympathetic comment about my mother being unwilling to send me off to a "real" school. The implication is, "What child in her right mind would willingly agree to such a life of torture, isolation, and overall strangeness?" But the choice was entirely my own.
The desire didn't stem from the usual presumed reasons. At the time, I was attending a private Christian school with dedicated, godly teachers. I wasn't being bullied, and I had a solid group of friends. I was a straight A student, and my teacher liked me. Aside from my frequent absences from gym class during the eight-week flag football unit because of my "hereditary weak ankles," everything was going well. I just felt that I was missing something.
I didn't know how my parents would react to such a radical change in my education, so I made a list of the pros and cons and presented it to them. I still have the list. It says:
I can get more sleep.
I won't have to miss youth group on Wednesday evenings to do homework.
I can join book club with Olivia and Mya.
I will have more time to figure skate. (Plus: I won't have to play flag football ever again in my life, ever.)
I can work as fast or slowly as I need to.
It sounds fun!
I will miss my friend Hannah.
Excerpted from Rebellious Parenting by Carrie Blackaby, Richard Blackaby. Copyright © 2017 Richard Blackaby & Carrie Blackaby. Excerpted by permission of Elevate Publishing.
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.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Pitfalls of Popular Opinion 5
Chapter 2 Land of the Free, Home of the Clones 23
Chapter 3 Look Around You…Stupid is Everywhere! 41
Chapter 4 If You Hale It, Quit 61
Chapter 5 Not Now, Sweetie: Mommy Is Having a Meltdown 77
Chapter 6 Resetting Your Default to Yes 97
Chapter 7 Rules: Less Is More 111
Chapter 8 Well-Mannered Little Monsters 129
Chapter 9 Yes, Kids, Life is a Party! 145
Chapter 10 The Life of the Party 173
Chapter 11 Of Course My Parents Made My Dioramas 199
Chapter 12 Hey, Wait for Me! I'm a Late Bloomer 219
Chapter 13 "But Dad, I Don't Want to Be an Engineer!" 237
About the Authors 255
What People are Saying About This
“Richard is a gifted storyteller. I always enjoy hearing him use real-life stories to explain and apply profound truths. Now it is clear that his daughter Carrie is a highly entertaining and insightful storyteller as well. You will thoroughly enjoy reading this book. It is filled with humor, insight, and godly wisdom. I highly recommend it to parents. It will leave you thinking, laughing, and changing and will result in a blessing for your children.”
Dr. Henry T. Blackaby
Author of Experiencing God
“It was with a fair measure of skepticism that I began reading this book, muttering to myself, ‘Oh no, not another book on raising perfect kids!’ But I was greatly surprised and gratified to see that this book was anything but. The Blackabys have shared their experiences from a two-generational perspective, and I found their advice thoughtful, biblical, and challenging. There are no cookie-cutter formulas in this book...thankfully! What I found instead was an approach to parenting that took each individual child into consideration and focused on character formation rather than compliance. I laughed and I cried as I vicariously shared their experiences, but I ended this book encouraged that there is a voice for parenting that is wise, full of grace, and just plain fun. Enjoy the book!”
Founder and President, Charis Counseling Center in Orlando, FL
Teaching Pastor, Summit Church and author of The Upside-Down Marriage
“I enjoyed this book so much I decided to put my name on the manuscript and publish it first! Seriously, this book reminded me of the way Ramona and I raised our kidsnot with perfectionbut with purpose. Success was measured by faith, character, and a rollicking good time. We have seen it pay off. I know you will too.”
Radio Host, Laugh Again
Author of Tricks My Dog Taught Me About Life, Love and God
“This book was so much fun to read, I couldn’t put it down! I felt like I was spending the afternoon with the Blackabys as they shared very real examples of ‘rebellious parenting’. In this practical and biblically based book, Richard and his daughter Carrie have written a wonderful resource to help parents make good judgment calls, overcome the pressures of conventional wisdom to discern what is best for their child, and learn to enjoy the journey of parenting. They provide insights into raising children in a joyful setting that looks for ‘opportunities to turn ordinary life experiences into happy memories.’”
Author of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
“Conventional wisdom isn’t always wise or right or best. It’s just familiar. One brief conversation with a Venezuelan-born doctor altered my cultural perspective and changed the course of my parenting when my three children were teens. After reading Richard and Carrie Blackaby’s book, I wished I could turn back the clock and tweak a few more things! Give this book to every young family you love! Their children will thank you one day.”
Author of Following God One Yes at a Time
“Richard and Carrie Blackaby share inspiring truths on parenting our children to thrive in Rebellious Parenting. In a society in which parents strive to keep up with ‘conventional wisdom,’ this father and daughter team speak to the heart of the matter. The Blackabys guide parents on how to put the pitfalls of popular opinion behind them and instead seek God’s truth. God didn’t create assembly lines, but rather one-of-a-kind humans. I love this book! It’s inspiring, insightful, and filled with wisdom and truth. I can’t wait to share it with friends and read it again myself!”
Author of 45 books, including Lead Your Family Like Jesus and
Plain Faith: A True Story of Tragedy, Loss, and Leaving the Amish