James Lucas, executive director of the Relationship Development Center, has more than twenty-five years of experience in family and youth ministry. He is the author of several books, including Proactive Parenting, The Parenting of Champions, and Walking through the Fire: Finding the Purpose of Pain in the Christian Life. Jim and his wife, Pam, have four children and live in Prairie Village, Kansas.
I am excited because it is really possible for us to have deep connection with our children. The great English novelist E. M. Forster (Passage to India) said that “connection is everything.” Down deep, this is the reaon that most of us have children in the first place. We shouldn’t have to settle for less. In 25 years of working with families, I have come to see that many devoted, loving, caring parents end up with little or no relationship with their children. Some end up with battles and scars and broken hearts. Why? What happened? In many cases, we expect it to just “happen” because we are living together. But nearness is not closeness, and it takes solid, practical ideas to sculpt a lasting relationship. Relationship doesn’t just “happen.” The “daily rub” of living and training and disciplining can actually take away from our connection, if we aren’t working actively to develop it. We need tools to use, something to point the way. That’s why I wrote this book. I wanted to give you help in building this crucial connection. You can pick this book up, open it anywhere, and find an idea you can put to work immediately. Or you can go to one of the topics – like using words creatively, choosing actions and projects that do more than just fill time, involving other people (even their friends) in building your own relationship, using pain and mistakes to actually improve your connection, building relationship with those children who are very “different” from you – and explore a series of ideas on the same area. And each idea is short – you can take away a useful nugget in 3 or 4 minutes. This book was not written for a certain “type” of parent – single, divorced, married – or for parents with children in certain “categories” – toddlers, young children, teenagers, young adults. If you are a parent, I wrote this book for you. There is even a chapter on ideas for rebuilding a relationship, for making a “comeback” after it has been blown. There is almost always another chance out there, if we will take it – wisely. The goal of parenting is not separation and getting them out on their own. The goal is connection, a renewal of relationship as we and our children mature, and interdependence – not dependence, or independence, or codependence, but the power and beauty of interdependence: we need each other, forever. And we can give our children another reason to obey, along with consequences, because they don’t want to put a “break” in the relationship. We can also help our children by filling some of those “holes” in their hearts, so they don’t have to go on a long search in a cold, hard world. So here’s to you and your connection with your children. May it grow deeper as the years go by. You can have it. You can do it. (c) James R. Lucas
Wow! This book is jam-packed with ideas on how to really connect with your kids throughout their lives. It offers some practical and some crazy ideas, but all are bound to entertain your kids as you grow closer together. This is a great book for parents of school-aged children. It has lots of activities for that age, but that shouldn’t prevent parents of younger children from picking up this book and mulling over the ideas and suggestions. It’s never too early to start thinking about what kind of parent we’ll be and develop skills and traits when our children are very young! Another great selection on parenting and activities to do with our children!