It amazes me, guys will spend their lives studying their field of pursuits. But when it comes to reading about being a husband and father, they'll say, "Meh, I got this." Gentlemen, we don't got this.
The same person who doesn't read these types of books is the same person who struggles with feeling like a failure as a husband and father. I beg you, before you grab the 50th John Grisham novel (no offense Mr. Grisham, I loved The Firm. Tom Cruise was great in the movie. I'm sure the book was better.) read these books. Thank me later.
These are the books I've either read or they are on my short list to read. They've come highly recommended from wise friends, professors and the like. So you can trust them.
in a passive-purple-four-ball world (Mark Chanski)
Chanski writes, "On the tabletop of life, many of us act more like the purple four-balls than like skillful billiard players." I read this book in seminary. I remember my biggest takeaway. We must actively resist the world "happening to us" and instead recognize we've been given an assignment on this earth—to be good stewards of what God entrusts to us. Whether it be a wife, kids, or material possessions. How we view what God has given us directly affects how we treat or mistreat it.
(Henry Brandt and Kerry L. Skinner)
My notes in my personal copy of this book remind me I read this several times while dating Tonia and the months after marrying her. Henry Blackaby, at the time at least, said of this book, "This is the only book on marriage I recommend."
Why do so many marriages today end in divorce? Because most people, even in the church, are following the world’s models of marriage instead of God’s ordained design. Marriage God’s Way helped me before I was ever married, understand what I was signing on for. This book changes your view from the first page. Blackaby writes in the foreword, "The God who met Abraham and Peter in the simple moments of life is exactly the same God who is wanting to impact your marriage." Yeah, that'll preach gentlemen.
I'm gonna lose street cred on this one. I haven't read this book. I know, it's on the top of my list now. Shepherding a Child's Heart comes highly recommend from the one and only Mr. Kent Evans, Founder of Manhood Journey, and numerous other people in my life.
Written for parents with children of any age, this book helps you focus your attention on the heart issues and character behind our kids behavior (instead of just their behavior). So it helps you address the root cause instead of the symptoms of child behavior. And, it's a great resource to show you how to ask your kids great questions so they’ll open up.
Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (Timothy Keller)
Two words: Timothy Keller. That's all. Culture would have you believe:
- everyone has a soul mate;
- romance is the most important part of a successful marriage;
- your spouse is there to help you realize your potential;
A Biblical Perspective (Stuart Scott)
Dr. Scott was one of my professors in seminary. I know him to be an exemplary man. The Exemplary Husband is the official companion book for The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace is a biblical blueprint for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
I find this book to be a resource manual for how a husband can understand your responsibilities and the issues you may face in marriage. The appendix alone is remarkable. There's several checklists and daily reminders for how to treat one another and numerous worksheets for self-evaluation so you can check how you're doing as a husband and father.
I'm recommending this book because I recommend anything from Dr. Scott. Parents and children need a lot of help from the One who is perfect and who understands our need—God himself.
In The Faithful Parent, Peace and Scott emphasize your family's most important relationship: its relationship with God. This book is on my list to read soon.
I'm a fan of Paul Tripp. I recently heard Tripp speak at my church for a Men's Conference. Tripp talked deeply about parenting and how we are called by God to be faithful, not necessarily successful, parents.
Parenting will be helpful for those seeking to overcome the pressure of being perfect and overcoming our own failures, living free to live for God instead of man.
I read this as a twenty-something. I should read it again. Here's the deal: Don’t know where to a start as dad?
Point Man will show you the great responsibility you have as father. It will encourage and equip you to lead your family with practical insight on everything from a father's influence and maintaining purity to husband-and-wife teamwork. Farrar reminds us, "Jesus is looking for men who will not die, but live for their families."
Solving the 24 Problems Men Face (Patrick Morley)
The Man in the Mirror has helped many men understand and know what to do about his twenty-four most difficult problems.
A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood (Robert Lewis)
Here's the idea: The medieval custom of knighthood offers a unique approach to shaping a boy into a strong, godly man. Boys went through a rigorous, years-long process of clearly defined objectives, goals, and ceremonies―with the hope of achieving knighthood.
Along the way, they acquired a masculine vision, an uncompromising code of conduct, and a noble cause in which to invest their lives. I'll do a disservice to you, the reader of this blog, and my own son, if I don't read this book soon.
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have three children. He serves at McLean Bible Church as a City Pastor and lives in Washington, D.C. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter @RyanSanders.