Saturday, April 14, 2007

*Age of Opportunity* by Paul David Tripp

I read this book about 10 years ago, when our oldest was 11/12. At the time we were youth leaders and we were seeing some amazing things among the youth we worked with. However, we continued to be warned, "wait until YOU have a teenager". And "all teens must rebel in order to make their faith their own". (We've not experienced that to be true). We didn't believe that we had to buy into society's view of "youth"; we searched the Bible, watched families with teens who were respectful, and read, read, read.
I know that I'll sound like a broken record to SHS members, but I have to comment that *The Myth of the Teenager* by Michael Platt was the first step in helping us form what we believe is a Godly plan for raising youth. We ran across this article when our oldest was 8 (13 years ago). ::snort::
After Michael Platt's article, I would recommend *Age of Opportunity* for those who either have youth or plan to have them in the future. With two of our children graduated and three more young men in our home, it was time to read this book again.
I started reading it about a year ago. I bogged down. I thought that this book was so good I needed to host it as a book discussion on my blog. I set up a book discussion blog but then thought that managing two blogs was more computer time than I wanted to invest. That's as far as THAT went. I finished reading this again on our camping trip. THEN I bogged down trying to decide how to review it. Should I host it as a discussion? Should I post chapter reviews? Two weeks later, I'm simply going to post a "quick" summary.
Mr. Tripp uncovers the heart issues that affect parents and their teenagers. He contends that this age can be an age of opportunity rather than simply a season of survival. The book is divided into three parts. The first part is about "Clearing the Debris". In this section he leads us to examine OUR hearts and to see if we have idols that are getting in the way of making the most of mentoring our youth.
In section two we move on to "Setting Godly Goals". I'll simply list the goals here to whet your appetite. Focusing on spiritual struggle, developing a heart of conviction and wisdom, teaching a teenager to understand and react redemptively with his culture, developing a heart for God in your teenager (we could discuss this one for a bit), and preparing teenagers for leaving home. Each goal is defined, and steps are given to reach these goals.
Section three is titled, "Practical Strategies for Parenting Teens". The first strategy is "Project Parenting". Here is where you focus on one God-given project per child at a time. This is a strategy that we use with all ages of children as I've shared before on the blog. The second strategy is "Constant Conversation". It's so easy to begin to buy into the world's line, "your teens do NOT want to talk to YOU". I've found the reverse to be true. Our youth DO want to talk to us. They value our opinion and are happy to share their thoughts and confusion - if we ask. The third strategy is "Leading Your Teenager to Repentance".
I did not agree with everything in this book. Mr. Tripp seems to assume that all teens will have a frenzied schedule and no time at home - and that there is nothing a parent can do about this. I disagree. I think a life skill is teaching a young person how to carefully choose what activities to become involved in. Mr. Tripp does not homeschool and so assumes those school hours are lost hours. We have carefully tried for over 14 years to have "youth" and not "teens" and so the constant reading of "teen" grated a bit - but I'm used to that. LOL
I liked the sections that included "signs of a pursuit of God" and "signs of maturity". There are lists and lists and lists in this book. One list I found especially helpful is questions that help to teach a child how to think biblically. He states that many families have "years of unfocused family devotions". These are not without merit, but in Mr. Tripp's opinion could be better if we used every opportunity to point out a Biblical worldview to our youth. He states that "Everything we learn from Scripture should be attached to a biblical system of thinking." p 161.
Questions to focus "family devotions" and be sure we are communicating a biblical view of life:
~What does this passage teach us about God, His character and His plan?
~What do we learn about ourselves, our nature, our struggle, and the purpose of our lives?
~What does this passage teach us about right and wrong, good and bad, and true and false?
~What instruction is here about relationships, about love, authority, etc.?
~What does this passage teach us about life, its meaning and purpose?
~What does this passage teach us about the inner man, the heart and how it functions?
~What have we learned from this passage that would guide the way we live and make decisions?
~How does this passage help us understand and critique our culture?
"As we teach our children to ask and answer these questions, we will be showing them how to use the things they read in the Bible to think about their own practical life situations." p 162. I am excited about the above questions because they are easy to use with ANY passage of Scripture, providing a bit more structure than read and discuss - which is what we've done...and works...but I like a bit more focus. LOL
There were simply so many good points in this book that I can't do it justice in a review. It would make an excellent book discussion (we've done it before on SHS). I've thought about hosting it here - but I'm torn between this one (which I've done before), "Heartfelt Discipline" or "Ministry of Motherhood"....we'll see. LOL Look for a book discussion to begin "soon" - if there is an interest?????
I would recommend this book. I do want to say that I think that more could have been said about the fact that youth have free will. That I CAN'T develop a heart for God in my child...that will be a sovereign work of God's grace in my child's life. I can plow the ground, I can teach the truth...and I do...but I pray and fast for God to draw and save my child. I can't save or develop my child's heart - that's the work of God/Holy Spirit. I can remove obstacles.


