My Rating: 4/5 Stars!
I love Pastor Dobson, and being a very conservative person, I found a lot to like about this book! Dobson is considered very controversial in some (ie secular, feminist, ivory tower intellectual circles), and he has been called a lot of very bad things. Yes, he is very traditional, he thinks that Mothers should stay home with their children, he thinks that families should have a Mother AND a Father, he thinks that sex should be reserved for inside of a marriage... you get my drift! So before I go any further into this review, I want to say this for people who would disregard his opinions: I find that he is not the overbearing monster that he is made out to be in the media. He approaches every single topic from single motherhood to homosexuality with sensitivity and a sincere care for the individual in whatever their situation.
When Isla was born, I believed 100% that God created her for a purpose. I am not sure what that purpose is, but I can tell you what it is NOT. God did not create Isla so that I could live my life in fear! Having a child comes with a lot of worry, and I was worrying and worrying about everything with her. You worry about SIDs and other illnesses, you worry about her growing up... what if she is out of our eye sight for a second and someone snatches her and kills her or worse? I don't need to go into further detail, but all of these things have run through my mind at one point or another. For a few weeks, all that I could think about was everything that could go wrong! And then I meditated on the Bible and I remembered that Gods most frequent command to me was to "Fear Not!" And I know this applies to my life as a parent. So, I made the decision right then and there that He was sovereign and that he was raising her. I'm just here to help him out!
Then I read this book! The worse thing about Pastor Dobson is that he has seen a lot. He has counseled victims of sexual abuse, drug addicts - you name it! He told one story of sitting on a Congressional Counsel on child abuse in the 80's where someone had videotaped a little boy being killed. He is more aware of anyone of the dangers that are out there for your kids and he wants to make sure that you are informed. I know he comes from a place of love, but it made me afraid to every leave Isla with anyone! Even people who I had been left with as a child, just in case in the mean time they had turned into a sexual predator.
Then I prayed again, and God told me the same thing "Fear Not!" I'm glad its in the book, I just think that you need to have a healthy perspective that there is still a lot of good in the world and people that can be trusted before you read it.
There were many wonderful things in this book!!! My favorite parts were on Fathers, how they influence their daughters in all areas, including emotional fitness and physical development. An engaged and caring father is absolutely essential to the development of a girls self image and self esteem. It was also interesting to note that studies have found that in households where fathers were involved in their daughters lives and were appropriately affectionate that the start of a girls menses was also delayed well passed the age of her peers. Very interesting stuff!!! He also discussed the importance of Mothers and how a mother who respects herself and expects the men around her to respect her will always influence her daughter to expect the same.
The things that Dobson is saying are Biblical truths and standards, but he also has sound research and evidence from many, many studies and experiments to back up what he is saying. Some of what he is saying should be self explanatory, but in the relativistic world we live in, people don't tend to believe anything unless you have scientific evidence. Well study after study has shown that children in married, biological two parent (mother/father) households do better in all aspects of development!
Dobson acknowledges that not every can achieve the ideal married, two parent model, and he offers advice and examples on how to be able to fill in the gaps. Dobson himself was raised by his single mother and then his step father, and he gives a lot of advice to single mothers on dating and raising your children without a father present in the home. As I said, he is very careful to uphold the standard while being sensitive to the needs of people who can't achieve it. This is not about insulting people, it is about helping raise the next generation of emotionally fit children.
YES! If you have girls, go get it! And if you have boys, get Bringing Up Boys, also by Dobson. I've read that one too. There is a lot of wonderful advice in this books, just make sure to take a few minutes to remember that we live in a Wannderful world before you dive into it... sorry, it's just been a while since I've done a Wann-pun, and I get a little itch after a while. :)
Next on my Parenting reading list, I have a decidedly secular book. However, it was sent to me by my friend Lacey, who is a wonderful, Godly woman who is raising her little boy to be a man of God, so I know that there are a lot of good things in it. Plus, hopefully it will counteract any remaining worry from Bringing Up Girls!