Here are the ten most frequently asked questions about John Rosemond's Parenting by THE BOOK™:
How do you use scripture in your Parenting by THE BOOK™ seminar?
The material I present in Parenting by THE BOOK™ is supported by and grounded in scripture. I make a concerted effort not to take scriptural passages out of context, interpret scripture in a "liberal" manner, or use isolated scripture passages to promote an idiosyncratic point of view. I rely on several Biblical scholars to review my use of scripture to make certain I am not corrupting its intent. In the seminar, scripture is used to illustrate certain points, enhance the understanding of the participant, and emphasize that God does indeed have a plan for parenting which He wants us to follow.
Do you believe that scripture promotes a specific disciplinary method?
No, I believe that God's plan for child rearing is clearly set forth in scripture, and that He commands parents to discipline their children in a loving, compelling fashion. Although this is a controversial issue, and not one I pretend to have a final answer to, I am not convinced that God prescribes any one specific method of discipline. In Parenting by THE BOOK™, I stress the need for parents to project a certain disciplinary attitude or mindset, making it clear that without a proper attitude of "Godliness" in one's parenting, no disciplinary method will work for long. Then, and only then do I illustrate effective discipline with examples of specific discipline methods. I believe that parents should discipline such that their children come to trust the righteousness of their justice, whether or not they always like the discipline or not at the time. "Trust-full discipline" is a matter of conforming your actions to the "3 C's" of (1) clear, authoritative communication, (2) persuasive (compelling) consequences, and (3) consistency. This is how God disciplines us. He is clear as to what He expects and what He disallows; He disciplines in memorable, persuasive ways; He is consistent in His discipline of His children. Discipline is leadership. Authority, but not authoritarian. Servant leadership, but not servitude. It is the process by which parents cause children to willingly follow their lead. It is not a specific methodology, but methods are indeed necessary.
What are some of the scripture passages that you use in the Parenting by THE BOOK™ seminar?
Here are a sample, several of dozens:
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
This passage is the foundation of God's plan for child-rearing. It clearly states that the marriage is to form the nucleus of the family, and that parents are to have one perspective toward their children and act as one body (one flesh) toward and on behalf of their children. One of the great tragedies of modernity is that in many families, the mother-child relationship has displaced the primacy of the marriage.
First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. (Matt. 23:26)
By paying primary attention to the development of their children's character and by helping them into a relationship with God, the "outside" of the child's "cup" will be also clean: i.e., the child will do his best in all endeavors. Many of today's parents are "parenting Pharisees," in that they, with every good intention, spend more time and energy helping their children cultivate various skills and accomplishments (good grades, achievement in extra-curricular activities, etc.) than they do in helping to properly develop their character (respect for others, responsibility, charity, generosity, etc.) and their relationships with God, through Jesus Christ.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)
Today's parents are often "exasperated" in their discipline of their children. As a consequence, they exasperate their children and in so doing, fail to truly convey beneficial lessons.
One of the central passages in use in Parenting by THE BOOK™ is Ecclesiates 3:1: There is a time for everything, and a season to every activity under heaven. There are seasons to parenthood, just as there are seasons to "every activity under heaven." In Parenting by THE BOOK™, I spend a good deal of time explaining the timing and objectives of each season (there are three of them, and they are quite distinct), making the point that one of the "stumbling blocks" of contemporary parenting is that parents no longer conform their parenting to the requirements of each season.
Note: For more of John's use of scripture in Parenting by THE BOOK™, go to "John's Essays " on this site.
Obviously, children are no longer reared as were children in the 1950s and before. What caused this change?