 (books read in red ink)

This is hilarious! Don't you love getting wonderful ideas? Isn't it even better when you find others doing the same thing?

I set a goal for reading shortly after Mike returned. I had somehow accumulated many 1/2 read books on the nightstands (his and mine), as well as new series waiting to be started. I had much thinking time while out camping. I decided I would create a "spring reading" list.

I began to finish books that had been sitting around and to set some goals of fun reading to help me weather the "homeschool burn out season". My lists include pure twaddle, as well as books that reflect my current season of life (parenting youngsters, youth, healthy living, homeschooling...) You'll note my list contains a few books that I've posted reviews for in the past couple of weeks. I limited it to books that I have read since spring began. The majority of books on my spring list are ones that I've gotten from Paperback Swap and I need to READ them so that I can repost them. I think that's the point of the "swap"....currently I have stacks of new books to read staring at me day and night. I've included two fiction series from PBS and probably will NOT read them all. I simple chose two to START reading through my PBS stacks. I have books from JoAnna Carl, Nancy Ahterton, Donna Andrews and Ann B Ross still waiting. I will NOT get all these books read...but as my son says, "it's good to have a list anyway."

Isn't that Spring Reading Thing the cutest graphic? It appears there is a "reading challenge" going on among bloggers. It's too late to qualify for the "prize" but never to late to participate. You can read more about the Spring Reading Thing at Callapidder Days. You can also grab the graphic and leave a link to your list. Basically, you post your list of spring reading, put a link at her blog, and post a few book reviews...all things I'm already doing. There is no pressure to finish all the books on your list.

My Spring Reading Thing List

The 7 pillars of Health - Don Colbert, MD
Baby Catcher - Chronicles of a Modern Midwife - Peggy Vincent

The Age of Opportunity - Paul David TrippThe Out of Sync Child - Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.
The Ministry of Motherhood - Sally Clarkson

A Mom Just Like You - Vickie and Jayme Farris
Teaching the Trivium - Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn
Fragments of Isabella - Isabella LeitnerSaving the Fragments - Isabella Leitner
Molly Brown - Unraveling the Myth - Kristen Iversen
Nicholas & Alexandra - Robert MassieDietrich Bonhoeffer - Michael Van Dyke

Midwives - Chris Bohjalian
The King of Reid - Jamin G
Yada, Yada Prayer Group Get's Down - Neta Jackson
Nursery Crimes - Ayelet Waldman
A Playdate with Death - Ayelet WaldmanThe Big Nap - Ayelet Waldman
Tears of the Giraffe - Alexander McCall SmithMorality for Beautiful Girls - AM Smith
The Kalahari Typing School for Men - AM Smith
The Full Cupboard of Life - AM Smith
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies - AM Smith
Yada Yada Prayer Group - Neta Jackson
The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real - Neta Jackson
The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough - Neta Jackson
The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Caught - Neta Jackson

Visual Spring Reading List...

Ah Hem - another son asked why I don't just read the Bible through three times this spring instead of trying to read all these. Welllllllll....I am also doing Esther and I am reading my Bible - but those aren't part of a Spring Thing - those are a Life Thing!

Prayers for Heather

Prayers for Heather

Heather, the young mom in the sidebar, is in need of prayers. I tried to get the photo to link to her blog but can't figure it out. For now, use the link above, if you'd like to read more about Heather and her life.

Heather is a young homeschooling mother who was diagnosed with a brain tumor this week. She will be leaving for Mayo clinic in the near future. She has 3 children and is no stranger to medical trials. Please take a moment and pray for her now...and then as you're led, continue to keep her in your prayers. You can read more about her family and the situation above, if you are so led.

I'll continue to look for a button that will take you directly to her updates.