Teenagers have been given a bad name. It should be no surprise when adolescents rebel, become surly, hide in their rooms all day or escape with friends at night, assume a perpetually blank expression, and generally slink backward toward savagery and social retardation—it's what the media, teachers, politicians, even pastors and parents have been describing as the teenage condition their entire lives.
Diana Waring wants parents and teenagers to reclaim those years before they start. A kind of loose sequel to Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest asserts the teenage years can be some of the best years, productive and enjoyable for both parents and their developing offspring. Not a manual for "getting back" teens that have already gone astray, this is a guide for conscientious parenting that paves the way for Teendom with love and mutual respect.
A lot of it is common sense, all of it is practical, and some of it will doubtless cause some arched eyebrows and unavoidable self-examination—Waring's skill seems to be in revealing the overlooked obvious. Like this: for a long time the Waring's had only one rule for their children, "Build one another up in love," and while many readers might wonder where the rest of the rules are, when you stop and think it becomes obvious no other rules are needed.
Select passages are written for both parents and their teenaged kids to read. Waring addresses issues of attitude, spiritual growth, physical appearance and health, discipline, joy, ministry and formulating goals and dreams with the matter-of-factness of a mother who has raised teens of her own. She also includes the "Our Journal" sections of each chapter (familiar to readers of Beyond Survival), adding a focused look at practical application of important principles.
Reaping the Harvest is marked primarily by Waring's adherence to biblical truth and by her down-to-earth personableness and consistent use of relatable stories of her own family and others'. There isn't a bunch of "teen psychology" here (or parent psychology, for that matter) or warnings that teenagers inevitably bring angst and suffering into any household. Instead, she offers Scriptural and evidential support for her thesis that parents who love and train their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord can expect those kids' teen years to reflect ongoing maturation and respect.