Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Review (#19 of 2014) Shepherd Your Home by Timothy Witmer

The Shepherd Leader at Home: Knowing, Leading, Protecting, and Providing for Your Familyis a quick read and just thought-provoking enough. I liked his quotes from other sources, which might add to my reading list later. It is not deep, I'd say it's written for someone who hasn't introspected much on either marriage or parenthood. It's not deep enough to cover both, but just the basics. Each chapter ends with thought/discussion questions.Witmer is described as a (Presbyterian) pastor serving "in an urban multiethnic context for twenty-five years," which I found interesting. Expected insights from that description don't show up in the book, however. 

Here are some of my highlights:

Is it clear to your spouse that she is the most significant person in the world to you? Do you tell her that she is? Do you act as though she is?
(Q)uality time doesn’t replace the need for quantity time.


If your communication with one another is not entirely truthful, then there is probably a crack in the trust level of your relationship.
If I speak from a superior plane, that’s far more damaging, and contempt is any statement made from a higher level.


Do you know your wife’s greatest worry? Do you know her greatest concern for herself or for you or for the children? Do you know what sin she struggles with the most? What unmet aspirations does she harbor? What regrets does she have? Do you know what unmet aspirations she harbors? 

(the same questions are asked in regards to your child. This is crucially important in their adolescent and teenage years.)
(W)e are predisposed to say no whenever our children come to us with a request.
 
Sit down with your wife and discuss your goals for your family. Do they reflect the Lord’s priorities? How well are you communicating those priorities to your children?

Is my wife more like Christ because she is married to me? Or is she like Christ in spite of me?

When your children are in a position to make meaningful choices themselves, help them to understand the biblical principles that interface with those decisions.
  
(In regards to discipline and forgiveness): The objective is to expect the Lord to work in our children’s lives in such a way that, as they experience their own inability to keep the simplest instructions and God’s commandments, they will see their need for the Savior and look to him for forgiveness   

I'm currently reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People and am struck by how much more Carnegie discusses shepherd-like behavior with family--particularly children-- than Witmer. Little is said about the power of encouragement and understanding the other person's point of view. This would, of course, be crucial among a shepherd leader and is essentially left out of Witmer's book.

I would also recommend reading Eggerich's Love and Respect before reading this book.The other will go further in improving marital relations.

I read this book in a critical week in our marriage, it helped foster good conversation between my wife and I in order to work out some differences. It encouraged me to be more intentional with Scripture and the Gospel in activities with our son. So, net positive from the book. I would recommend it to others but maybe not to those who I know have read a lot of other resources on marriage and parenting.


3 stars out of 5.


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