Back to School Feature: Reliable parenting books

Mary Trammel shares with readers her experience of raising kids in an ecumenical family, and learning to “walk the walk,” not just talk about it.

My husband and I entered parenthood knowing almost nothing about raising kids, having grown up basically as “only” children. We did read some parenting books, but their theories often seemed less than helpful. It wasn’t long before we decided the most practical, day-by-day parenting approach for us was prayer.

Even though my husband and I were then members of different faiths, we both naturally gravitated to the Bible as a parenting handbook. We read the Scriptures together as a family every day, even when our son and daughter were infants, believing that if we gave them a strong moral and spiritual education, everything else would turn out all right. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Over the years, my husband’s confidence gradually grew in the book I usually studied alongside the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. These two books helped us grasp this fundamental point about parenting: that God is the infinitely caring and omnipotent Father and Mother of all of us. Christ Jesus began his famous prayer with these comforting words: “Our Father which art in heaven.” Science and Health gives this sense of that line: “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (p.16).

What a relief to realize that our children’s real Father and Mother (and ours) is forever and harmoniously in charge of His-Her creation. There is a higher authority we—parents and children—can humbly ask for answers to the many questions that arise in a family. In fact, the greatest treasure we can give our children is to teach them to look to God for everything they need.

But we also learned we couldn’t preach to our kids about turning to God. We had to “walk the walk,” not just talk about it. The Christian Science Sunday School taught our children Moses’ Ten Commandments, as well as the Lord’s Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount. But as parents, we needed to practice those great teachings. And if we didn’t, believe me, our kids noticed!

Read on to find out how that worked out for the family . . .

By Mary Trammell
From the September 15, 2014 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel, originally published in The Christian Science Monitor.