One would think that dropping another parenting book into a sea of already-published opinions would be unnecessary, that everything has been said. All the Bible verses have been quoted. All the aspects have been covered.
But then a book like Raising an Original happens and all those thoughts disappear. Our world changes with each generation and each person is so uniquely created (isn’t God amazing?) that his or her perspective is worth listening to!
Julie Lyles Carr, a mom to eight, and her husband are raising their children to know God cherishes them and their exclusive characteristics. They’ve worked very hard to parent “each child according to their unique God-given temperament” (as the book cover describes). And with a well-crafted writing talent, Julie shares personal stories, Bible verses and lessons to teach the reader how to do the same thing.
In the middle of the book is an assessment. She adapted the “DiSC” personality test to work for children and walks parents through assessing their child(ren). She doesn’t just stop there and say, “Okay, now they’re categorized!” Rather, she goes into further detail with examples and suggestions for parenting each type of personality. It’s really neat.
What’s our real mission as Christian parents? I love this quote by Julie:
“Many of us have a sense that our general mission is to raise children who love and worship God and are upstanding, moral citizens. But the world’s definition of success can creep in to that mission, adding layer upon layer to our perceived responsibilities. Of course, that’s not all bad. Education, activities, hobbies, and friends add color and texture to our lives. But our culture has a way of shifting and shaping itself. The goals that are lifted up as measures of success today will look different tomorrow. And we need to parent our kids on the bedrock principle that God places plans and purposes — not trends, curves, and drifts — for His kids…
…Here’s the real mission of parenting: To make God known to our children. And to discover and explore who our children are through God’s measure. To uncover the individual potential woven into each of our kids and to help cultivate that seed of purpose into full bloom.”
Whether we realize it or not, there is a powerful tendency to parent our children as our friends parent their children, or as the church says we should, or as our parents did. “We often parent based on the traditions we see around us.” But that’s not really what God asks us to do; rather, we are responsible to forget “normal” and do what is the best for each particular child.
“God has sent your child into your arms and into your home and your heart for a reason and for a season. Whether your child is a challenge or a charm, an easy-going peacemaker or a complex essence, God has imbued him or her to be a presence in this generation, in this culture, in this epoch. And He appointed you as that child’s parent. That child’s guide. That child’s coach and cheerleader and advocate and disciplinarian. To do those jobs well, you’re going to need to know your child — his personality, his challenges, the unique strands that went into the knitting of him. You’re not just going to need to know popular philosophies of childrearing.
You’re raising an original.
And that’s going to take an original approach.
I love when she gets deeper into discussing the results of the personality test, because she addresses the different combinations — for example, if you took the assessment for yourself and your daughter landed in the exact opposite one. How would you handle that? “It’s natural for your personality to find it easier to relate to some personalities than to others. And your understanding of your own personality in conjunction with your child’s can help both of you sort through conflict and communication.”
Julie gives specific examples or scenarios that could crop up for different combinations of personalities. Just bringing these issues up to the surface, realizing their existence, is already a great step in the right direction to parenting your child to his or her full potential, but she also gives some pretty great suggestions for navigating various scenarios.
There are truly a lot of great chapters in this book. I flew through it! My copy is now all marked up so I can find my favorite sections again but it’s a high likelihood I read the entire thing again (which isn’t common for me). It’s a new addition to my favorite Christian parenting books. I’ll leave you with one of the best quotes (page 123):
It’s great if my kids remind people of me, but ultimately, I want my kids to reflect Jesus.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.