I just completed Connie Neal’s “Walking Tall In Babylon: Raising children to be godly and wise in a perilous world.” The book hinges on the story of Daniel and his long-named buddies who extricated from their hometown and made to live and serve in the treacherous and ungodly city of Babylon. Together, with the Lord as their strength, they stood tall, despite life-threatening oppression and cultural pressure.
To summarize the book, we have a role as Christian parents to raise our children intentionally so that they develop the fortitude to stand up to the tides of culture and, in the end, glorify God by blessing and influencing those around them.
Personally, this book was meaningful because of the name and vision we have for our son, Gabriel Truth Steck. While he was in womb, I got the picture of him as a young man, wading out into a strong, rushing stream. He took with him a warrior’s sword and drove it into the silty riverbed.
As the powerful waters pushed against him, he stood strong, creating an obstacle for the river’s flow. His courage and strength to hold his ground created a swirling eddy behind him, reversing the flow of some of the water and providing a safe haven for others to come behind and find rest.
In this vision, my son’s goal wasn’t to “fight against the culture tides” but to take a stand and remain faithful; knowing who he is, who his God is, and what his purpose was; allowing others to take courage and do the same.
Walking Tall In Babylon has a similar premise to it. It’s not so much a right-wing, conservative, Christian anthem condemning the sins of our Sodom and Gomorrah-style culture, but an incitement to parents that it is possible to raise children with healthy values and convictions, as well as a profound love for the lost.
If I were to be completely forthright with this review, my opinion is reflects that of many books, in that they could convey the same message in fewer words. I also felt that the book lacked a variety of practical advice. There were some very good examples, but with redundancy and lack of applicational scope.
That said, I’d be amiss not to point out the beautiful analogies pulled from the life of Daniel in Babylon — striking resemblance to what we’re sending our children out into. Connie Neal did an awesome job of drawing out Biblical truth throughout the book.
A few highlights from Walking Tall in Babylon:
- Raising Christ-centered children is not about sheltering them
- Walking tall in babylon looks like befriending and loving the everyone: goths, jocks and geeks alike
- Expect rejection, both from the lost and other believers; just as Jesus was scoffed for hanging with tax collectors and prostitutes
- A parent’s role is to take advantage of every moment as an opportunity to impart a Biblical worldview
- Protecting your child so they stay pure and innocent, while not keeping them sheltered, requires that you don’t live in fear of the world
Overall, I believe Walking Tall in Babylon has good insight and food for thought. Surprisingly, I’ve not found many other great books that discuss the topic. If you have suggestions for other books to review, send them our way. Thanks to Connie Neal for going before us young parents and helping to encourage and guide the way to raising children that are prepared and not afraid of walking tall in Babylon.