ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Preparing children for a successful life takes more than developing a solid foundation. Parents also need to give their children a successful launch into adulthood, according to a new book by Bob and Cheryl Reccord.

“A successful journey to adulthood doesn't happen by accident,” says Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. “Parents need to equip their children, prepare them for life’s challenges, help them discover their life's mission and celebrate the milestones along the way.”

With those goals in mind, the Reccords have written “Launching Your Kids for Life,” released in March by W Publishing Group.

Reccord began to see the need for such a book after writing “Made to Count” with coauthor Randy Singer in 2004, relaying eight biblical principles to help readers discover and fulfill God’s mission in their lives.

“After Made to Count someone said to me, ‘It’s a shame you have to be an adult to be on mission,’” Reccord said. “Cheryl and I decided to pull together the best we’ve learned through interviewing parents whose kids are living an ‘on mission’ lifestyle and from raising our own three kids to show people how they can give their kids these tools for life.”

In "Launching Your Kids," the Reccords use the analogy of a space shuttle launch. With insights from Tommy Holloway, past director of the NASA space program and three-time shuttle astronaut David Leetsma, the Reccords take readers through eight steps paralleling a successful shuttle mission.

“We didn’t want to burden any parent with something else for their to-do list,” Cheryl said. “It’s meant to lighten their load. For most, a slight attitude adjustment and tweaking the activities they are already doing is all that’s necessary.”

These principles aren’t just for kids with a stable start in life. Adopted at an early age, Reccord said his adoptive mother understood that God had a unique calling and plan for his life – even before he was born.

“That meant a lot to me,” Reccord said. “God had a plan even though my birth mom didn’t. He has a plan for every kid.”

The Reccords share a concern that sometimes a “Christian” culture can inadvertently send the message that “real” missionaries go oversees. "Launching Your Kids for Life" helps parents model being on mission right where they are. For the kids, the mission field might be the soccer team or the kid whose locker is next to theirs.

One couple highlighted in "Launching," Ron and Mary Jenson, believe deliberate planning is needed to effectively communicate this kind of attitude. Mary encourages parents to have what she calls a “Business-Plan Weekend” to focus on reaching goals of both character and activity with kids in all areas of their lives.

A unique feature of "Launching" is the free online personality profile for children. It is designed to help parents understand the uniqueness of each child and how to mesh their parenting style with their child’s personality.

In the ancient world, guidestones were used as markers for a journey, indicating the proper distance one had traveled and had yet to travel, along with warnings of what to avoid. The Reccords said they hope to help parents recognize those guidestone moments and find creative yet meaningful ways to celebrate them. Toward that end, Cheryl Reccord developed a website called TotalLifeImpact.com where parents or grandparents can design and order a “Guidestone Crest” plaque to convey the biblical qualities and a verse of Scripture they’re praying will be evidenced in their children’s lives as they continue to mature.

“All parents discover sooner or later that parenting doesn’t end until you enter the grave,” the Reccords note in their book. “So there is never a point during life that is too late to pray, support, influence and encourage your child.”

One father of a 32-year-old son took the message to heart, creating a crest for his son and writing a letter each week sharing something about his life with Christ.


© 2005 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.