The Good Dad: Becoming the Father You Were Meant to Be
by Jim Daly with Paul Asay
I should just say this up front, I’m a mom writing a review of Jim Daly’s new book, The Good Dad, and I loved it. In this book he shares the wild and crazy story of God’s grace—how a guy whose dad was an alcoholic, whose step-dad walked out on the family the day of his mother’s funeral, and whose foster father was insane (really) ended up becoming the president and CEO of Focus on the Family.
He speaks mostly to dads, of course, reminding them of how much their children need them. How they need to step up instead of give into that “fight or flight” reaction when facing something as unknown and daunting as parenting. He gives some practical tips, but mostly shares stories from his own experience–both the good and the bad.
Even with a few discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this is not a Bible study on parenting. It’s not a step-by-step parenting manual that promises success for your children if you follow this handy dandy guide to discipline. This is not going to birth a new “school on parenting.” If anything, it feels more like mentoring: One dad sharing what he’s learned.
I think it’s absolutely refreshing to read a parenting book like this that reminds you that kids are unique. The method that worked for one child or one family doesn’t necessarily translate into success for another. He reminds you that discipline strategies and relationship styles need to be tailor-made, not cookie cutter.
Most importantly, he reminded me of the importance of grace. So often we Christians can foster legalism in our own homes, demanding that our kids be perfect and treating simple things like spilled milk or a forgotten toy like the end of the world in need of dire consequences. Daly reminds us to teach our kids the Gospel. No one is perfect. That’s why we need a Savior.
He reminds dads especially, but really all parents, not to over-react, but to respond with wisdom, grace, and patience. Sometimes that means letting them fail and helping them pick up the pieces after. As I read, I was reminded that I don’t discipline my kids so they act right in church and don’t embarrass me in public. I discipline them to draw their hearts to Christ.
He returned again and again to the idea of a tether of love that binds our children in relationship to us even in tough seasons, and he encourages the mending of broken relationships through forgiveness before it’s too late. Overall, he reminds you that no matter how you’ve grown up or what mistakes you’ve made in the past, God can help you become a good dad—not a perfect dad perhaps, but a good one and even a great one.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”