Thursday, January 17, 2013

Candid Confessions of An Imperfect Parent

I like this guy.
I don't remember how I came across Jonathon McKee's site, probably from an article he'd posted somewhere else, but I have kept up with his writings now for awhile. What hooked me on McKee's blog is that this former youth pastor researches teen culture, then passes on the important stuff to parents and youth leaders. I've learned about pop lyrics, pop artists, school dances, and all kinds of things through Jonathon's writings.
And now that I've finished his book, Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, I'm glad for the resource.
I am always, always encouraged by parents whose priority is to raise their family set apart.

What I liked:
- Includes some practical tips on investing in our kids during the teen years. One of my fav chapters is titled, "Hot Tubs and Nail Salons ~ Arenas where Communication is Cultivated." McKee encourages parents to be intentional in creating a regular platform for communicating with and building into our kiddos.
- His charge to parents to not give up, that even (especially!) during the teen years, to not give up and give in to lowering boundaries.
- McKee and his wife have three children ~ one in college and two in high school, so they're a step ahead of our family but still very much "in the trenches" of raising teens.
- He's doing the work for us ~ keeping us up to date on billboard music and teen trends. It is so helpful to be armed with information, even if we're not faced with that particular situation. It's a relief to be proactive and knowledgeable.
- Plenty of comic relief. Some laugh-out-loud stories, one in particular regarding a summer camp experience and BB guns that I read out loud to my boys.
-  McKee's parenting style meshes with those of us who love and appreciate the way Young Life loves kids. Relationship, relationship, relationship. And building that relationship in a consistent, gradual, day by day manner.
- This book would benefit families regardless of public, private or home school choices. But in the public school arena where our kiddos are exposed to so much, I am comforted by McKee's birds-eye view into what teens are dealing with these days, as well as his prodding to live set apart. I'm also comforted that he and his wife are navigating their children not to fear the world's culture, but to simply keep aware of it and live a life set apart.

What I didn't like:
The title. It's cute and catchy, but misleading. Naming the book, "Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent" demonstrates that McKee is indeed "in the trenches" and doesn't claim to have all the answers. But that demeanor surfaces clearly through his writing. I don't think the title captures the book's true message, as the focus is not that he's confessing to be imperfect, but instead he's providing encouragement and training for our journey in building deep relationships with our kids. His subtitle, "Building Relationships, Buying Breakfasts, and other Secrets for Connecting with Your Teenager" (too long for a title) suits the book much better.
Not a big deal. And worth the read!

McKee's website, The Source for Youth Ministry, is chock-full of resources - book lists, articles, movie and music discussions, etc. 
You can also subscribe to his blog at

Again, McKee's bottom line in this whole parenting journey is building relationships with our kids. And these years are truly flying. I'm encouraged by Jonathan to know my children, to make TIME to spend together. Find a hot tub or a nail salon!