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close up // Dennis Mansfield Latest project: Beautiful Nate (978-1-451-67851-2, $21.99, Howard Books, March).
have as His kids. How Nate chose to act as an adult no longer reflected on my value and self worth.
Why did you choose to write your family’s story of losing your son Nate when he was 27? My goal in writing Beautiful
Could you explain what you mean by “child-centeredness” and “fear-based parenting”? Being “child-centered” focuses parents’ attention on their kids in an un-
Nate is to encourage families and individuals that even when we do everything right in raising our children, things can often turn out very wrong. Having been so close to the child-rearing 1-2-3s of evangelical Christianity for a decade, my bride and I ended up ultimately realizing that much of what we did was done as child-centered, fear-based parents—and these behaviors did not work. In an ironic twist we may have ultimately succeeded in our unintended goal: raising children—when what was needed was to raise adults.
healthy way. We treat our children as though their wants and needs trump the collective needs and desires of the family. The child becomes the center of the family, receiving undue attention with an ongoing overblown sense of self-importance. Child-centered parenting often creates selfish teenagers—and a world of hurt on the horizon. “Fear-based parenting” acts in opposition to faith. Parents who are fear-based construct scenarios of deep distress and pain before anything could ever even happen to their children. Parents create fear within their children by trying to overly protect them from the difficult things of life. This childhood fear can often manifest itself as an unusual interest by the child in the underbelly of life—things they were told to stay away from. In the end, the opposite is often achieved. What do you mean by “performance-based faith”? Since the early 1970s, evangelical Christianity has inadvertently created a competitive environment of parenting within the body of Christ. Our Christian subculture has created a series of opportunities which feed into this competitiveness: memorization programs, Christian schools and homeschooling end up pitting kids against one another, allowing statuscraving parents the false sense of security that their child is growing in their faith simply because they may be scoring well on scriptural tests.
You fought for traditional family values for many years. What did you do in that regard and with whom did you work? Having been involved in
California politics since 1978, I have experience as a lobbyist, campaign manager, candidate, businessman and legislative chief of staff. In 1990 I was honored to become the founder and executive director of Focus on the Family’s Family Policy Council (FPC) in Boise, Idaho…FPCs are located in state capitols across the United States. It was my duty to develop a two-pronged approach to influencing pro-family public policy: 1. Develop legislation and 2. Influence public opinion. How did your experience as Nate’s father change your view of parenting? Nate was an explorer as a little boy. I was unendingly cautious of his explo-
rations. As a young, cocky father who had intentionally studied many of the Christian child-rearing books, I thought I had all the strong and safe answers. In time, as Nate grappled and grew into adolescence, I was worn thin and began to wonder if I even knew the questions! By his 20s, Nate helped me learn that he was going to do what he wanted to do—legal or otherwise—and it was fully his decision to do so. Hard as that was to experience, it more accurately reflected the freedom that the Lord allows us to
source during their pivotal college years. The Bible includes 222 school-year devotions with a storytelling approach, a practical reading plan for the school year, a quick-start guide that shows students how to
Zondervan aims to meet the needs of college students with the NIV College
Devotional Bible, on sale in stores the middle of last month. Available in hardcover for $34.99 and navy/red Italian Duo-Tone for $49.99, the college edition aims to help students deepen their walk with Christ and find God’s Word as their most important
Why is the question, “Do you really want to raise children?” important to consider?
A friend asked me an important question at a key time in my raising of Nate: “Do you really want to raise a good child?” Of course I was surprised by his question, the girth of which involved more than I suspected. “Yes” was my Sunday school answer. He ripped into me. “No, we shouldn’t want to raise good children or bad children, for that matter. c l o s e u p, p a g e 1 8
get the most out of reading the Bible and a subject index. Homeschoolers
are a key audience for the Christian market, and Zondervan is appealing to that demographic
with the NIV Homeschool Mom’s Bible, in stores March 12. Its devotions aim to encourage and strengthen mothers who educate their children at home. Available in hardcover for $34.99 and hot pink Italian Duo-Tone for $49.99, the Bible includes a full year’s worth of devotions written by a homeschooler for homeschoolers. b i b l e b e at, p a g e 1 6
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What if when you most needed help, a blue bear appeared with a note from God? Chester Blue is a very special stuﬀed bear. He is a source of understanding, courage, and a family-bonding agent. But most importantly a messenger from God. –Sandra, Amazon.com A journey of miracles, hope, and trust that will stay with you long after. -S. Larsen, Barnes&Noble.com I don’t know how anyone can read this book without feeling blessed. - Judy, Amazon.com
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