Book Review – Everyday Talk by John A. Younts
Words matter. The things we say in unguarded moments, the words we say in love, in frustration, at the breakfast table, and before bed reveal our attitudes, our worldview, our theology, our beliefs. This is everyday talk.
Everyday Talk is a parenting book about talking freely and naturally about God with your children. It was written to encourage parents to recognize the influence their everyday talk has on their children and to accept the responsibility they have to use that influence to tell their children about God and His ways.
“Along the path of everyday life, take the opportunity that God gives you to instruct your children.” (pg. 118)
The author uses Deuteronomy 6:4-7 as the key Scripture passage for his book.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
The author states in the first chapter,
“The principle of Deuteronomy 6 is that your everyday comments are the ones that teach your children most profoundly about your view of God. Your interaction with God in everyday, ordinary, non-church life is the most powerful tool of influence that you have with your children. It communicates what you really believe.” (pgs 16-17)
This book is full of Biblical, practical advice for parents who want to talk to their kids about God. Each chapter has some questions at the end that encourage parents to think about the content of that chapter as it relates specifically to their kids, and practical ideas to implement the main idea of that chapter.
There are chapters on sharing the gospel with your kids; listening to your kids; giving directions; preparing your children to leave home; and talking with your children about the deceptiveness of the world, sex, and music.
An on-going issue for parents is discipline and obedience. In chapter 6, called “Big Sins, Little Sins” the author discusses the importance of consistent discipline. He talks about the tendency we have of categorizing sin. There are things we consider big sins and things we consider little sins. It is tempting to let little sins slide, but when we do, our children are being taught that obedience is not a requirement. Discipline for “big sin” and overlooking “little sins” teaches children to obey only when it seems necessary to them; it’s okay to disobey if they don’t get caught. (pg. 72)
The issue of obedience doesn’t end with parents. Ultimately we are to love and obey God.
“You cannot discipline properly until you see yourself as God’s agent to your kids…Your focus in discipline is to hold your children accountable to God.” (pg. 67)
“God wants to be loved & obeyed at all times, not just when the consequences seem great to us. You must discipline your children every time they are disobedient.” (pg. 69)
Consistent discipline is important because it gets to the heart of the issue. It helps our children understand they we obey because it is honoring to God, not simply to avoid the consequences of disobedience. Parents need to look at what is influencing their actions when they discipline and children need to look at what is influencing their actions when they choose to obey or disobey. It is the consequences or is it the best way to love God.
“Hold out for (your children) the goal of a heart that loves Christ more than the pleasures and good consequences of this life. Ask God to help your everyday talk to reflect love of God more than love of good consequences.” (pg. 77)
“The message of this book is that the most profound teaching your child receives is the everyday talk from your mouth.” (pg. 95) This book is an encouraging, practical, conversational appeal to parents.
“Parents, your children should hear God’s truth from your lips…They must hear God’s truth in your everyday talk. You must look out the window to your world and talk to your children about the truth of God in relation to what you see.” (pg. 120)
Children’s ministry volunteers: If parents in your ministry are looking for a practical book on Biblical parenting and talking naturally with their children about God, I recommend Everyday Talk.