When I saw the title Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids, I thought, “Oh, great. A book about child-centered parenting, where the kids run the home.” But then I saw it was written by Mark and Jan Foreman, who are parents of Jon and Tim Foreman, of the Christian band Switchfoot. I don’t know if you know who they are, but they are the band behind the songs “This is Your Life,” “This is Home,” “Only Hope,” “Dare You to Move,” “Meant to Live” and more. They’ve been one of my favorite groups for a few years. That had me interested, so I signed up for this blog tour.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a free sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

About the Book

Never Say No (David C. Cook, May 2015)
The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Mark and Jan Foreman’s adult sons, Jon and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot, have influenced their world not only by a successful music career but also through their positive impact on communities around the globe. The Foreman parents instilled in their sons a belief that they could make a difference by living beyond themselves.

This powerful book gives readers an inside look at the process. It begins with both parent and child finding their identity in God. It then explores practical ways to encourage holistic learning while cultivating specific gifts, nurturing creativity in a media-saturated culture, and balancing structure with individual choice. Never Say No inspires readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

About the Authors

Aside from being parents of the famous brothers of the amazing band Switchfoot, Jan and Mark Foreman live in the San Diego area, where Mark is lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel. Mark is the author of Wholly Jesus and holds advanced degrees in Theology, Education, and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Pastoral Care. Jan is a gifted teacher and artist, and she also facilitates partnerships with underprivileged women and children both locally and in developing countries. Together they love surfing, sailing, traveling, and especially being with their family. They also help parents with their e-course Parenting through Meaningful Relationships.

My Thoughts

I have to say first of all that this isn’t a “fast food” type of book. It’s more like a full 6 course meal! There’s a lot of information to digest, so you shouldn’t try to get through it in one quick sitting.

Mark writes a chapter, then Jan writes a chapter, and they continue in that pattern. At the end of each chapter, there are questions for you to ask yourself and your spouse, to get a better idea of what you’re currently doing right and wrong in your parenting. Let me tell you, some of the questions are tough. No one likes looking so closely at oneself to see her flaws and failures. But how else can we change for the better if we don’t see and accept that something is not working well?

I like how they each have different styles of writing. You can really tell that they both love the Lord so much and they both love their boys fiercely. They don’t claim to be perfect parents. Many mistakes were made in their parenting adventure. But the mistakes they made, as well as the successes they had, can help all other parents with their own child-raising.

“Give us one nugget of parenting advice before you go,” asked one of a half-dozen young leaders meeting with Mark at a local café.

“Okay,” he said, “try out this one: never say no.”

The room erupted with laughter, as the young dad looking for help reacted, “You are kidding, right? That’s all I ever say– and my son needs one thousand more noes.”

“No, I’m not kidding,” Mark quietly responded. The room’s mood sobered as each parent leaned forward to listen. “Never say no to all the dreams and creative ideas your children have. Never say no to the realization you can become different than your mom or dad. Especially never say no to your kids’ requests to join them, like playing dress up with your little girl or going surfing with your teenager when the weather’s cold and windy. If you say no too often, they’ll stop asking.”

A week later that concerned dad tracked Mark down to say he had taken that advice and his home life had dramatically turned around. “My son is suddenly easy to get along with just because I started saying yes to some things he wanted to do together. I’m not kidding,” he said with a big grin. “The change is dramatic.” As he walked away, he turned and pointed to Mark, saying, “It’s hard, but never say no!”
Never Say No

There’s something neat about reading words from the parents of favorites. I have always admired Switchfoot’s use of weaving the relevant, the deep and the “cool” all at once. I see now where the guys get it from. 🙂 The book is really well written. I like how they indclude stories of their boys’ childhood, and stories of their own lives, in each chapter. The book’s like a mix of a parenting help book, a memoir and a devotional. There were so many parts that I had to highlight because they were so good, that I was unable to choose just a few for this review.

I found it neat that a main idea in the book, relationship over behavior, is something that Jerry has been dwelling on. He’s working on posts about something he’s calling #be2do. You are more important than what you do. What you do is a reflection of who you are. The Foremans touched on this as well, in that what our children do hinges greatly on our relationship with them.

I would suggest that every parent go out and get this book, or download an e-version. There is so much wisdom and love within the pages. I was truly blessed by reading it, and I know my children will be equally blessed because of the change in me. It’s one to buy for someone as a baby shower gift. The new parents probably won’t realize the relevance at first, but once you read through it, it’s pretty obvious that the wise advice is good from birth and beyond.


JennAbout Jenn: I’m a Christian wife to an amazing man (since 1998) and a stay-at-home-teaching mom to four special & incredible boys (born in 2004, 2005, 2007, & 2009). I’m messy and cluttered, but working on that (really, I am!). I’m a discouraged perfectionist and a classic procrastinator who probably has both ADD & Autism, so I tend to jump from topic to topic (and activity to activity) without notice. My Love Languages are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. I’m an INFP who enjoys friends but loves to be alone. I love getting and giving hugs, and encouragement is a Spiritual gift of mine that can too-easily be turned into the weapon of discouragement, if I’m not careful. I enjoy writing, singing, words, drawing, photography, digital creations, and reading. Oh, and pizza, tacos, and steak. Now I’m hungry. That reminds me; I eat gluten free and try to eat organic and avoid white sugar and GMOs as much as possible.  Find me on Facebook (Writer/Editor page) (Fan page), Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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