Pursue God. Build Relationships. Create Culture.
-Don & Suzanne Manning
One of the women in our small group is one of the children in the crazy cool family this book is based on. She surprised us with a copy of this book to give us some ideas on how to create an amazing family of our own.
A faith-based self-help book focusing on building a strong, connected, and spiritual family.
What I Thought
Having started this book with zero expectations, I was pleasantly surprised with some of the ideas and methods. Overall, I think it will be a great tool when Jeremiah and I start parenting. I liked their model of how to build a strong family: pursue God, build relationships, and create culture. I think those three ideas are great to prioritize and remember when thinking about how you want your family to look and feel.
Pursue God – I grew up in a Christian household, but I wouldn’t necessarily describe our family dynamic as one that actually pursued God. I feel like we ended up being more of a go-through-the-motions family, but I think my parents had good intentions. While reading these sections, I learned how having a strong relationship with God and seeking him regularly in all matters can benefit your family dynamic. I also have some tips on how to actually have a strong relationship with God.
Build Relationships – The book outlines a few key relationships that make a great family, great: our relationship to God, the marriage relationship, parents’ relationship to kids, kids’ relationship to Jesus, and kids’ relationships to each other. I think most of the time when we think of family, we think of the marriage the parents’ relationship to kids, but there is so much more going on. Growing up, I think my parents really struggled in having a relationship with God and I know my brother and I did as well. I think that lack of relationship really hindered our growth and family dynamic. It also breaks my heart that my brother and I do not have a strong relationship. Somewhere around junior high, we just went our separate ways and it was real rocky for awhile. The build relationships section was one of the most important for me, because I can clearly see what I need to work on in order for my family now to go in a different direction than my family did growing up.
Create Culture – The creating culture section seemed to focus on how the different pieces of your family interact with each other. So the different parts to culture are: encourage, safe, discipline, and unity. It wasn’t until this point that I felt like I would need to pick and choose what I take from this information. They focused on encouragement and careful correction – which I agree with to a point. Their view of careful corrections kind of translates to choosing your battles and not constantly nagging your children, which I can completely get behind. Next was making you and your home a safe haven. This is one I have always wanted to incorporate into my family. I have always wanted my kids to not be afraid to come home, make mistakes, or to ask hard/awkward questions. Next was relational discipline – discipline with a purpose, not just to control. Although I mainly agreed with most of what was said in this chapter, sometimes it was a little hard to believe the authors, because they came across as if their children were perfect little angels… as someone who grew up with a difficult sibling, I can tell you that their methods aren’t that encouraging for parents with a difficult kid. Last was building unity. This chapter focused on parenting as a team, learning from your spouse, and keeping marital conflicts away from the children.
If you’re interested, you can find out more about this book here.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Crazy Cool Family received 4 stars from me; one was deducted, because of how perfect they came across for a book on parenting. There was multiple times where they boasted about not having to ground their children or by sharing “bad” stories with the disclaimer that this never happened to them, but to someone they know. If you are going to write a book on how to have an amazing family and this is how to do it, please make your family situations seem real and not out of a 90s sitcom. Despite that irritating aspect, I enjoyed this book and think their methods and ideas have a lot of potential and I would recommend to new parents hoping to build a strong family or to families that already struggling, but the parents want to make a change.
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