Parenting in Christ: Treasures for Parenting from Jesus is a new book, written by Christina Dronen. It is a lovely little study book, containing 10 short lessons, perfect for personal study or a small group setting. This is a very gentle book and respectful of children. I was quite impressed with these lessons and recommend the book highly.
I did, however, have some concerns about one point in the lesson on gratitude. She says, “Reserve your thanks to your children for the unexpected,” and proceeded to quote Luke 17:9-10. “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not. Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty’”. It sounded to me as if she was saying that we should not even thank our children when they hand us something we asked for. How would they learn to say, “thank you,” if we don’t model it? So, I wrote to her for clarification and we had the following exchange:
… I agree with everything except not thanking children for doing what they are supposed to. In our culture, it’s good to have the automatic, “thank you” response to everything. It’s a great habit, in my opinion. Maybe, not make a big deal of them doing what is expected, but a simple, “thank you” is just good modeling.
I agree. I think some people over use it though.
I say thank you to them just the same as I would adults.
I’m trying to think of an example when I wouldn’t….
Ok, good. I’ll have to re-read that part, maybe I misunderstood it.
It sounded to me like you were saying that one should never thank them for doing what they are supposed to, like their chores, and obeying, etc.
Things I wouldn’t recommend are “thanks for getting dressed” or any mundane everyday things they are already doing.
Maybe it’s more about not taking the intrinsic motivation away from them.
The things they are doing for themselves don’t need our thanks as if it’s for us.
And too much thanks turns into white noise.
I know i got the idea from Faber and Mazlish.
Ok, that makes more sense.
She tells me that she will be clarifying this in the next edition. I’m looking forward to that!
*Update* Christian Dronen wrote to me on Jan 11, 2018, saying:
Hey. Just thought I’d let you know my book has been updated. In terms of the part of book we discussed, here’s what I have now.
1. Clarify expectations. Expectations set the groundwork for thankfulness. Gratitude emerges naturally when kindness exceeds expectations. Be judicious with your use expressions of thankfulness. If you are saying “thank you” every few minutes, it becomes meaningless white noise. Mean it when you say it and say it when it is appropriate. Express your thanks to your children for the unexpected. “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not. Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty’” (Luke 17:9-10).
One of the things that really excites me about this book is that it is a great way to introduce the concept of gentle parenting. Since spanking is not mentioned at all, it will probably not offend pro-spankers and could very well plant some seeds. I can see it going over very well at many churches. Why not suggest it as a small group study to yours?
It is available for purchase at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format.
Disclaimer: The author provided me a free copy of this book in order for me to review it.