The first time I heard the word “postmodern,” I very much furrowed the proverbial brow. How can there be such a thing right now as the “postmodern” age? An age after the era of modernity? I am living in modern times. They can’t be over. They can’t be post.
So what the heck does it mean?
Well, I figured out the “post” in postmodernism doesn’t really mean “after.” It isn’t about time at all. It describes instead a reaction to modern thinking. There is a mindset in our culture that is contrary — reactive—to what we’ve long called the modern way of thinking.
The arguably informative Wikipedia tells us “postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness or interreferentiality.” I think that translates into, “It’s all relative. Absolute truth included.” Or as one blogger said, “Postmodern means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Call it what you will. I can see that we live in a world were relativity is where it’s at. We who are parents are raising kids in a world where situational ethics are the order of the day. Which means we have our work cut out for us. Ethics, if they are what we say are, should transcend situation.
My good friend, Mary DeMuth, has penned a new book that unpacks this notion. It’s entitled Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. I’m happy to be a part of the blogtour promoting this new book. Mary joins us here at the Edge to tell us more:
Edgewise: Who did you write this book for? What kind of parent?
Mary DeMuth: I wrote it for any parent, particularly parents with kids under their care, who want to see their kids become Jesus-followers and authentically reach their culture for Jesus Christ.
E: Some in the CBA world get a little edgy about the word “postmodern?” Why do you think that is so? What obstacles does the postmodern parent face that his grandparents didn’t?
MD: Folks equate “postmodern” with liberal theology, and therefore deem it dangerous. Postmodern is simply a descriptor of the mindset of today’s world. There are great things about postmodernism that gel with the Gospel, and there are things that don’t. It was the same with a modern perspective. I think folks are simply afraid of what they don’t know. The parent in a postmodern world has to learn how to translate the gospel to a generation that is highly skeptical, and balks at the idea of knowing all truth. In this storytelling generation, we need to learn how to approach our kids with stories alongside Biblical truth.
E: I am more intrigued by the word “authentic” in your title than “postmodern.” What does it mean to be an authentic parent? What is the opposite of being an authentic parent?
MD: I call them “image parents”—parents who are more concerned about how the family looks to others on the outside than how Jesus sees the family behind closed doors. An authentic parent asks for forgiveness when he/she fails. He/she shows kids that we all need Jesus, we’re all frail, we’re all on a spiritual journey and none of us have arrived fully sanctified.
E:What prompted you to write this book? Why did you think you were the one to write it?
MD: I still feel small and unworthy to write parenting books. I didn’t grow up in a home I wanted to duplicate, so I learned how to parent by trial and error and a heavy dose of Jesus. What prompted me to write the book was my own journey trying to find a different way to parent in this culture, particularly when we parented in hyper-postmodern France. I long to help parents deeply connect with their kids, to have such life-changing conversations with their kids that they don’t want to rebel when they leave the house.
E: Which chapter was the most difficult to write? Why?
MD: Probably the conversational parenting chapter because it’s so very hard to live. I re-read it before an interview and was convicted by my own words! This crazy, crazy world is so busy (particularly in America) that it takes concerted effort to deeply connect with my kids.
E: What are the qualities you admire most in an authentic parent?
MD: An authentic parent:
- Tells the truth
- Doesn’t gloss over their own sin
- Love their kids enough to set limits and boundaries
- Yet knows when to let out the leash
- Is deeply committed to Jesus and knows its his/her relationship with Jesus that will ultimately make for better parenting
E: My kids are either teenagers or in their 20s. It is too late for me to read your book?
MD: No. Because the book is so relationally and culturally focused, I think you’ll get a lot out of it. (At least I hope so!)
You can learn more about Mary’s thoughts and ideas on her blog relevantprose, and you can also order Authentic Parenting there as well as view the other books on her authorial bookshelf. The guide for this blog tour is right here, if you’d like to see what other bloggers are saying about Authentic Parenting.
Have a fabulous weekend, Edglings.