“Even Mommies Need Jesus”

For today’s “Tuesday’s Tidbits,” I want to introduce you to Mary DeMuth, whom I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I met Mary years ago at church and got to know her through women’s Bible studies. Then, she was an aspiring writer. Now, she’s a published, recognized author of numerous articles, several novels and two non-fiction parenting books. Her latest work, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, just hit bookstores. Writing it while she and her family were missionaries in France, Mary gleaned from that challenging situation some fascinating truths about parenting. I’m thumbing through the book this week, and I think you should too! Listen in on a conversation with Mary, as she describes postmodernity and discusses her approach to parenting.

Why did you write this book? Aren’t there already a bazillion parenting books out there?

Yes, I do believe there are a bazillion. I always struggle when I write a parenting book because I feel so darned small and weak. I don’t parent perfectly. But, we did live through two and half years in France, the hotbed of hyper-postmodernity. We had to learn how to parent our kids in that culture. It occurred to me that the things we learned would be helpful to American parents too.

What does postmodern mean? And why should it matter to parents?

Postmodernism is the waiting room between what used to be a modern worldview and what will be. Postmoderns believe that rationalism and/or more education doesn’t necessarily create a better society. They typically don’t embrace the notion of absolute truth, though they reach for the transcendent. The question for parents is how will we mine the current worldview, even as it shifts? What in it can we embrace as biblical? What is not biblical? What I’ve seen in the church is a fearful adherence to what is familiar. So we cling to modern ideas, even though they may not be biblical, and shun postmodern ideas even when they might be biblical. Our children will meet this shifting worldview no matter what our opinion of it is.

How can a parent help their children prepare for the world outside their door?

Become a conversational parent. Talk to your kids. Listen. Share your story. Dare to believe that God has much to teach you through your kids. Be humble enough to learn from them. Create a haven for your kids, an oasis in your home that protects, supports, and gives kids space to be themselves. Take seriously the mandate that you are responsible for the soul-nurturing of your children.Teach your children to joyfully engage their world, while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. Teaching this comes primarily from modeling it in your own life. Do you engage your neighbors? Are you more interested in God’s kingdom than your own? Admit your failures openly with your children, showing how much you need Jesus to live your daily life.

Are you saying that authentic parents don’t always have it all together as some would like to think?

Yep! We are all frail, needy humans. If we present ourselves as perfect parents, never failing, always doing this correctly, we show our children we have no need of Jesus. We also set up a standard of perfection—that to be a Christian, one has to be perfect. This can lead to our children creating elaborate facades or hiding behind masks. I’d rather have my children see that even mommies make mistakes. Even mommies need Jesus every single day.

Monday’s Musings

See, I told you I was going to start blogging more regularly! I was checking out my friend Mary DeMuth’s blog today, since I’m all about Mary this week (stay tuned). She’s got an interesting book list going on right now, which we are all invited to share. I’m tagging Erin, Shannon, Sandi, and Heather in particular, though I’d love to hear any of my readers’ thoughts. Read the directions below and respond on your own blog or via email to me.

Copy the list below. Bold the books you’ve read.* Italicize the ones you want to read.* Leave in normal text the ones that don’t interest you.* Put in ALL CAPS those you haven’t heard of.* Put a couple of asterisks by the ones you recommend.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)**
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) **
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) **
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)**
10. A FINE BALANCE (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)**
17. FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)**
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)**
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. DUNE (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. THE POWER OF ONE (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43.Confessions of a Shopahaulic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible **
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. ANGELA’S ASHES (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. SHE’S COME UNDONE (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. ENDER’S GAME (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. THE STONE ANGEL (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. FIFTH BUSINESS (Robertson Davies)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)**
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding)
72. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson)
76. THE SUMMER TREE (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)**
81. NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83.Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. WIZARD’S FIRST RULE (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. THE STONE DIARIES (Carol Shields)
89. BLINDNESS (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. IN THE SKIN OF A LION (Michael Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)