Bless This Mess Book Summary By Molly Baskette and Ellen O’Donnell

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Bless This Mess is a guide for parents in raising their children to have a faith-based upbringing, no matter what challenges and changes the world may present.

The team of authors aim to show that being a progressive Christian when it comes to parenting can be both possible and rewarding.

Using spiritual networks along with child psychology theories from top professionals, this book provides an all-encompassing idea that they support in garnering strong relationships with your kids at any age.

Through real life examples and interactive explanations, this book will give parents the opportunity to shape the lives of their own children according to their values.

Bless This Mess Book

Book Name: Bless This Mess (A Modern Guide to Faith and Parenting in a Chaotic World)

Author(s): Molly Baskette and Ellen O’Donnell

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 25 Minutes

Categories: Parenting

Author Bio


Molly Baskette and Ellen O'Donnell are the authors of Bless This Mess, a book about public confession, coping with grief, and the revitalization of churches.


Baskette is the senior minister at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, California, and has written books on various topics.

Her works include Standing Naked Before God and Real Good Church.

Meanwhile, Dr.

O'Donnell is a child psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.

She also works as an instructor at Harvard Medical School and has written scholarly articles that were published in journals such as the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Their collective expertise make them the perfect team to write Bless This Mess!

Christian Parenting For Progressive Parents: How To Raise Kids Who Are Both Morally Reasoned And Just

Molly Baskette

Are you a parent in search of guidance when it comes to raising progressive Christian children in changing times? Look no further than the book, Bless This Mess, by Molly Baskette and Ellen O’Donnell.

They bring their combined expertise and personal experience as a minister and child psychologist, to provide an overview of fundamentals that embody both good Christian and Progressive values,.

In their book they offer advice on how to encourage moral reasoning skills; why Christians should fight for social justice; and how to handle sensitive topics such as drugs, alcohol, and sex.

In these pages, parents will be able to learn exactly how to deal with the challenges of today’s changing world and keep their children safe from its dangers without sacrificing faith in God.

With Bless This Mess’ help you can give your kids the nurturing environment they need while teaching them Christian values – a triumph in any era!

We Need To Tailor Our Parenting Strategies To Fit Our Children’S Unique Temperaments

Too often, Christian parenting relies on the Proverb “spare the rod, and spoil the child” as its motto.

But what about the other side of that coin – instead of trying to remodel your children, why not adapt your parenting style to better suit their own personalities?

The Bible has much more to say about child-rearing than just this proverb – another verse suggests raising kids “in accordance with their own character”.

After all, every child is unique – so tailoring our parenting methods to fit each individual’s needs is far more effective than attempting to force them into a one-size-fits-all box.

Though it’s only natural for us parents to want only the best for our kids, we need to be careful not to cross over into ego-involvement.

That means wanting our daughter to receive an education that she truly desires, instead of just fulfilling our ambitions.

Or understanding that no matter how hard we try, our son may never be an academic – but he can still find joy working with his hands instead.

Parenting isn’t easy – but if we take time and effort to learn about who each child is and alter our parenting strategies accordingly, then it will make all the difference in raising healthy and confident youngsters.

Harnessing The Gift Of Autonomy To Help Our Children Develop Drive And Independence

Gift Of Autonomy

Creating a home environment that fosters your child’s sense of independence and self-motivation is central to producing confident, autonomous individuals.

Self-determination theory—a school of thought within psychology—provides some useful insight on how to do this.

The key factor here is autonomy, which you can promote by giving your child choices.

Every time you provide them with the opportunity to make decisions for themselves, they learn to rely on their inner drive and trust in their own abilities.

This doesn’t mean that they should do whatever they want, however; you should also provide structure through setting limits and clearly explaining consequences for certain behaviors.

Finally, to help create an environment that enables your children to thrive, show your involvement in their lives.

Take the time to engage with them and make sure they know that they are loved and connected with others around them.

Establishing this warm support system will give your children the confidence they need to succeed in life.

Teaching Our Children Moral Ambiguity And Empathy To Follow In Jesus’S Footsteps

In order to help our children learn nuanced moral stances in an age of absolutes, we need to introduce them to the concept of moral ambiguity.

This form of ethical thinking is based on the idea that instead of a world divided into good and evil, our reality is filled with shades of gray – situations where people can make good and bad choices at any time.

For example, instead of painting villains as purely evil and heros as purely good, you can explain to your child why people are capable of both inspiring heroic acts and committing heinous crimes.

You might even ask them to imagine why an unjust character may have done the wrong thing in a story they’ve read or watched.

Moreover, you should also focus on developing their empathy.

To do this, encourage them to think about what caused people who have made mistakes or committed crimes to act that way – what kind of emotions or experiences might have motivated their behavior? Invite them to use their imagination to look beyond just “bad” or “good” categorizations so they can gain a better understanding of the complexities of life.

Teaching Children Our Values: A Guide To Structured Decisions And Lifelong Learning

Teaching Children

One way to ensure that our children adopt the values we cherish is to help them understand the connection between their decisions and family values.

This means teaching them to make decisions in accordance with our family values, even when there’s no immediate reward or punishment.

We can do this by providing clear consequences for their choices and helping them weigh conflicting options next to a specific family value.

For example, if our child chooses not to visit a grandparent we can explain the implication of that choice, emphasizing how much we care about each other’s feelings in our family.

Doing this helps foster autonomy and competence in children–by trusting that they have the ability to think for themselves and make wise decisions.

