Book review – A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family

Book review – A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family

Books on parenting are published every year and cover just about every angle imaginable.These books range from the highly technical psychology textbooks to the more simple format found in graphic novels. If you want to know if your child is keeping up with the medically prescribed milestones you can find a book for that. If you want to know what to expect at every stage of development you can also find a book for that. Among the barrage of “how-to” guides and advice ranging from “just plain bad” to “the wisest thing ever”, it’s refreshing to see the emergence of a different kind of category– one which gets back to the basic of just connecting with your children and forming relationships with them. That is where I would place A Spiritual Heritage by Glen and Ellen Schuknecht. Their primary concern is to encourage parents to form relationships which result in lasting and enduring relationships. However, A Spiritual Heritage goes beyond that and encourages parents to take a visionary approach. This requires a certain degree of intentional planning and forethought– and the Schuknechts provide just the right ingredients to get parents started on establishing their vision. Their experience and wisdom combined with a love for truth make this book a good option for parents who simply want to connect with their children in a meaningful way.

At the center of the Schuknechts approach is a strategy summarized with the acronym RITE. Parents are encouraged to Relate, Inspire, Teach, and Equip their children. They approach this in very general terms and resist the temptation to turn this into a formulaic approach to relationships. A question that always comes up with parenting books is the issue of discipline.While this is not covered in depth in the book, it is clear that the Schuknechts do believe that there is a time for discipline. However,  they temper this with an understanding that God does not always deal with his children by “doling out” justice —  he also doles out mercy and grace. A Spiritual Heritage takes a rather broad approach to these three responses to our children’s attitudes, and leaves the reader with a simple but not very specific piece of advice

God deals with us using a perfect mixture of justice, mercy, and grace.That is our spiritual heritage in Him.

What does this mean for the parent wanting a specific answer to deal with a specific sinful attitude in their child? It means that they will have to rely on scripture and a lot of prayer to discern which is the right response for each given situation. All parents will find themselves leaning more heavily toward one or the other. If you are a parent who always insists on justice, you will need to work extra hard to ensure that you are also demonstrating God’s longsuffering nature to your children as well. If, on the other hand you are a parent who is constantly showing mercy to your child, you will need to refocus in a different manner by learning to do the hard thing by disciplining your child.

This approach is risky to say the least- I am confident that everyone will find themselves leaning more toward one direction and feeling that A Spiritual Heritage doesn’t go far enough to support their own approach. Does this mean that you should skip on this book and look for another option? I don’t believe so. Read this book with a conviction that what you see in scripture and the way you choose to raise your children is supported by God’s Word– but at the same time, read this book with an equally strong conviction that you just might have a few things wrong and could use a proper balance of Justice, Mercy, and Grace.


Where to Purchase

Click here to purchase A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family at or Search Amazon for the lowest price here.  Additionally, you can purchase this book directly from the Publisher (Kregel).

About the Authors

Spiritual HeritageGlen Schuknecht is head of student discipleship and discipline at Veritas Academy and an instructor and facilitator for Family Wings Ministries. He lives with his wife Ellen in Manchaca, Texas.

Ellen Schuknecht is head of family ministries at Veritas Academy, president of Family Wings consulting, and a national speaker for the National Association of University-Model Schools. She has contributed to several books on parenting and education, and has appeared on Focus on the Family. She lives with her husband Glen in Manchaca, Texas.




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

13 thoughts on “Book review – A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family

  1. Caramie

    The key is always relationship is it? I find I can be messed up but if my kids and are in relationship that is good they follow me into my messed up life. They follow me too into the blessed life if I am in good relationship with them. Scary. We can be headed to hell and they will follow unknowing because of love they believe all I say. Good reason to be holy and to make right choices so they follow into everlasting. No?

    • Karl

      I agree Caramie. Lasting relationships are key. Probably more than anything else. That doesn’t guarantee their salvation though. We can take them to church each week and be very close, but their salvation is a mystery.

    • Good points Caramie. A relationship is good, but it must be centered around faith in Christ.

  2. Karl

    Justice, mercy, and grace. It’s one thing to acknowledge the necessity of these and to agree that since they define God they should define us. But how in the world do we as parents discern when to use which one? I don’t envy young parents. We tried this and failed more than we got it right. But we were always there to admit when we failed and by God’s grace our children and grandchildren are all walking with the Lord today. I probably erred to far to the justice side. My children were spanked for just about every act of willful disobedience and had priveliges taken away often.

    • Charisse LaMontagne

      Wait. You’re not serious are you? I don’t think I ever met anyone who admits to spanking lol! That’s like admitting you’re a molester or a wife beater. Or are you joking? Giving room for self expression and GENTLE parenting are the real keys to forming lasting relationships. God does thus for us. He is a GENTLE God and gives us freedom to explore who we really are.

  3. Karl

    Of course I spanked them. It’s the Christian thung to do. And they spank their own kids. And do you know what? They all act perfectly civilized and are a joy to be around.

    • Charisse LaMontagne

      First of all I am Christian and every church I’ve been a member of has ever advocated gentle parenting. Just this last week, their dad had them this weekend and even his church gave him a brochure about alternatives to spanking. Gentle parenting IS the Christian way. And if your kids are now spanking theirs, well that’s all the proof you need that they are NOT civilized.

      • Charisse LaMontagne

        And I think it’s even illegal. At least in developed enlightened nations like America. I have no idea where you are from and maybe it’s a cultural thing there. I don’t want to be insensitive to your culture but God shows us the way of peace and love for all people. That includes the children.

        • Ryan Smith

          Eh… not illegal anywhere in the U.S. and furthermore, recommended by every cop I know. If I remember correctly Karl is from Germany. Germany is a developed nation.

  4. Ryan Smith

    Oh this is going to get good!*

    *rubbing hands together. Pops popcorn. Shoves five pieces in his mouth at the same time while staring wide eyed at the phone and refreshing every 12 seconds.

  5. Mitchell

    Charisse sadly most Christians don’t agree with us but that is changing. Your example of churches being pro-child are encouraging! Our church recently extended it’s pro-child approach and opened a day care center. They even give free day care vouchers to parents who attend on a regular basis and have their kids in the Sunday School program. Many churches like ours are moving beyond the old way of doing things.

    I’d encourage anyone here to read this blog post on the topic of spanking:

    • Mitchell, thanks for the link. While I disagree with much of what he says I do think that this is the best I have read on the anti corporal punishment side. The studies cited have some severe methodological issues. I spent some time reading the actual studies online and it’s fair to say that the population under observation does not reflect a biblical view or corporal punishment. If done right it can result is very stable and secure children.

      All that aside it was good to see the anti corporal punishment side engage scripture. That is a much better starting point than the arguments that I have heard in the past.

  6. Remember to keep it civilized folks. We can disagree on things like parenting without personal attacks. The point of the justice/mercy/grace is that God has all three in perfect balance. We tend to lean more toward just one. If we are constantly administering justice for our childrens sins they would feel crushed— just like we would if God responded to us with justice every time. On the other hand if we constantly showed mercy our children would feel crushed as well because they would never know the weight of their sins.

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