Let me just say first off: Great book! I picked this up on Father’s Day 2009 but just finished it this last week (March 2009). Not that it was hard to read, or long, just that I tend to bog down reading 5-6 books at a time.
I’m the father of three sons so this book touched my heart in a special way, but I believe it is a good book for any father – or mother, or son, or daughter! – to read. The last chapter alone is extremely insightful – The Lessons of a Dad: 12 Lessons of Fatherhood.
Both Thom and Art write smoothly and creatively, keeping your attention as they share their stories.
The brutal honesty of Thom is especially attention-grabbing. Art relates a story and then Thom gives his memories of the same story, revealing that sons tend to remember the good more than the not-so-good while dads tend to be opposite.
A phrase from another author echoed through my mind as I read Thom’s take on not being home much during the raising of his three sons - “success at work and failure at home is total failure.” (paraphrase from Patrick Morley). But again, Thom feels he should have been home more but Art remembers him being home plenty, and I think that Art is right. Thom was involved in his sons lives in such a way that they have grown to be godly men and will pass on a legacy to their own sons that will be a tremendous blessing to them. God will certainly be showing love to many generations of Rainers (see Exodus 20:6).
The title of this book is extremely accurate. We tend to think that, as fathers, we are raising our children, but the truth is that they are raising us! Our children can bring out the best and worst in us as fathers. But because of the mercy and grace of God given to us through Christ Jesus, the best can far, far outweigh the worst, as it has in the Rainer family and as I hope it does in my family.