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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
By Todd Wilson
Familyman Ministries
www.familymanweb.com


611 S. Main Street
Milford, IN 46542
574-658-4376

I hate buying Father's Day cards for my husband. Not that he doesn't deserve a wonderful, sincere, heart-felt card, because he certainly does. He's a great husband and father who adores his kids! Our children and I enjoy having the opportunity to tell him how special he is to us and how much we appreciate him as a father. Last year we even had an election on Father's Day for the Greatest Dad of All Times and All Places, complete with campaign speeches and a real election (don't worry - he won!). It was great! My problem with Father's Day cards is that the vast majority of them go something like this, "Yeah, we know that you're pretty much of a jerk most of the year, but we are so magnanimous as to love poor, unworthy you, and so here's an overpriced card that we are guilted into buying for you." Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? No, me neither! So many of the current books and other products for dads start with the assumption that most dads are pretty inept at the job and really don't deserve much appreciation - only lots of condemnation and advice. One important, notable exception is Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries. He is a husband, homeschooling father of eight children, and former pastor who is devoted to encouraging dads in their all-important job through writing, speaking, and his website, www.familymanweb.com. I've always enjoyed his upbeat, encouraging, humorous, and insightful articles in TOS Magazine and e-newsletters. We were excited to review four of Todd's books: Father Power, The Familyman's Bathroom Book of Fathering, Sentenced to Care, and Taming the Tech-Beast.

Let me start with the easiest one first– Taming the Tech-Beast. If you've ever been concerned about how much time and attention technology in all its manifestations is seeking from your children, you will enjoy this book. Todd discusses why today's kids are so drawn to technology and how you can help keep things in the proper places. Technology can be a tremendous tool for our children, but it also has many dangers that must be considered.

In The Familyman's Bathroom Book of Fathering, Todd uses 28 short chapters to remind dads about some very important issues, such as keeping communication open with your kids, having fun with them, letting them know how important they are to you and to God, etc. Through the use of often self-deprecating humor, Todd reminds dads that you don't have to be perfect to be a great father. This book would be particularly good for busy fathers who need to be reminded to slow down and enjoy the journey with their kids.

Father Power encourages dads to take advantage of the very special, unique role they have in their children's lives to help nurture and teach their kids. Dads have a tremendous influence over their children, for good or ill, so choose wisely how you will wield that influence. In Father Power, Todd discusses how to use this power for the long-term benefit of your children by understanding things such as their need for attention, for discipline, for time, for affection, etc. This is a practical, hands-on book that would be great for encouraging any father. Accountability questions help draw out the essence of each chapter and would be great for individual study or for a group setting.

Now for the toughest book, Sentenced to Care. This lovely novel departs very much in style, but not in message, from the other three books. Without giving away too much, the protagonist, Billy Luck, tries to kill his son to avoid paying child support. Through some extraordinary circumstances, the judge decides to sentence Billy to care for his child. Slight Spoiler: Over time, Billy finally breaks through his self-centeredness and learns to love. Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart as Todd paints an accurate, but careful, portrayal of the desperate circumstances of Billy's broken life. The story would be appropriate for perhaps high school age or above, although I would recommend studying the book with a parent due to the emotional and difficult themes. As I love to tell my children, though, hard doesn't mean bad; hard just means hard. I would enthusiastically recommend this book, although moms and dads may need a tissue at times. Not only is it well-written, it is a powerful story of redemption!



Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old SchoolhouseMagazine, LLC, January 2011


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