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Why Children Matter

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In the Garden of Eden, there was only one "No." Everything else was "Yes." In this short book on childrearing, Douglas Wilson points out that we have a Father who delights in us and makes it easy for us to love and obey Him. If that is the kind of Father we have, shouldn't we earthly parents do the same? Wilson explains how parents should not just try to get their kids to In the Garden of Eden, there was only one "No." Everything else was "Yes." In this short book on childrearing, Douglas Wilson points out that we have a Father who delights in us and makes it easy for us to love and obey Him. If that is the kind of Father we have, shouldn't we earthly parents do the same? Wilson explains how parents should not just try to get their kids to obey a set of rules or to make their house so fun that following the rules is always easy. Instead, he calls for parents to instill in their kids a love for God and His standards that will serve them well all their days. This book also features an appendix in which Doug and his wife Nancy answer various parents' questions about various applications of the principles discussed in this book.


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In the Garden of Eden, there was only one "No." Everything else was "Yes." In this short book on childrearing, Douglas Wilson points out that we have a Father who delights in us and makes it easy for us to love and obey Him. If that is the kind of Father we have, shouldn't we earthly parents do the same? Wilson explains how parents should not just try to get their kids to In the Garden of Eden, there was only one "No." Everything else was "Yes." In this short book on childrearing, Douglas Wilson points out that we have a Father who delights in us and makes it easy for us to love and obey Him. If that is the kind of Father we have, shouldn't we earthly parents do the same? Wilson explains how parents should not just try to get their kids to obey a set of rules or to make their house so fun that following the rules is always easy. Instead, he calls for parents to instill in their kids a love for God and His standards that will serve them well all their days. This book also features an appendix in which Doug and his wife Nancy answer various parents' questions about various applications of the principles discussed in this book.

30 review for Why Children Matter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian Kohl

    This is some of the most practical, grace-based parenting advice I've ever read. Four of my favorite Douglas takeaways: 1) The most important thing you can do as a parent...is enjoy your kids. 2) Liberty is not a compromise between legalism and license. 3) When your kid touches a glass vase over and over, the lesson you're teaching them is NOT about being careful with glass -- the lesson is how to deal with someone who is frustratingly contrary or disobedient over and over. (After all, your kids This is some of the most practical, grace-based parenting advice I've ever read. Four of my favorite Douglas takeaways: 1) The most important thing you can do as a parent...is enjoy your kids. 2) Liberty is not a compromise between legalism and license. 3) When your kid touches a glass vase over and over, the lesson you're teaching them is NOT about being careful with glass -- the lesson is how to deal with someone who is frustratingly contrary or disobedient over and over. (After all, your kids will be parents themselves sooner rather than later...) 4) Discipline is about formation, not punishment, so keep calm and discipline anyways. The short chapters sting like lemon juice in a paper cut, if like me you have areas where selfishness or laziness have crept in -- but of course "Why Children Matter" points you back to the rest and sweetness found in the Gospel. I'd definitely recommend for any parents of toddlers and elementary kids. Christy and I really benefited from talking through parts of it together.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Paterson

    "The best thing you can do for your children is enjoy them!" This book is a great short read for everybody - because we're all children.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    One of the best I've read on parenting. This book really gets into the details concerning the parents behavior & responses to their kids. Amazing book, highly recommend it. One of the best I've read on parenting. This book really gets into the details concerning the parents behavior & responses to their kids. Amazing book, highly recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Ventura

    Why do children matter? Because they are cute. And they will live forever. This is the best sub 140 page introduction to Christian discipleship and parenting on the market. It can be read in one sitting and there is an excellent Q&A section where both Doug and Nancy get into the helpful specifics of childrearing. Internalizing the principles here will sanctify you, regardless of your stage in life. So read it! Why do children matter? Because they are cute. And they will live forever. This is the best sub 140 page introduction to Christian discipleship and parenting on the market. It can be read in one sitting and there is an excellent Q&A section where both Doug and Nancy get into the helpful specifics of childrearing. Internalizing the principles here will sanctify you, regardless of your stage in life. So read it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Kyriosity

