Friday, June 3, 2011

Recent Reading

When the air-conditioning at your house hasn't been working all week, you spend a lot of time after the sun goes down going in and out of your house, trying to find the exact moment when the outside air has finally gotten cooler than the inside air so you can open your windows & hopefully get some relief. Prior to this glorious moment, it is unwise to do chores involving heat, such as washing dishes or ironing clothes. At least that has been my experience this week.

So, I sit here, instead of making things worse by trying to work. I'd watch a movie, but the movie I picked up at Redbox today was intended to be watched while ironing, so I kind of hate to use the entertainment up now. Josh was able to get off the couch & out of the house for a bit tonight, to go see the new X-Men movie with a friend; so it's just me, Liam sleeping in just a diaper, and poor Jack, who probably wishes we would shave him.

I spent some time this evening reading the first couple chapters of Beth Moore's book, Believing God. I'm glad I finally remembered to pick it up at the bookstore today, since I'm attending a book discussion about it in just a couple of weeks. It's kind of nice to have a deadline for finishing a book, since I tend to get excited about too many books at once and then have trouble finishing them because I have 6 or 7 in a heap on my nightstand.

Anyway, back in March I wrote a little post on what I was reading at that time and I thought I'd update with the more recent reads. Sadly, I have not yet finished At Home or 50 People Every Christian Should Know. They are still on the nightstand, so there is still hope. Since they are both a teensy bit tedious it may take awhile, but I'll wade through them eventually. I did, however, complete the Beth Moore study, Living Beyond Yourself, and it was excellent. It was so full of rich truths and new insights that I really need to slowly re-read the study guide and my notes at some point - the saturation point of my brain and heart was definitely maxed out long before the study ended. Gratefully, I do believe that the Word of God does not return void, and so I know the Holy Spirit will use that time spent in study in my life, even if I don't remember everything I learned.

A few nights ago, I also finished reading Dr. James Dobson's book, Bringing up Boys.

 This book has been around for awhile and I was excited to see what sort of "practical advice and encouragement for those shaping the next generation of men" it might offer me, as it's subtitle suggests. I enjoyed the book, agreed with much of what Dr. Dobson had to say, and it was also a fairly quick read. A lot of the reviews of the book that I read online took issue with Dr. Dobson's conservative views, specifically how he dealt with homosexuality and feminism, and if you have more liberal leanings regarding either of those topics, you will probably take issue with his views, as well. I, however, did not.

 It was sort of startling and refreshing to read the words of someone from a different generation than my own: someone who still is willing to claim that there is absolute truth and that God had a really specific idea in mind when he created men, women, and families. I definitely believe these things, but I felt like this book reminded me that I don't have to apologize for it. Anyway, some of the things I enjoyed most about this book were as follows:
  • Great research - it was so interesting to read the statistics from the different studies he cited throughout the book. The therapist in me appreciated that aspect of his writing (or some might say the nerd in me ... whichever you prefer).
  • Chapters on sons' relationships with both parents - I really loved getting a look at what Josh and my roles in our relationships with Liam might look like in the future. I will probably have to look back at these chapters when I sense myself wanting to be too clingy or over-involved as Liam gets older.
  • Warning to protect my children's hearts - Throughout the book Dobson emphasized the God-given responsibility of parents to be aware of that which would attack and wound the tender hearts of their children. I definitely don't want to be a frightened helicopter-parent, but I do want to be vigilant and aware.
  • Encouragement to honor my husband (& sons) - Prior to reading this book I had thought some, but hadn't really meditated on, the impact my interactions with Josh will have on how Liam (and any other sons we have) interpret what it means to be a man. I was really challenged to spend time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to convict me and curb bad habits I have that may be unintentionally undermining who Josh is, as a man.
There were a few things about the book that I wish were a little different (ie, could be pretty tough to read if you're a single mom, lots of focus on the challenges of raising boys but not tons of practical suggestions for how to celebrate sons), but overall I thought it was great and I will definitely encourage friends or clients who are parents of boys to read it.

And what do you know ... the air-conditioning repairman showed up at our house just a bit ago and now gloriously cool air pouring through our vents. Time to pull out the ironing board.

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