Everyday Talk by John A. Younts
Everyday Talk is a helpful little book based on Deuteronomy 6:6-7 and directed at parents raising children. The key to parenting, Younts insists, is to have the commands of God in their hearts and to impress those commands on their children (pp. 13-14). Parents do this best through everyday communication as they instruct their children in the ways of God in the normal activities of life. The things of God are best explained as we work, play, eat, deal with joy and sorrow and generally work though issues of living. Younts does not address the subject of family worship (sometimes called the family altar) nor does he offer a complicated program. Instead Younts believes the best means of influencing our children for Christ is through simple God-centered communication. For example, the parent is to help their child see the fingerprints of God in creation, in disappointment, in failure or success and in the multitude of life situations. The driving force behind the biblical concept of Everyday Talk is Ephesians 4:29 which calls us to speak edifying rather than unwholesome (he calls rotten) words.
Younts addresses specific hot buttons such as television, sex, discipline and music. He emphasizes that the world is filled with deception and parents must prepare their children for such a world (chapter nine). He lays out good advice for teaching children to obey (chapters four and six). Each chapter ends with application questions for personal reflection or group discussion.
I am not sure I agree with the author when he writes, “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that some influences are neutral—neither good nor bad. Anything that doesn’t influence your child for God is an influence away from God” (p. 21). He bases this idea on the statement by Jesus when He said, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me” (Mt 12:30). Younts seems to not realize that on another occasion Jesus turned this around and wrote, “For he who is not against us is for us” (Mk 9:40). We must be careful not to frame our Christian walk around one verse in Scripture. Surely in a long and complicated life there are many neutral factors.
Everyday Talk is an easy read but packs a vital message for parents.