    One of my great struggles is to understand God as my Father. It occurred to me that a book on parenting might help reorient my thinking about God's parenting. While this is a great book on parenting, it didn't quite work for my oblique purpose. It was enough to provide a glimpse of God's fatherhood, but not enough to really open my heart's eyes to it. I can give intellectual assent to the idea that God rejoices over us with singing, but I can't hear Him delightedly singing. I can only perceive H One of my great struggles is to understand God as my Father. It occurred to me that a book on parenting might help reorient my thinking about God's parenting. While this is a great book on parenting, it didn't quite work for my oblique purpose. It was enough to provide a glimpse of God's fatherhood, but not enough to really open my heart's eyes to it. I can give intellectual assent to the idea that God rejoices over us with singing, but I can't hear Him delightedly singing. I can only perceive Him exasperatedly sighing. Grace remains an academic abstraction; the perceptions of shame and impatience are much more tangible. How can we say we love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love our brother, whom we have seen? And how can we receive love from God, whom we have not seen, if we have not received love from our parents, whom we have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe. It must be possible to believe without seeing, but I haven't managed it yet. I am in Christ, the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased, but I struggle to believe His pleasure in me. God disciplines His children in love, but I seldom see the discipline behind any suffering, much less the love behind the discipline. "Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:15 that one father is tantamount to ten thousand instructors. If you do not have a dad, it doesn't matter how many lectures you get." Or maybe not how many books you read, either.

  6. 4 out of 5

    mpsiple

    Great. Simple and straightforward. Wilson is at his best talking about the Christian family. He shows that proper discipline is not anti-gospel, but *depends* on the gospel. (A few quibbles, but) I'd recommend it for anyone with kids of any age (but especially little ones).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    4 1/2 stars Ok, I’ll admit it, I sort of have a chip on my shoulder against Doug Wilson based on something else I’ve read he wrote. So it is always hard starting one of his books because I go into it *not* wanting to like it. But I did like this book. It was fantastic really. I admire Doug Wilson’s writing style, he is humorous, draws easy to understand imagery, and really connects his points for his readers to grasp. He’s down to earth. He’s also a bit snarky, I admit, I love that. But I’d hate 4 1/2 stars Ok, I’ll admit it, I sort of have a chip on my shoulder against Doug Wilson based on something else I’ve read he wrote. So it is always hard starting one of his books because I go into it *not* wanting to like it. But I did like this book. It was fantastic really. I admire Doug Wilson’s writing style, he is humorous, draws easy to understand imagery, and really connects his points for his readers to grasp. He’s down to earth. He’s also a bit snarky, I admit, I love that. But I’d hate to be on the receiving end of the snark. This particular book, Why Children Matter, is a quick read, but not light. It’s encouraging in the best way, for parents who feel they already know children matter ( 🙋‍♀️) it’s a good, keep fighting the good fight kind of book with a bajillion gems hidden inside, to pull out of your pocket on those hard in the trenches kind of day and say, wow this is beautiful truth, I won’t give this up! For someone without kids, or totally new to Christianity, or just new to the thought that Gods design of the family is for parents to be heavily invested in raising their kids for Gods glory, this will be a wonderful resource to spring board into your journey. Full of practical advice without being preachy and you just do it this way or you are totally unbiblical. He advocates for spanking, but in a use your brain and use common sense way, like don’t beat your kids, duh, that’s *not* the purpose at all. The purpose is to correct and gather your child back into restored fellowship, which assumes you have fellowship in the first place, and if you don’t, what are you even doing? The appendix is just a Q&A with Doug and his wife Nancy and thy give fun and funny tips they did with their own kids. I can’t remember the last time I highlighted so many passages. This is one I’d probably like to reread aloud with Sam. Case in point of gems: “So you should not begin this small book by thinking that it is a collection of clever techniques for getting the perfect family. Each person in the family is a being made in the image of God, and if we are to manage the family properly, we must heed God’s Word as our first and most important guide. That includes treating all the people in the family as though they were people, not place-holding counters.” “It is the easiest thing in the world to find a moral standard in the Bible and then to be selfish with it. If you are a parent being selfish, you are modeling selfishness. A garden of grace can contain a tree of law. A garden of law cannot contain a tree of grace. If your garden is all law, and there is a tree of grace in the middle of it, it is not really grace. It is a tree of merit, and you are going to have kids that are just good for the sake of the reward: “I was good, can I have my treat now?” “We should correct children for their sakes, not for our own.” “If nobody can approach you and question your decisions, you have an ungodly attitude. You should be fully convinced in your own mind at the end of the day because you need to make the decisions for your family, but you must be open to input from others.” “Godly parenting is a function of becoming more like Jesus in the presence of little ones who are also in the process of becoming more like Jesus.” “The more like Jesus you are, the more like yourself you are going to be. The less like Jesus you are, the more monotonous and predictable it’s going to be. Sin is monotonous. Godliness is not.” “If I have mastered all the parenting techniques but have not love, I am nothing. Godly teaching, character formation, and discipleship are simply this—loving God and loving the thing you are doing currently in the presence of another person whom you also love. Love God, love what you are doing, and love who you are doing it with. If you do that, Jesus Christ is present.” And then of course the ending sentence is hilariously gold: “Also, that made it easy for us to snoopervise.” Worth reading, yes. Maybe even worth buying the physical copy. This book is available on kindle unlimited.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Roberts

