Parenting Principles: 31 Teachings to Raise Children in Righteousness (An LDS Book Review)

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I recently reviewed David Christensen’s new book, Parenting Principles: 31 Teachings to Raise Children in Righteousness. One of the purposes for creating my blog TRU Parenting is to help parents find and utilize universal principles of positive parenting. Christensen’s book provides an amazing catalog of 31 of these universal principles that will bless and strengthen your child, your relationship and yourself. These short, readable chapters make for a perfect daily devotional for individual parents or couples.

Christensen shares my faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Parenting Principles is written from an LDS perspective and with the intention of reaching an LDS audience, although the universal principles of teaching, consistency, balance, love at home, positivity and many others, can apply to all Christian parents and even parents of other faiths. Each page reflects Christensen’s enduring faith in Jesus Christ’s life and teachings, and their incredible value to parents everywhere. He beautifully and effectively illustrates each important parenting principle using scriptural stories from the Bible and Book of Mormon, as well as anecdotes from his own family life.

In the book, Christensen demonstrates a wise, faith based look at parenting principles that will help parents help their children in the difficult moral climate that we live in today. He reiterates throughout the book that his message is not a recipe book of parenting “how-to’s”, because, after all, every child and family is different. He encourages every parent to read, to ponder, and to continue to study the principles through scripture study, other great books and ultimately through prayer and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. I appreciated this approach of leaving room for parents to design their own methods and techniques based on the foundation of these true principles. I found each and every principle in the book to be true and helpful, and yet, I didn’t have to agree with every method portrayed in the various stories. You and I can apply the principles in ways that fit our specific child and family.

Why I would recommend Parenting Principles

Can you remember the first time you were asked, “What do you want to do or be when you grow up?” I remember going through stages with this question. When I was probably only four or five years old, one of my first answers was that I wanted to be a Daddy. Through the years my answer changed many times. When I was eight I wanted to be an astronaut, because I had a huge poster of a space shuttle launch on my wall. When I was 14 or 15 I was pretty sure I wanted to be an extreme skier because it was fun. My first year of college I was locked into becoming a Ophthalmologist, mostly because it sounded cool and had potential to make a lot of money. By the time I finished my bachelor’s degree I had found my career path but my response to that question, “What do you want to be” had come full circle back to “I want to be a daddy, and not just any daddy, but a great daddy like my father was.”

David Christensen starts his wonderful book off with a relatable story from his life when he asked a similar question to a group of LDS young men on a campout years ago. The reply of one of these young men in the opening pages of the book reminded me of all of my responses through the years, and ultimately his reply felt like my own. He said, “I’m not sure about my profession yet, but I do know what I want to be when I grow up. All I’ve ever really wanted to be is a dad, like my dad.” This simple, vulnerable and seemingly naïve response is not a popular one these days. It does not carry with it prestige, wealth or notoriety, but this one role of “parent” has the most profound impact on our own lives, the lives of those closest to us and even on society as a whole. I love that Christensen’s book establishes this emotional and practical point first thing. This understanding of the infinite importance of parenthood and family lays the foundation for the 31 principles in his book.

One of my favorites

David Christensen grew up a farm boy in Idaho. Since moving to Idaho 10 years ago, I’ve never met an Idahoan farmer that didn’t have some great stories about cows. One of my favorite metaphors that Christensen unveils in his book is drawn from watching his father’s cows test the fences and boundaries in their pasture. Of his experience placing the cows within the boundaries of the pasture he recounts the following…

“There was an instinctive desire to move the boundary… If they found a hole or a potential route to freedom, they would often compromise the boundary and get out… Once the fence was compromised and later repaired, and we returned the cows to the pasture the next day. Their memories motivated them to look for that same hole and check to see if it was secure. If it was, they would relax and move into the center of the pasture to graze.”

What an excellent illustration of the importance of boundaries with our children!

These principles can change things for good

Each principle and chapter ends with thoughtful questions that challenge parents to do some honest self- evaluation. It also provides other scriptural references that invite parents to further their own study and insight. It encourages readers to consider each principle and ask, “So what? Why and how does this apply to my child and family? What can I do about it?” Christensen insists that we don’t just leave the principles in the book, but that we find the takeaways and act so that they can positively change us, our child(ren) and our family.

If you would like to enter to win a free eBook copy of David Christensen’s New Book, Parenting Principles, leave a comment regarding one principle that has been a guiding force in your parenting.

Find out more about David Christensen and his book at the following links.

1. David A. Christensen’s official website.

2. David A. Christensen’s Facebook page.

3. Instagram: @david.a.christensen

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