Book Review- Modern Parents, Vintage Values

Nearly every time I ask for topic suggestions for book lists or posts, someone requests "parenting." I've been meaning to put together a list of those for a while, and I've accumulated quite a stack on the subject, but today I want to focus on one book in particular. This is not the first book I have read by these authors, and after becoming familiar with their work over the last year or so (even though they are hardly new to the parenting/counseling scene with decades of experience), I can't recommend them highly enough.

Modern Parents, Vintage Values Sissy Goff and Melissa Trevathan is so helpful, encouraging, and above all, practical. It has three sections: Modern Parents (addressing issues all parents have to address at some point), Vintage Values (the beliefs that never go out of style and ones we want our children to possess), and Timeless Truths (reminders for parents that although this is a hard job, we can do it).

In the first section, Modern Parents, Sissy and Melissa walk through all kinds of problems facing our families: lack of respect, the internet, entitlement, safety with strangers (in person and online), and more. Some of these problems are timeless, but others (like social media and gaming) are of course more recent, and all of them have been exacerbated by the constant use of the internet. The authors do not suggest burying our heads in the sand or unplugging our routers (however tempting that may be) but offer suggestions as to how we can combat these issues in our children and in ourselves. 

In Vintage Values, Sissy and Melissa tackle this list chapter by chapter, providing reasons and reminders as to the importance of values like kindness, compassion, forgiveness, integrity, and responsibility. This section is full of ways to teach your children these values, how to implement them into our home, and how to do it without constantly lecturing. Of course, the best way, the authors suggest, is to model these values ourselves (easier said than done!), as our example to our children is more powerful than any lesson or activity. 

Finally, the Timeless Truths section offers a few reminders about why these things are so important and, more importantly, how we are equipped to handle them. There are four brief chapters--Take Heart, Have Life, Seek Hope, Give Love--and each of these will encourage any parent, no matter how frustrated or hopeless they may feel. 

Sissy and Melissa are not just "armchair" parenting authors. They have worked with children, teens, and families for decades at their counseling center and camps in Nashville, Tennessee. There are dozens of illustrations and stories taken straight from their real-life experiences with real families who have put their biblically sound advice into practice over the years. My favorite thing about this book (which I hinted at before) is that it's so practical. Big-picture, philosophical parenting books have their place, but nearly every parent I know would much rather be given concrete examples and advice to follow, especially when it comes to having hard conversations that we'd rather avoid. (To quote "The Kid," "But what do I DOOO?") Each chapter includes a list of ways to implement that particular topic or value, and each chapter ends with a "Sunday Drive" activity, a way for you and your child to connect over something fun and meaningful. There are so many ideas that you could pick one or two per week and easily plan several months' worth of activities!

I'll be honest: I'm sitting here writing this review while both my girls are napping, and even though we're only halfway through our day, I have already run the gamut from pity party to Dragon Lady. Because of the pandemic, I've only been "flying solo" and adjusting to life with two kids for about a week (even though Amy Jane is five months old). I have not been handling it like I planned to, and more often than not I've felt like a mess. So, as you can imagine, revisiting these words as I looked back over the book just now could not have come at a more perfect time:

"You can't remove yourself and your own story from parenting. As your children stomp around your house, they will inevitably step on your stuff, your pain, your sin, your unhealed wounds from your own childhood. They will remind you of areas in your life where you struggle. They will remind you of things you missed when you were growing up. You will be left discouraged, disheartened, and feeling childish...

Rise... your children are calling out to you. God did not make a mistake when he made you the parent of your children...even with your insecurities, pain, and darkness... Rely on what God has placed inside of you, and there is so much. Take heart. Have courage. Rise. You can do this. Jesus is calling you." 

Goodness! That passage alone has me fired up and ready to face the rest of the day. (I'll have to revisit it to face the rest of the week, but at least it's there waiting for me!) I really love this book, y'all, and I absolutely know it will be a blessing to you. 

More by the authors: 

I received a free copy of this book from B&H Publishing  in exchange for my review. 

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