    Children do matter This is a great little book! Totally for parents, grandparents and teachers of all kinds!!! I highly recommend this. Go get it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Profoundly useful book; I would recommend it rather than Standing on the Promises, in hindsight.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Addresses many of the common confusions of common church folk. Good biblical application.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simon Esmond

    Solid, convicting, and practical.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    A condensed refresher on Doug’s other teachings on child rearing. Always convicting, accessible and practical.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Loved it, in all the ways. Conversational wisdom earned through experience. I love that Doug Wilson has a clear way of seeing an issue for what it is; seeing the sides/extremes that we naturally want to fall into, and then setting up the middle ground. Love your children. Love what you are doing for them. And most importantly, love the God that makes it all glory.

  14. 5 out of 5

    wpschrec

    A good parenting book. The topics are shorter and more concise than his Standing on the Promises. I liked this one better and will probably return to it over the years as a good refresher and reminder. His other one is much more theological and goes into more depth in some areas, which is good at first but would make rereads more tedious.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Great little book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Mulnix

    The Q&A in the Appendix is great! The Q&A in the Appendix is great!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shaina Herrmann

    Excellent. I'll be returning to this again and again!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    If you are a parent or intend to be one day, you might find this book helpful. If you are someone who is asking the question "why do kids matter?", you as well would find this book a solid answer to your question. If you, like me only read this because Doug Wilson wrote it and you've heard good things about it, you'll find it very educational, amusing and solid. Really, its good.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Boomershine

    Solid, concise, witty advice concentrating on Gospel-saturated principles. "In the Garden of Eden, there was one 'No.' Everything else was, 'Yes.'"

  20. 4 out of 5

    Drew Svendsen

    Such an encouraging and challenging book for parents, self included. I loved the focus on the gospel and the easy correlation to how it plays out in parenting. The focus on principles rather than methods is much needed today in our culture, but also the real examples at the end of the book were encouraging as well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peyton Presgrove

    Great book on the importance of our duty to “train up our children in the way they should go.” I highly recommend this book for parents who want to raise there kids to love and obey Jesus, not just dad and mom I also believe every single one of your kids should read this book before they graduate and leave your house.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Strieby

    Excellent! I highly recommend this book to all parents or those who want to be parents. This book is a quick read but full of biblical and practical wisdom that's been seasoned by years of parenting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kofi Opoku

    Good material. I found the Q&A section very helpful. Good material. I found the Q&A section very helpful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Wilson is brief, witty, and sharp--per usual.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Hull

    Some of the most helpful words on parenting I’ve read. Taken from sermons, I believe, which were my original “go-to” parenting material.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Schultz

    Very good

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Mason

    This book really made me start wanting to have kids. Rearing a passel sounds like the hardest work in the world, yet also the most rewarding.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karla Rodgers

    This is a great little book! Tons of encouragement for parents to enjoy their children and maybe lighten up a little. The Q&A in the back of the book is very helpful. This is a great little book! Tons of encouragement for parents to enjoy their children and maybe lighten up a little. The Q&A in the back of the book is very helpful.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janie Hartmann

    Easy, enjoyable, educational read. It taught me a more balanced approach to discipline. Would recommend to all parents.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joel Rockey

    Outstanding! One of the best books I've read on parenting.

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