Arguably, the two most daunting times of motherhood are the newborn baby stage and the middle school years. (Although the terrible two’s would get an honorable mention). Rebecca Ingram Powell’s first book, "Baby Boot Camp: Basic Training for the First Six Weeks of Motherhood" covered the new born stage. She has recently published her next parenting book called “Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose.”
I have the honor of kicking off Rebecca’s blog book tour, and had the chance to interview her.
Rebecca Ingram Powell (RIP): Kelly, thanks so much for having me today on your blog! I love that your blog is kicking off my tour!
Your book title talks about parenting with passion. I think most parents would admit that many days they wake up less than enthusiastic about facing their middle schoolers. Where do you find your passion, and how do you keep it?
RIP: I think a lot of times we forget that while passion is an emotion, it is also very much a decision that we make. We have to choose to be passionate, even when the passionate feelings are absent! When it comes to parenting, I find that keeping my goals in mind makes the biggest difference. When my children were little, I came before the Lord requesting that He show me what my vision for them should be. The result was this prayer:
My vision for my children is that they become mature Christians: leading godly lives, holding the Bible as the standard by which all else is measured, capable of offering wise counsel to others, and totally accountable to God for their whole conduct and every thought.
My prayer is that each one chooses submission to the Lord over his or her selfish will and that they would enjoy abundant life through a close, personal relationship with the living Christ, loving Him with all of their hearts, minds, and souls. May these children be “pillars of the church, soldiers of the cross, and true servants of Jesus.” This I pray in that blessed, wonderful name of Jesus, Amen.
The quote slipped in there is from Luis Palau’s prayer for his sons. I find that keeping that vision in front of me gives the passion and purpose to my parenting. I’m not doing this for nothing! I have a goal in mind. The occasional bad day, bad attitude, or bad mouth cannot discount the importance of the matter at hand: raising my kids for Christ.
With all the changes facing Middle Schoolers, "Season of Change" is such an appropriate title. What is one of the most important issues facing middle schoolers today, and what can parents do to help them address this issue?
RIP: One of the most important issues our kids face is the same one that we did when we were growing up: self-image. Our kids do not understand who they are, largely due to the fact that they don’t understand who God is. Parents can address this issue by teaching their kids reverence.
Reverence is a word that is largely obsolete in today’s society. But reverence is a virtue that gives our children the foundation for the purpose of their being. What I mean by that is this: Understanding that there is an Almighty God who created humanity with purpose and privilege in mind gives us a great sense of worth and value! King Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We have to start with God. When we give our children a right understanding of who He is and therefore, who they are, they understand:
They were created for God’s plan. He has a direction for their lives!
They were created for God’s purpose. He wants to use them to accomplish great things!
They were created for God’s pleasure. He not only loves them, but He LIKES them—pimples, frizzy hair, knobby knees, and all!
Your book promotes ideas that seem to be in contrast to the world, like modesty, reverence, accountability, and "Drastically Different Dating" (which is not dating by worldly standards, but protecting purity). How can we encourage our children to be different, when at this age they simply want to fit in, not stand out?
RIP: In many ways, Kelly, Christian parents should be encouraging their kids to be different from the beginning! Let me give you an example: Rich (my husband) and I have never celebrated Halloween. Our convictions have always been very firm in that. That decision was something that our families and many of our friends did not really understand. During Children’s Church one Sunday in October, when my daughter was in 1st grade, the class was making jack-o’-lanterns for their craft. Danya told the teacher that she knew her mom would not want her to participate. The teacher said, “Well, you’ll have to go sit down over there (away from the other children) because this is all I brought.” When Danya told me later that day what had happened, I replied: “Danya, I am so proud that you didn’t do something you knew I didn’t want you to do, even though I wasn’t there, and even though everyone else was doing it. I know that when you’re a teenager, if someone asks you to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer, you’ll say ‘no’ because you’ve learned how to be different.”
As Christians, we should be set apart. We should be different. The key to marketing different-ness to our middle schoolers is in making that “set apart-ness” risky, real, and relevant. I think that comes in active ministry. It comes in letting them see what a difference being different makes! Take them to the soup kitchens, the crisis pregnancy centers, and to juvenile court sometime. Let them see what “cool” looks like when it is undressed, so to speak. Show them the real consequences that people face when they make poor choices. You want to cultivate a heart of compassion while at the same time raising a spirit of determination to live God’s way and choose to be blessed.
Plus, I can’t say enough about praying for your kids. It’s critical to cover them in prayer—every day. Pray for God to work in their hearts. Ask Him for role models in people your kids know personally who are actively following Christ. Also, ask God if you are helping or hindering the “cool” aspect of Christianity. What does your own walk with Christ look like? Does it look like something your kids would be attracted to—a vital, vibrant relationship with the living Lord? Or does it look like being a Christian is something you’re only doing on Sunday and not worrying about the rest of the week? God has a way of revealing our true colors.
Kelly, thank you so much for getting this blog tour started!
Thank you for the honor, Rebecca. God bless you as you minister to families.
To purchase Rebecca's book, visit this link at Proverbs 31.
To purchase from Amazon.com (currently out of stock) click the book image to the right.
Follow Rebecca's blog tour - next blog stop (Tuesday) "To love, honor and vacuum."
Rebecca Ingram Powell is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mother of three, and a nationally known author and speaker. She is the author of Baby Boot Camp: Basic Training for the First Six Weeks of Motherhood (for new and expectant moms), Wise Up! Experience the Power of Proverbs and Get Real! Embrace the Reality of Ruth (for teen girls), and Dig Deep: Unearthing the Treasures of Solomon's Proverbs (for teen guys), and her newest release, Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose. Since 2003, Rebecca has been a monthly columnist for ParentLife magazine, writing the popular feature, "A Mom's Life." Her articles have appeared in HomeLife, BabyLife, and The P31 Woman, and other Christian publications as well as numerous websites including Pastors.com and Crosswalk.com.