Enjoy reading here how first-time author John Lehman (Family Pastor and Counselor at Hampton Park Baptist Church, Greenville, SC) came to write this wonderful, beautifully produced book.
GW: John, thanks for taking the time in your busy schedule to talk to us about your new book. It’s a fascinating story as to how you came to write it. Tell our readers about it!
JL: It was just a few weeks before my eldest daughter’s wedding, and she mentioned to me that she and our second daughter were talking and wondered if I would write a book for their own child-rearing. I was initially flattered, and excited, and then when I began, was quite overwhelmed! I realized that what I wanted for them more than anything else was to know God’s Word and apply it in this situation in a very timely and accurate manner.
GW: At first, did you really take your kids’ request seriously for you to write down the principles you had used in your parenting?
JL: Yes, once I realized that I was going to embark upon the project, I realized how serious it really was! And, although parenting is quite a challenging task, watching one’s child become a parent could be even more difficult! And, not that they would not do right, but I wanted to be sure that they were applying principles from God’s Word rather than just doing things the way “mommy and daddy” did them.
GW: We’ve heard that being an author can make one a solitary person, yet your book shows you as a very hands-on kind of dad and husband. Did you find that writing, in a sense, pushed you away from your family somewhat? Or was it the opposite, and that you found you could have them involved in the writing and reformulating process?
JL: I found the best time to write was when I had larger blocks of time to devote to it. I should have been able to write a quarter of a page a day, and it would have been easy, but, instead, I wrote many pages at a time. I took several “vacations” away from church and home to work through this. Although it took me four years to finish, all told, it probably took me four months of actual time. What helped the most through the process was talking about the principles they remembered, which allowed me to be sure the book was about principles rather than about practices.
GW: In reading through your work, it seems to me that you do not claim to have been a perfect parent. What’s your view on that?
JL: I recall early stating the principle that is within the book that “If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God . . .” and I did that quite often. I’m thankful that the Lord gives guidance, and forgiveness, and therefore I was able to seek His will throughout the time, and when I erred, first go to Him for His forgiveness, and then followed through in asking my children and family that same.
GW: John, what would you say was the most challenging aspect to you personally in writing this book?
JL: The most challenging thing about the book was making sure it would be profitable. I didn’t want to just write a book for author’s sake, but wanted to do it to help others. If anything, that helped me to be sure I wasn’t just going through the motions, but was seriously putting concepts and principles down on paper so they could be followed to help in years to come. The Bible stands, and all it says is true, so if parents during my generation, or five generations from now, will use God’s Word, and the principles in it, they will be able to parent according to God’s standards, no matter what society is like.
GW: In America, the family is increasingly under attack. Can you be confident that this book will give ammunition to families to ward off the inroads secularism is making in our postmodern society? Could you give one or two examples?
JL: Just like folks today use “if . . . then” statements for formulas, God has done the same. God has promised in His Word that if man obeys His commands, then He will bless them. Imperfect parenting can still result in proper outcome if the principles of God’s Word are applied and continually sought.
GW: Now that the book is complete, do you have the approval of your kids? What do they think of the book?
JL: I’m encouraged that they have all read the book, and have encouraged me by the principles that have been written down. Some of our discussions have centered on the parenting we did as parents, and that has been enjoyable, and sobering, as I realized that God has helped in our child-rearing in and through us, and also IN SPITE of us!
GW: What would you like to say in closing, John?
JL: Thank you, interested present and prospective parents, for considering this book. The only true source of anything is God’s Word, and I’ve sought to use it for the foundation and core of the instruction written down. May the Lord bless you as you faithfully prepare and parent your children for God’s glory!