Today is the official launch day for Why I Didn’t Rebel!
That’s right. As of today, my baby’s book is officially out!
We’ve been talking about the book a ton in the newsletter and on the blog, and you’ll hear some more posts about the difficult parenting questions over the next few days, but today we wanted to share with you more what the book is like, since you already know what the book is about!
So we’re giving you a peek into the book and sharing an excerpt from one of the chapters in Rebecca’s book. And at the end of the post, there are some really awesome deals for you right now during launch period, so make sure you don’t miss that!
Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 7 on Reality-Based Parenting (or raising kids to be able to cope with the real world).
I met Amelia when I was 12 years old. My family had just switched churches, and I was pretty scared when we stepped in the door of the new church. But then 14-year-old Amelia enveloped Katie and me in a big hug and introduced herself. From that day on, Amelia was my role model: she was older than me, she had Disney-princess hair, and she could even sing as loudly as I could, which, as anyone who knows me can tell you, is quite a feat.
Amelia grew up with a very competitive spirit.
What comes naturally to Amelia is to work and work and work until you see the results you want. Why would you ever admit defeat?
This perfectionist streak started young. In fifth grade, Amelia’s youth group decided to throw a mini Olympics. It contained the typical types of games and sports—beanbag tosses, races, and soccer, to name a few. Amelia’s competitive side got very excited about this, despite the fact that she hated sports of any kind. She rallied her team, and they tried their hardest all day.
And she placed second.
“My little perfectionist self was devastated,” Amelia laughed. A few days later Amelia was still very upset, and her mom asked her what was wrong. Amelia replied “we came in second, so we might as well have lost. We’re losers.” Amelia’s mom, however, had a different opinion.
“Woah,” her mom said, “first off, second place is not losing. You did great, but if you had come in fourth it would also have been OK! In fact, if you had come in last it would have been OK, too. You were not there to win. You were there to have a really good time. Did you have fun?” Amelia begrudgingly agreed that they had, and although she didn’t internalize the message at that moment, her mom and dad continually reminded her that it’s OK not to be the best.
When she started at university many years later, she had high hopes.
Always one of the brightest kids in her class back in high school, she was accepted into a prestigious university to study biology, one of her passions. But as prepared as she thought she was, classes were a shock. She wasn’t the big fish in a little pond anymore—she found herself a small fish in a big pond. She was surrounded by the best of the best science students in Canada, competing for top of the class with students who were, quite frankly, smarter than she was. She had to deal with not being the best. “I did feel a lot of pressure,” Amelia explained, “but it was mainly from myself. I always knew that my parents were proud of me even if I didn’t get the highest grade.”
In her second month of her first semester, she failed a test for the first time. It came as a shock. Although she brought her grade up in that course during the rest of the semester, that first test was a huge turning point in Amelia’s life. “I was devastated by that test,” Amelia explained, and she called her mom, distraught. Her mom, however, didn’t try to convince Amelia that her grades would improve. Rather, she told her daughter, “You will not succeed at everything. And that’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to be the best at everything, you just need to do your best and let God take care of the rest. Make sure that you don’t sacrifice your well-being for your grades—God has equipped you for what He has planned for you.”
So Amelia, despite her perfectionism, decided that she needed to let go of her dream of having the highest marks in her class. “I decided that getting the best mark wasn’t most important to me. I wanted to have time to be involved with Christian fellowship groups and to keep up with friends, and I just didn’t have time for both.” Amelia shrugged, “So I worked my hardest, but I was never top of a class again.”
Overall, Amelia achieved good marks—she passed her classes, and she graduated with her degree in biology and was accepted for a master’s in biology, as well. About a year in, she realized that her master’s degree was not what she wanted to be doing. It wasn’t an easy decision, since quitting meant failure in Amelia’s eyes, but eventually she admitted wasn’t where she was called and left it behind.
When Amelia was faced with threats to her identity as “the smart one,” it didn’t shake her faith.
That’s because for Amelia, the biggest part of her identity was never her grades. Instead, her parents had raised her to know that her identity was found in Christ alone, and in who He was and what he did for her. They would say prayers together every night, and as part of their ritual Amelia’s mom and dad would say, “I love you” and then ask Amelia, “Why do I love you?” And Amelia would answer, “Because I am a gift from God.”
