I have been a fan of Jim Burns’ Homeword broadcasts for almost a year now, listening to his interviews and book coverage via my ipod. Many of the books that I have featured in this column are as a result of hearing about them on his show. One of his oft-repeated pieces of advice is to read one marriage book and one parenting book every year to build a better family. I just read one of each, both authored by him–drawing on his years of ministry, but more importantly his thirty years of marriage and over twenty years of parenting three daughters. These books are obviously quite different in content, however both feature Burns’ A.W.E. principle, which involves showering those you love with affection, warmth and encouragement. Both are written in a friendly conversational style, complete with illustrations from Burns’ own life and as well as experiences of others he has known or counseled. Following each chapter are questions to help the reader put the principles to work at home. Those in Confident Parenting ask What’s the Point? helps the reader figure out the Purpose, and then make a Plan. After each chapter in Creating an Intimate Marriage you answer Questions for Me, Questions for Us, and complete some Heart-to-Heart Homework.
Confident Parenting is a wonderful book if you want to be the transitional generation of parenting–not only so that you can parent better than yours did, but so that your children will fare better as well. Burns wrote this book in response to the struggles he has observed in the areas of discipline and boundary setting, and challenges the reader to choose the pain of discipline over the pain of regret. That part really hit home with me. The last part of the book invites the reader to make their own family plan by examining their purpose and goals (spiritual, relational, physical, emotional and mental). He sums up his approach in the introduction to this exercise:
This book was designed to help you formulate your own parenting plan. I am not big on giving people a “cookie cutter” approach to parenting. Each family is different and each child within a family is different (page 180).
In Creating an Intimate Marriage (also available in Hardcover) Jim Burns asserts that marriage is hard. Add children, jobs, and ministry into the mix, and it takes work to keep it running smoothly and to avoid giving our spouse what he calls our “emotional scraps.” Two chapters are devoted to communication, and the information about effective listening and problem solving are worth the price of the book. This is a book that could be used by those whose marriage is already in trouble, taken as preventative advice by those just starting off, or reading it in an effort to improve on areas that have slipped. If you are willing to make a few changes, this book will help you to draw closer to your husband, giving him more of what he might need from you, as well as getting more of what you need in return.
Both books also are available in an audio CD version, recorded by Jim Burns himself. I think that listening would be a great way to go through the book together, discussing it as you go along.
Find out more about both books at Bethany House’s site:
The publisher has donated one copy of each book and one copy of each CD that can ship to the U.S. or Canada, for a total of four winners. Please leave a comment if you are interested, indicating the order of any preference you might have (book or CD or marriage or parenting subject).
The winners from our Bible Study giveaway are