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Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God with Your Children Paperback – January 1, 2005
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We all experience everyday talk. The question then becomes what does our everyday talk display. Does our everyday talk display the truth about the glory and splendor of God or does our everyday talk convey lies to our children about who God is? Younts hopes that this book will encourage parents to consider their everyday talk and see it redeemed by the power of the gospel.
The book is consists of fourteen relatively short chapters. The chapters cover everything from how we talk about the gospel, to how we talk about sex and music. Some chapters are more practical and others are more theological. At the end of each chapter there are helpful application questions--thus making this an ideal book for a group of dads to get together and consider.
I appreciate what John Younts does in this book. It encouraged me to stop and consider the effect that even "casual" complaining about the rain would have on my children's view of God and the world. Certainly, this book helps parents to understand the heavy responsibility that God places upon parents. We are prime influencers in our children's lives--even if many influence their children more by their absence and disengagement than anything else. I appreciate that Younts raises the bar to the place that Scripture does.
I also appreciate the practicality of Younts book. He gives wonderful illustrations of how our everyday talk can actually undermine the gospel. I was rebuked--and at the same time helped--several times when I found my own speech in the categories of gospel undermining. It so easy to slip into foolish talk.
Younts helps us to see that our everyday talk "teaches your functional understanding of the gospel to your children." He then asks the penetrating question, "Does your everyday talk center upon grace or performance?" After encouraging us to listen to our children to determine what they believe about the gospel, Younts then lists several examples that reflects a performance-based understanding of the gospel instead of an understanding that is based upon grace. Here are a few examples Younts lists:
Mommy, I'm sorry I make you angry.
Daddy, I won't do it again.
Why is everybody mad at me?
Do you think God is mad at me?
He hurt me, so I hit him back.
I'll be good, I promise. Please don't be mad at me.
I guess I am just not good enough.
Mommy, I just can't do it. I try but I just can't.
These rip your heart out. I have not heard our children (well Isaiah--Hannah only grunts at this point) yet echo these statements. But I have taken Younts' advice and listened to how he speak about the gospel. At times I do detect a legal understanding of the gospel. That does not surprise me but Younts' work has opened up my eyes to avenues for gospel proclamation.
At the end of the book Younts makes this statement, "The challenge is great. The power of God is even greater." Phrases like this needed to be highlighted throughout the entire book. It seems, though, that Younts assumes a gospel-centrality in the parents reading this book. I could easily see many parents (myself included) read through each chapter of the book and then begin a holy quest to "work on" that chapter's topic. I would have loved to have seen more instruction to parents in how to apply the gospel in their own hearts--which would infuse our everyday talk with the message of Christ.
This book is hard hitting and has several really great points. Younts is, I believe, correct in most everything he encourages mom and dad to do. We must see our everyday talk redeemed. That much is true. But mom and dad need grace just as much as junior.
I would have liked to have seen every chapter end with encouraging parents in the completed work of Jesus on their behalf. But as it stands most chapters end with probing questions meant to ask you, "are you blowing it"? Of course the answer is yes in most of these categories. As sinners we will fall in everyone of these areas. The question is how do we confess to our children our lack of faithful everyday talk? How do we as parents soak up grace?
This book is very beneficial and with a little supplement can be an extremely helpful assistant to parents. But if any pastor or leader is taking a group of men or women through this book it would be beneficial for them to be intentional about buttressing the chapter with the freedom and grace found in the gospel of Christ.
This book is very helpful and very practical. It does help parents learn how to teach the gospel to their children using everyday talk. Yes, I wish it would have been a little more intentional in reminding mom and dad that their rescue is found in Christ. But at the end of the day--if parents heed this one caution--I think many will benefit from the help this book offers. Our everyday talk does need to be redeemed and this book serves as a healthy reminder and a helpful assistant in redeeming just that.
I encourage all parents to prayerfully read this book as you look to worship God in your life.