Raising Confident Kids (Book Review)
Ed Drew’s book sets out principles for every Christian parent to help their children know who they are and whose they are.
God has blessed me and my wife with two children – and one on the way – and it has been a privilege to care for them as they grow up. Teaching them the basics of life, introducing them to the wonder of football (that hasn’t stuck yet) and the awesome world of dinosaurs (this one actually has!), and telling them about the God who made them and loves them.
It’s been said that the goal of parenting is to make yourself redundant: to get your children to the point that they can fend for themselves. But as my eldest turns ten and begins to be influenced by outside agents, parenting is becoming more daunting.
When they’re little at home I can provide for and protect them. I can tidy up any mistakes. But out in the big world of secular influence and external pressures, I feel a little bit powerless. Actually, completely powerless.
So, Raising Confident Kids landed on my desk at a great time.
What do we really want for our children?
It’s natural to want our children to be happy, to make friends, and to be successful in their studies or work.
But the opening chapter of Ed Drew’s book gives great context to the issue at hand: when your children leave home and are confronted with the question “Who are you?”, what will they say? What will they believe?
Looking at the big picture of the gospel and God’s salvation plan, we must remember that “what matters most is that they know Jesus” and that all the other things the world values – grades, salary, relationships – “really do pale into significance by comparison”.
Our instinct can be to put rules and boundaries in place to make sure our children live as the Christians we desire them to be. But fostering Christian living is a heart issue, not a behaviour one, which needs a longer-term plan.
The caveat is that it’s “by God’s grace, not our parenting, that saves and changes our kids”. Yet “God works through means”, so there are things parents can do now to prepare their children to become believing adults.
Raising Confident Kids isn’t a parenting manual for making your kids behave or believe. Instead, it gives principles for helping your children be confident to know who they are and whose they are.
Identity in a world of chaos
In the world we live in, where LGBT-affirming ideology seems to be everywhere, there are helpful chapters on sexuality and gender. But they aren’t the core of the book.
They are preceded by foundational chapters that cover our identity as precious to God, as forgiven through Jesus, as wonderfully made, and as able to change. Easy to forget in the chaos of the 21st-century world.
One of the most helpful, and enjoyable, parts of the book are the real-world stories Ed includes from his own experience and from people he has spoken to and helped through Faith in Kids. Some are realistic and relatable, some are sad, some hopeful, and many of them laugh out loud (wait till you read about Ed’s car journey conversation about cows).
Each chapter points us parents to Jesus and our own identity and relationship with him. Every believing parent is precious, forgiven, wonderfully made, and able to change too. As we remember these truths and trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty, we can handle the parenting task God has given us and that he is working out.
“Worrying about whether the culture will corrupt [our children] might be a sign that we're underestimating the power of God's Spirit to save and sustain them.”
Read and reflect
There are questions at the end of each chapter to help you process what has been said, applying the principles to your own context.
I read this by myself and had some time to chat it through with my wife and put a bit into practice with the kids during the summer holiday. I could see how it could be read with your spouse, as a group of parents, or even as the basis of a parenting course across the whole church.
There will be discussions and actions you can put into place straight away and quotes that will stick in your head for later (like the Bible verse with not one but two exclamation marks!).
I’d recommend this for parents of all kinds – those with younger or older children, or even those who don’t have children but serve and care for them in a church setting.
Let’s remember who we are and whose
we are, and encourage our children to remember that too.