I was elated when I received an email offering me the opportunity to review the book, A Faith of Their Own: An Experience Guide for Parents & Preteens. Why? Because this book isn’t like all the other books, this book is one that is engaging, interactive, and encourages dialog about our faith. It is an experience guide for parents and preteens. So, what did I think? Did it meet, or even exceed my expectations? Here is my review of our travels through the experience guide, A Faith of Their Own.
My first observation was that the guide was organized nicely and user-friendly. The experience guide is broken into 52 experiences, one for each week of the year. Each experience is then further broken down into five sections,
- Prayer: Open Up to God Together
- Scripture: Dive into God’s Story Together
- Experience: Do Something Practical Together
- Debrief: Process What You Experienced Together
- Journal: Write Out Your Takeaways Together
But before you delve into the guide there are two quick words, one to parents and one to preteens. Each truly captures where most preteens and parents are this day and age and they speak truth in a none-confrontational, compassionate way. They are honest and upfront about the fact that…”If you want your son or daughter to take seriously what’s in the pages that follow, you’ll need to actually pray and read scripture-not just for them but also for you. If those are new habits, take a step of courage and boldly try them on for size. Even if you feel awkward…you can expose your preteen to how following God is a growth curve for everyone, even you.” Thus, this guide not only encourages preteens to grow in their faith but also many parents who may have gotten lost somewhere along the way. It should also be noted that the language, context, and experiences in the guide are appropriate for parents who have been journeying with faith all their life or those who are just beginning their journey. There are no perquisites required in order to understand and enjoy this experience guide which is very refreshing.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
(2 Timothy 3:14-15)
Another aspect of the guide I found to be quite refreshing and appreciative was the preparation notes at the beginning of each experience. There is nothing worse than getting your child, especially a hormonal and emotional pre-adolescent excited about their faith and eager to participate only to find that you don’t have all the necessary supplies to complete the experience/activity. The required supplies are written out clearly so that you can plan a week or even weeks in advance, ensuring you will have the necessary items when the time comes. This leads to another very important aspect that makes this guide appealing, variety. They say variety is the spice of life and this guide is a spice rack. The experiences are fun, each is so different from the last, and there is literally no room for boring. One experience had us baking a cake, another had us going through the trash (this one was a little off putting for my daughter so we altered it slightly, you can definitely tell some of these activities came from dads, haha!), watching a movie, playing a video game, while yet another had us making greeting cards, I don’t want to spoil the fun (52 totally engaging experiences… and if you don’t happen to have various supplies on hand there are substitute recommendations). I even found myself becoming excited for the next experience. And the best part, all five sections come together to provide a cohesive educational experience and growth in faith.
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
(Mark 10:13-16 )
Chris Folmsbee and Tony Myles do a phenomenal job relating the prayer, scripture, and experiences/activities in order to have debriefing that really brings home the purpose and focus of that week. This guide takes the guess work out of ways to engage preteens in their faith. It is literally written out for you, all the hard work has been done. Talk about an answer to prayers! All you need to do is invest the time, oh, and get the book.
In conclusion, A Faith of Their Own: An Experience Guide for Parents & Preteens not only provides encouragement to preteens on their path of faith but can also help jumpstart or redirect parents’ journeys as well. This guide is such an exceptional way to get children excited about their faith and better comprehend what is often otherwise lost in preteen translation.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of A Faith of Their Own to review as a Beacon Hill Press Blogger. All opinions are my own.