Rebecca Hagelin’s first book, Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad, started a conversation between the concerned mom and parents frustrated by a coarse culture.
Now, Hagelin takes that dialogue to the next logical level with 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
What sounds like a dark, even ominous tome about the assault on traditional values is nothing of the sort. Instead, the author delivers practical advice for today’s traditional parents, not a hand-wringing sermon about all that’s wrong with society.
Hagelin already spelled out the problem — a modern culture which force feeds sexuality, disrespect and secularism to pre-teens.
It’s pointless to spend every waking hour fighting back, Hagelin argues. Instead, she counsels parents to battle when feasible, but more often just to do the right thing for their children. That’s the best armor a parent can wear in the culture wars.
Her latest book reads, at times, like a blog where readers offer feedback and tips. Far be it from Hagelin to insist she knows all the answers. Parents aren’t perfect, and neither is she. So she graciously steps aside and lets others share just the right anecdote to highlight her point. The submissions almost always hit home.
It’s a template that works well with her prose — educated but casual, informed but not professorial.
The author’s disdain for much of pop culture is obvious, but the book isn’t angry or filled with protestations. It is, sadly, what it is, and she just wants parents to guide their children as safely as possible through the cultural minefields.
It’s one thing for a child to see a tarted up starlet selling her movie by wearing a barely there dress on “Live with Regis & Kelly.” It’s another for the parent to explain to the child just why the starlet is dressed as she is.
“You can be the mean principal or the sweet, inspirational teacher,” she writes of her gentle approach.
Hagelin stops the narrative to share both relevant statistics and some personal anecdotes gleaned from raising her own three children. 30 Ways also offers workbook style diversions to let readers take the book‘s content in new, more personal directions.
Adults would seem to be ideal collaborators in the fight to educate and care for our children. But one chilling example included here tells us that isn’t always the case. A simple visit to her daughter’s doctor goes awry when the doctor requests Hagelin leave the room so she can counsel her teen daughter privately.
The chapter on children and television is particularly alarming, but once more Hagelin offers sage advice She doesn’t recommend hurling your television out the living room window. Instead, why not use technology wisely, set boundaries, and watch along with your children?
And forget about movie ratings as a sole source of film wisdom. It’s a maddeningly inexact system. Better to rely on fellow savvy parents, or even screen the films yourself before exposing your children to them.
Maintaining a child’s sexual purity could be the most difficult task assigned to a God-fearing parent. The statistics Hagelin shares regarding premarital sex aren’t pretty. Early sexual behavior often results in disease transmissions or pregnancy, not to mention emotional traumas.
Parents aren’t helpless, she says. Even if a child consumes more than six hours of media a day, their greatest influencer remains Ma and Pa, not MTV.
Kids need their parents plenty when it comes to surfing the Web. The book devotes two full “Steps” to the Internet, from navigating the murky waters of social media to the benefits of an Internet filter. Hagelin spells out the danger but also gives ample resources to educate parents.
Perhaps the most simple, and effective, step included here involves a daily quiet time. She describes the flurry of benefits from taking a few moments to read, reflect or even close one’s eyes, Then, she turns the book over to her readers who share some touching anecdotes about what quiet time has meant to them.
It isn’t just today’s parents who face daunting obstacles, she warns. Being a child now means dealing with classmates from broken homes, or juggling school pals who may be succumbing to the culture’s sexual pressures.
30 Ways doesn’t abandon the fight entirely. Hagelin offers cogent examples of how concerned parents — and kids — fought back. Take Ella Gunderson, an 11-year-old who made a difference when she contacted Nordstrom to complain about their skimpy pre-teen fashions.
Even those lacking Hagelin’s sturdy sense of faith could learn a thing or two here about raising one’s child. Anyone on the same cultural page as Hagelin will find 30 Ways essential reading.