When I became a mother, I realized that I had an awesome responsibility. I didn’t have any money to go out and buy lots of parenting books, and I was leery about reading just any book, so the library didn’t seem like a good option. I wasn’t too concerned about the first few months. I knew I’d figure those things out. But I did not want to have to deal with the “terrible two’s,” and I wanted parenting advice that came from a godly perspective and was Biblically sound.
I had the book Child Guidance, and I had read a good deal of it, but somehow I couldn’t get my mind around some of it. Things like this:
The mother’s work should commence with the infant. She should subdue the will and temper of the child and bring its disposition into subjection. Teach it to obey, and as the child grows older, relax not the hand.
Child Guidance, 82
Sure. I agree. But how? Without someone to show me how it works, I wasn’t sure how to do it. I love the principles in Child Guidance, but sometimes I am at a loss to know how to apply them.
Enter Raising Godly Tomatoes. I found this book when my daughter was somewhere between 6 and 12 months, and I devoured it. It was only available online at the time, but it has now been published in book form, and is available for purchase through their website or from Amazon.com.
Let me say that this book has tremendously influenced my parenting–at least, as long as I apply the principles! I like it because the author ignores all the phychobabble so common in our world today and takes a Biblical perspective into her parenting. After reading this book at least twice, when I go back and read Child Guidance, it suddenly makes sense. Now I know how to subdue my child’s will (see my post Major Outlasting Session–The Rest of the Story for a rather lengthy example).
There are several sections to the book. The first section talks about teaching obedience. A favorite saying of the author is, “Teach obedience, and you won’t have to teach anything else.” She deals with starting early and starting later, discerning the heart of the child (because words and actions can mean different things depending on where the heart is), “tomato staking”, and spanking. The second section deals with emotional issues, like crying, whining, and tantrums, giving suggestions on how to deal with them. The third section takes a look at character. Though hardly exhaustive, it is a good start for parents who would rather teach their children to have a godly character than to just be good on the outside. The last section has thoughts for parents themselves, and for dealing with older children.
The author, Elizabeth Krueger, has 10 children and one grandchild. None of them ever rebelled or did anything wild as teenagers (granted, some of them aren’t quite that old yet). To me, that says something about her parenting. She has her children’s hearts. That is worth more than anything eles! She is a conservative Christian; she home schooled her children. What more can I say?
I could probably say a lot more about this book, but I suggest you go look at it yourself. You can still read the whole thing free online–though having a hard copy available is nice. I lost my first copy, in Mexico, I think. I bought a second. It was worth it.