Recent books on the role of parents
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Finding My Father by Blair Linne
Linne describes with gripping detail her story of growing up without a father. She intersperses statistics on fatherlessness with her own reality: “I did not know it, but I was living it.” The book emphasizes the immeasurable impact of a father, despite a culture that belittles it. Instead of merely calling men back home, Linne points to our universal need for our heavenly Father. Linne addresses fatherlessness within the African American family and the role the local church plays in filling the void. Linne’s husband, Shai, a rapper and author, pens one chapter, describing stepping into his role as a husband and dad despite his own father’s absence. Finding My Father addresses with Biblical hope and honesty a sorrow common to many.
Full Circle Parenting by Jimmy and Kristin Scroggins
The Scrogginses draw from 25 years of marriage, eight children, and Jimmy’s pastoral ministry to help parents talk with children of all ages about difficult topics. The book describes a conversation guide, called the “3 circles,” that emphasizes God’s design, brokenness, and the gospel. It provides practical illustrations on how this tool could be used in parent-child conversations addressing topics including gender, sexuality, family structure, technology, alcohol and substance abuse, bitterness, and friendship. The Scrogginses underscore the complexity of children and their need for consistent reminders of God’s design and the deceitfulness of sin. They include examples of conversations with their children and other real-life scenarios to help facilitate gospel-centered communication between parents and children.
Take Back Your Family by Jefferson Bethke
In Take Back Your Family, Bethke, a young father, seeks to challenge norms and raise questions more than provide answers. He resists the nuclear family ideal that emphasizes consumption, busyness, and individual happiness and success. Bethke traces these patterns back to the Industrial Revolution when factories replaced family businesses. He calls readers to a vision of the family as “a multigenerational team on a mission.” The book identifies how a family’s mission fits into the wider Biblical narrative and gives examples of parents who changed their family’s habits and trajectory. Bethke writes candidly of his family’s journey to live out these principles in areas such as decision making, giving, Sabbath days, and local church involvement.
The Intentional Father by Jon Tyson
In this succinct book, Tyson seeks to help fathers (and father figures) actively disciple their sons from adolescence into manhood with courage and character. Each chapter introduces a specific principle and describes a pathway Tyson led his son on that included specific activities, rites of passage, and marking moments to prepare him for leaving home. He challenges fathers to adapt and customize his ideas and concludes each chapter with intentional steps and exercises. The Intentional Father also includes research conducted by the Barna Group on fatherhood. Statistics, charts, and data visuals provide a clearer picture of what fathers believe and practice today. Tyson contrasts worldly perceptions of manhood with the Biblical example, calling men to help sons become more like Jesus.
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