While it’s ok to provide structure around decision-making, rewards and punishments are rarely effective over time…

as studies have shown.

That’s because threats of punishment or rewards may bring short-term compliance but will not internalize the desired behavior long term.

As parents, it’s better to explain the importance of values and behaviors rather than rely on promises of rewards or fear of punishments; this way our children will learn the deeper meaning earlier in life!

Encouraging Generosity And Thinking Beyond Money – Teaching Our Children To Give

When it comes to money, we should teach our children to be both generous and sensible.

We can start by introducing the idea of tithing so they understand the value of giving away a portion of their money to those who need it most.

By teaching them this Biblical practice, not only will children learn important moral lessons but also how to live a more grateful life as proven by research in social science.

At the same time, it’s just as important for children to learn how to budget properly and differentiate between wants and needs.

We can demonstrate this by guiding them into good financial habits such as setting an allowance that allows them enough money for recreational activities while still leaving room for charitable donations or gifts to others.

Even giving them some control over their own finances is a great way to help prepare them for managing their own finances in the future!

Most importantly, we must instill in our kids the values of generosity, beyond donating money–that means encouraging them to donate their time and energy too!

These are all necessary steps that parents can take in order ensure that our children grow into adults who are responsible when it comes to handling money while still prioritising charity and altruistic acts amongst other things!

Inspiring Our Children To Embrace Social Justice Through Exposure To Diversity

Following Jesus’ example, we can teach our children to care about and be concerned with the people around them.

We must recognize that children won’t just adopt this caring attitude on their own—we need to demonstrate and encourage it.

Research even shows that while parents ideally want their children to be kind, most of them think happiness is the goal for their kids.

To fix this disconnect between what parents hope for their children and what those same kids think their parents actually want, we have to start a conversation about how our actions effect people’s feelings.

We should engage our children in asking questions such as how excluding a classmate from an activity may hurt them and by examining if some kind action might make someone else feel better.

Additionally, we can invite our families to get involved in social justice campaigns and community initiatives.

This gives us an opportunity to articulate and emphasize the importance of promoting kindness, fairness, and equality.

Finally, together with other adults whose opinions they trust, we can help our kids learn the value of respecting diverse cultures by exposing them to different ways of life early on in development.

Social justice is something we can promote in partnership with our faith communities too; when choosing which church congregation or faith-based organization to join, it’s important to consider how each one embraces diversity.

No More Dreaded ‘Talk’: A Progressive Christian Approach To Discussing Drugs, Alcohol, And Sex With Kids

Discussing Drugs, Alcohol, And Sex With Kids

When parents discuss sensitive topics like sex, drugs, and alcohol with their children, they often fallback to moral absolutes.

But this type of discussion is often unhelpful, and it’s important to realize that a progressive approach is much more effective.

Rather than deliver decrees, it’s far more beneficial for parents to use the fundamentals of parenting when discussing these topics.

Autonomy, support, structure, and involvement are all key ingredients in this model as they help children make safe and informed decisions that have real-world consequences.

For example, when talking about sex with your kids you could weigh the pros and cons of various forms of contraception without advocating them engaging in sexual activities.

With regards to drugs and alcohol too nuances should rule over absolutes as there’s a significant difference between one beer or marijuana compared to six drinks or hard drugs.

This won’t only help keep your children safe but also provide them with knowledge about substances so that if decided to partake in either then) know the potential implications for their health and well-being.

How To Incorporate The Holiness Of Sundays Into Your Family Life

Making small lifestyle changes like encouraging prayer, reading the Bible together as a family, and taking part in religious rituals are all excellent ways to bring God into the life of your family.

Praying together can open up communication between parents and children, fostering understanding and empathy.

It can also help us cultivate both gratitude for our blessings and compassion for those going through difficult times.

To ensure that challenging theological questions don’t become obstacles, consider getting a children’s Bible to keep handy in the house.

Finally, attending church services as often as possible is one of the best ways to integrate God into everyday life.

Christianity is fundamentally a communal faith and being part of a close-knit religious community provides invaluable guidance when navigating tricky issues or learning more about different faiths.

The Power Of Prayer: How To Help Children Overcome Anxiety

When it comes to worry, we can’t always control the situation or find a solution ourselves.

Prayer can be an antidote to anxiety and help us recognize that some things are outside of our power.

It’s not just adult problem either; children can suffer from anxiety as well.

The key is to help them confront their fear rather than avoid it.

Avoiding anxiety-inducing situations can actually do more harm than good by leaving kids believing in the scary stories their mind creates.

That’s why it’s best for parents to be kind, understanding, but also firm and instructive when dealing with their anxious children.

We should let them know that we understand their worries, but also show them why they are very improbable so they realize they don’t need to stay away from what scares them.

In facing our own worries and encouraging our children to face theirs, we can ultimately overcome worry by trusting in prayer and embracing the strength of facing our fears — because in actuality, many anxieties we have are largely irrational.

Wrap Up

The Bless This Mess book provides a valuable source of advice to Christian parents looking to better raise their children.

It explains that raising Christ-like children doesn’t have to mean strictly adhering to the bible, and can instead involve teaching them how they can use it to tackle social injustice, live independently, and engage in generous behavior.

It provides actionable advice on how this can be done, such as by pointing out kind acts your child exhibits and associating them with certain positive traits.

By doing so, you can encourage your child to repeat those kinds of behaviors in the future.

All in all, Blessed This Mess is an invaluable read for parents who want their kids to take away timeless spiritual teachings that will lead them down an honest and righteous path.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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