Today, Amelia is embarking on a new chapter. She has been accepted into a prestigious midwifery program, and I can’t picture anyone who is better suited for it. She is not where she thought she was going to be when she was 16, but she knows that God is pleased with her, and that is all that really matters.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable of three men whose master leaves them with different sums of money to look after while he’s gone. One man is given one talent, the other is given two talents, and the other is given five talents. Now, in the parable, the men with two and five talents both go and they invest the money and by the time the master comes back, they have doubled his money. But the man with one talent goes and hides his money, because he is scared of his master, and the money does not see any growth.
We spend a lot of time focusing on the man with one talent and the man with five talents, but in my experience we don’t talk a lot about the man with two talents.
But something I’ve realized is this:
The master was equally pleased with the man with two talents and the man with five. He gave them both the same praise: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” It wasn’t about how much they made—it was about how they used what they were given.
I think that’s where we go wrong a lot of the time. Michael’s mom [a story that was told earlier in the chapter] thought that unless he was a five-talent guy, it wasn’t worth trying. Amelia and Amanda’s moms, though, knew that it wasn’t about how many talents you were given—it was about how you used them. It was about understanding the love and acceptance of God, and working your hardest to be a good and faithful servant for Him.
Maybe we all need to start Amelia’s bedtime ritual.
“I love you,” said her parents, “And why do I love you?” they asked their daughter.
And she would answer, “Because I am a gift from God.”
It isn’t about how much. It’s about how.
Rebecca interviewed 25 young people for the book, to find the commonalities between the kids who rebelled, and the commonalities for the kids who didn’t. She also scoured social science research to find trends and studies that showed which parenting techniques tended to result in the best relationship with kids.
And then she simply told those kids’ stories.
Besides Amelia, you’ll hear about Parker, whose parents expected her to live up to her potential–but still laughed hard and played hard. You’ll hear about Hailey, whose mom expected the worse. You’ll hear about Shiloh, whose parents tried to raise her to love God, but ended up making God all about rules, and about Patrick, who knew everything about the church but very little about Jesus. And then you’ll hear about sisters Lily and Jennifer, who grew up without a great church family–but a vibrant belief in God anyway.
You’ll hear about parents who knew that it was about God, not about the church. You’ll hear about parents who knew that families should be teams, not clubs (and you’ll learn why that matters). You’ll learn what faith-based parenting, as opposed to fear-based parenting, looks like. And you’ll see that you can actually get there!
This is such a fun read. It’s filled with stories, mingled with solid research, and it will point you to one central thing: whether or not your children rebel, their relationship with you matters. And the cool thing is that even if kids do rebel, as long as they have a strong relationship with you, they’re much more likely to come back to the fold (just like the prodigal son!).
I do believe that this is one of the best parenting books I’ve ever read (and Gary Thomas agrees!). Like my friend Erin Odom from The Humbled Homemaker said, “This is a must-read for every Christian parent.”
But I’m going to be honest with you: The first day of sales really matters to the publisher and to the big online retailers who sell it. The better it does in the first day, the more likely stores are to stock it in perpetuity, and the more likely Rebecca is to get media interviews.
So if you’re going to buy it anyway, can I give you an incentive to do so today?
We’ve got a TON of freebies for you during this launch period!
If you buy the book TODAY and forward your receipt here, you’ll get:
- A bonus Q&A chapter where we tackle some hard parenting questions that you asked us!
- A book study guide (for individuals or groups)
- An action plan to help you implement the principles in the book to get a better parent-child relationship
And I’m going to give away two of my own ebooks today, for free!
- Raising Kids You Actually Like (a great companion for Why I Didn’t Rebel!)
- How Big Is Your Umbrella: Weathering the Storms of Life (about walking through grief when my son died, and what God whispered back to me)
Why I Didn’t Rebel isn’t just for parents of teens. It’s also for parents of younger kids, so that they can see what they can do NOW to start setting up the teen years to be super fun!
So step one:Order Why I Didn’t Rebel Now!
Step two:Email us your receipt!
We’re so excited about this. My dream is to see Christian parents start raising kids with authenticity and relationship, rather than rules, teaching kids to run after Jesus in a way that’s natural and enticing, rather than stifling. I think we can do it!