Beginning in the 1950s, American parents were bombarded with messages from the media which caused them to mistrust, then reject, the scripture-based child rearing that had defined American culture up until this time and to instead embrace a pseudo-scientific, secular point of view promoted by psychologists and other mental health professionals. This point of view - anchored by the anti-scriptural concept of self-esteem (see Matthew 16:24-25) - became dominant in the mid-1970s. This ideology is completely antithetical to scripture-based child rearing. For example, it places the mother-child relationship above the husband-wife relationship (Gen. 2:24), it asserts that the child is without sin when he/she comes into the world (Psalms 51:5), and demonizes as being psychologically harmful any and all discipline that causes discomfort to the child (Hebrews 12:11). As such, it has wrecked havoc on the family, the community, and the culture. In Colossians 2:8, Paul the Apostle warns us against this very sort of thing: "See to it," he says, "that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ." As usual, we failed to heed the warning, thinking it not even applicable to these enlightened times.
Tell us about your family.
Willie (Wilma) and I have been happily married for nearly 38 years. We have two adult children, Eric (37) and Amy (34), both of whom are also married and have blessed us with six grandchildren, five boys and a girl, ranging in ages from 3 to 11 years of age (as of 11/06). Eric and his family live about ten minutes from us in Gastonia. Amy and her family live about five minutes from us in...Gastonia!
Where do you attend church?
Willie and I attend Grace Anglican Church in Mt. Holly, NC. I identify myself, however, as a "non-denominational Christian."
What is your testimony?
I spent many years as a cultural Christian, believing that Jesus was mortal, a great teacher, God's messenger, but not believing in what I thought then was Christian "mythology" concerning his divinity. I also believed in Darwin's theory that man evolved from one-celled organisms that spontaneously appeared in the so-called "primordial soup." Fortunately, I am very scientifically-minded. I have great respect for objective evidence. When I began examining the evidence for and against Darwin's theory (e.g., the writings of Philip Johnson, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Michael Behe), I could come to no conclusion other than that the story of creation as set forth in Genesis 1 and 2 is completely accurate; that the scientific evidence does not match any other explanation of man's origin, much less the origin of the cosmos itself. That startling realization led me to re-examine my assumptions about Jesus from an objective point of view. I began my "research." I read and I read some more, but resisted making the commitment. Then, shortly after its publication, I came across Lee Stroebel's The Case for Christ and, well, that settled it. I realized that my very life depended on asking Jesus to come into my life, which I did, and which he, of course, did. Need I say? my life will never be the same, because of God's grace.
What is your statement of faith?
Jesus is my Lord and my Savior. He works in my life on a daily basis through the Holy Spirit, slowly sanctifying me, patiently preparing my heart for a full kingdom life. Jesus, God's Only Son, gave his life for me, thus offering me atonement and justification, that I might achieve eternal life through adoption by God the Father. I believe that the triune God speaks through scripture and that his Word is Truth, eternally.
You have been giving "secular" parenting talks and seminars for over 25 years. When did you begin doing biblically-based parenting seminars, and why?
In the early 1980s, when I first began speaking nationally on the subject of child rearing, ministers and evangelical Christians frequently mentioned to me that although my message was couched in secular terms, it was in fact consistent with The Word. I now realize that God was leading me, slowly, toward a parenting ministry that was dedicated to His Name. The leading took nearly 20 years, proof that God is nothing if He is not patient with His children. Prior to accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I had begun using scripture overtly in my writing and speaking. Shortly after my conversion experience (which was not dramatic, but no less life changing), I realized that The Bible is a parenting manual, just as it is a manual for marriage, a manual for conducting ethical business relationships, and so on. Seek and ye shall find! I discovered that God's plan for child rearing is found throughout scripture, not just in certain isolated passages. At this point, I realized that I had been called to help bring His plan for child rearing into the light and, therefore, to life for parents so that they may experience the joy of obeying God in their family-making. It is significant to note, however, that I will continue to do seminars for largely secular audiences in secular settings. When I do so, the message does not change, but I couch it in terms that allow people of no faith or insecure faith to hear it without having a negative knee-jerk reaction.
Is Parenting by THE BOOK™ appropriate for Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Evangelical audiences?
Absolutely! It is appropriate for believers of all denominations and non- believers as well. It is truly my intention to reach out to parents of all faiths and non-faiths. This is my evangelistic ministry, to which God has appointed me, as His obedient servant.