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.