Several months ago, I sat down to read Connect With Your Kids by Jim Wideman. The book was so practical and engaging that I finished it in one sitting. Not only that, I wore out a highlighter noting all the quotable passages from the book. Unfortunately, the format of this review will not allow me to share ALL of those. Needless to say though, I think this is a book that any parents, and everyone who works with kids, should move to the top of their reading list.
About the Book
The quip on the back of the book describes its purpose quite clearly:
Jim Wideman has put together a practical resource to help us slow down and ensure that we are establishing the types of connections with our kids that will allow us to disciple them and help them to establish a Biblical worldview.
About the Author
Jim Wideman is a fixture in the Children’s Ministry community as the author of numerous book, a frequent conference speaker, a mentor and a prolific blogger. I’ve made no secret that I am a huge fan of his work. He offers sounds advice in an engaging way, and I was excited to get my hands on this book.
Brother Jim starts this book with a history of how he came to be in children’s ministry in the first place. Years ago, he was working in children’s ministry when he was asked to cover the children’s ministry. He began to pray that God would raise someone up with a vision for the children’s ministry, and much to his surprise, the person God raised up was him. He explains:
“Over the years I’ve tried to quit so many times that it’s not even funny. But I can’t – I just can’t rid of that vision. Ministering to children is the driving force of my life.”
And, thank goodness for that. For decades now, he had spoken into the lives of children and those of us who work with children, and this book is no exception. One of the other things that resonates with me about Jim Wideman is that he is also a father, and by all accounts a very good one. He has two grown girls and unashamedly explains that is he reaches every child in the world but not his own, he will be a failure. As a father of four, this resonates with me.
Brief Review of the Book
Teaching Our Kids to Be Problem Solvers
The first chapter in this book starts by defining the two types of people in this world. There are people who see a problem and wait for someone to solve it – the followers. The second group of people are leaders, and this is the type of person we should strive for our children to be. The book starts with an explanation of what a leader is. Jim offers a great concise definition:
“A leader is a person who comes face-to-face with any type of challenge or problem and solves it. He or she looks to God’s Word for directions and approaches the situation by faith. As a result, this person can handle anything.”
He then proceeds to offers some of the signs to look for in a leader/problem solver:
- Choosing your problem
- Having the right attitude
- Training through adversity
- Looking for Biblical examples
As parents, we should strive to teach our kids how to be problem solvers.
Rooting Our Children in the Things of God
From there, he moves into the things we can do as parents to make sure our kids “are established in the things of God.” By doing so, we will give them the tools to make decisions and develop a biblical worldview. As much as I would like to share the details of each of these steps, for purposes of this review, I will just list them. I encourage you to get the book and delve further into each step. With that said, here are the 12 steps Brother Jim offers to root our children in the things of God:
- Make Jesus the king of your household
- Love your spouse the way you want your kids to love their spouse
- Spend time with your kids
- Be consistent in discipline
- Allow your children to be different as God has created them
- Encourage your kids to develop their unique giftings
- Become a student of your child’s world
- Admit your mistakes and correct it when you’re wrong
- Talk to your kids about everything
- Make your home somewhere that your kids’ friends are welcome
- Don’t teach your children to be rebellious by rebelling against authority yourself
- Don’t exasperate your children
What makes this book great is more than just this list. For each items in the list, Jim offers detailed and practical advice on how to accomplish it.
I have already hinted at it. OK. OK. I’ve already come right out and said it. If you are a parent, or someone who works with kids, you should read this book. If you are in a position in children’s ministry to recommend a book to the parents of kids in your ministry, this would be a great one. Jim Wideman is a great resource when it comes to the things of children’s ministry, and this book proves that he is equally adept at providing advice to parents on raising their kids. Buy this book. Read it. Read it again. Make lists of the suggestions in this book, and find a way to implement them in your own life. If you do, you will be a better parent, a better person and a better follower of Christ.