Want a Strong Daughter? Healthy Son? Read This!

I just love it when a new parenting book comes to my attention that I feel I can whole-heartedly recommend. So I am really excited about two I have just finished reading.

Both are by the same author: Meg Meeker, M.D. One is called Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. The other is titled Boys Should Be Boys. I like them both so much that I went out and bought the appropriate copies for each of our kids—the fathers especially. Richie got the “daughter book,” Bjorn will get the “boys book,” and Lars (who has both a son and a daughter now) gets copies of both.

Why fathers especially? Well, because Dr. Meeker puts great emphasis on the all-important role of a dad in the lives of both girls and boys growing up. Through both research findings and clinical observation (as well as her all-important personal experience as a daughter), she writes convincingly of the crucial role dads play in raising daughters. “You Are the Most Important Man in Her Life” is one chapter heading; another is “Be the Man You Want Her To Marry.” Similarly, she urges fathers to picture the kind of man they’d like their sons to become. Then, she urges dads, be that man!

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is, as the title states, addressed specifically to fathers. The subtitle is “10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.” Boys Should Be Boys (with the subtitle “7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons”) is addressed to both fathers and mothers. Both, however, are important reading for fathers and mothers alike. In fact, they would make for great discussion between you.

Meeker is very realistic in her depiction of the culture in which we are raising kids today. Many of the statistics, as well as the stories she shares, are sobering. They could be depressing.

But they’re not. They’re hope-filled rather than despairing because Dr. Meeker repeatedly affirms what we say often at Mom to Mom: “You can—and do—make a difference.” They’re also hope-filled because they are full of practical tips and ideas as to how you can make that difference. And finally, they are hope-filled because they point parents in a gentle but firm way toward the real Source of our hope—the God who gave us these children.

And they encourage parents to point their children in that direction as well. There is a great chapter in the daughter book entitled, “Teach Her Who God Is.” And, in the chapter in the boys book on “The God Factor,” Meeker points out again and again (with lots of evidence) that “God is good for kids.”

Dr. Meeker is a pediatrician who writes as a scientist and clinician, but more importantly as a mother. Her heart shows through. Nowhere is that more apparent than in her chapter called “A Mother’s Son.” It made me cry. I won’t tell you why. I want you to find out for yourself.

So if you’re looking for some good reading this August—or maybe a good book to share with your husband, I highly recommend these two. I hope you’ll notice a lot of principles that sound familiar from Mom to Mom. I found myself saying again and again, “Right on!”

But I also hope you will be encouraged. I suspect you will read a great deal that resonates with what you are already doing. And you will be reminded that with God’s help you can make—and are making—a huge difference in the life of your son or daughter.