From the back of the book:
“The preteen years are a time of change, curiosity and skepticism-which leaves many parents wondering how they can inform their preteen’s spiritual development. With A Faith of Their Own: An Experience Guide for Parents and Preteens, authors Chris Folmsbee and Tony Myles offer practical ways for parents and preteens to grow and experience God in everyday life. This book includes fifty-two weeks’ worth of interactions, giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy this important spiritual journey–together.”
The experience guide that I reviewed is only one part of three dynamic resources available to use. The cost? $19.99. Also offered: a book and companion DVD available here from Nazarene Publishing House (scroll to the bottom for companion products).
The experience guide itself is an amazing stand alone resource. The others available will add lots of good information to ‘flesh’ out what you are doing, however if budget is an issue, we have found this guide totally valuable and great to use alone!
There are fabulous ideas in here to really speak with your children, learn what is on their hearts, spend precious time with them, and above all–listen to their thoughts. With the guide providing 52 scripted ideas, the intention is for you to be able to use this once a week with your children. Readings are long at times, (not at ALL a negative to this reviewer), and the activities/discussions do take time so make sure you allow plenty of time to do each one. The conversation that occurs between you and your children is so valuable!
In the front of each ‘chapter’ are supply lists that let you know if you need anything that you don’t have. Much of the items used are things you have around your home. Not all exercises require supplies. Each chapter starts out with Prayer; there are even suggestions/scriptings if you need help in this area. Many want you and the teen to go back and forth, each contributing to the prayer. The next section is Scripture-this is where you find your Bible readings as well as really good, and thought provoking questions–most lending to application. The third section is Experience-this is where you find the activities that you will do together. Following is Debrief-an area to process what you learned together. Summary comes next which is exactly what it says-summarizing the Scripture readings and adding oft times valuable commentary. The final section is Journal-this is a spot for them to take on themselves, and you as well, to write out your thoughts. This section is scripted with opening prompts of what to put in your journal, but really-the sky is the limit!
The week we selected to do, and I chose to highlight in this review, was Chapter 11–The Mating Game. During this activity, we read from Genesis 24 studying Isaac and Rebekah. Touching on topics such as arranged marriages, God’s perfect plan for marriage, the institution of the family, future spouses, unequally yoked marriages/relationships and much more! Not all of this was specifically covered in this section, but we chased some amazing rabbit trails! At the end of our discussion, the boys were to make ‘profiles’ of what they would like in a future spouse. We have done something like this before and I have always cautioned them not to be overly concerned about outward appearances-we have discussed 1 Peter 3:3-4 several times as well as Proverbs 31. 1 Peter tells us that the hidden person of the heart with a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in the sight of God. Looking at verse 3, it is far more precious than outward beauty and I have tried to discuss that very much with my children. I desire them a spouse with a beautiful heart devoted to Jesus. I used this book with my two sons aged 13 and 15.
My oldest is a sophomore in high school, (we homeschool), and has been reading through a book about dating from Joshua Harris for his Health course. Amazingly, the very next day in youth group, they discussed dating and making ‘profiles’ of the qualities in future spouses!! It reinforced the learning we had completed using A Faith of Their Own! All of this tied together and was amazing-a true blessing from God!
The very NEXT day, my oldest son (age 15), asked if we could do another chapter in the book! I wasn’t prepared and told him that it was ‘supposed’ to be used weekly but we could definitely do it more often if he wanted to. He LOVED it!! This is a certified book lover, but most importantly, this is my child who often has a hard time putting his thoughts into words and speaking in front of others often. This activity seemed to open the gates wide!
I would DEFINITELY recommend this item to ANY parent, not just a homeschooler and not just a mom. I also think this would be a FABULOUS resource to use in Youth Ministry-you could really get the kids involved and sharing. The activities aren’t just silly ‘fun’ and ‘watered down’–they really cause them to think! I find it better for teens, as opposed to preteens as the title suggests, but you could really use it with ANYONE–even adults! It is great for hands-on learners, visual learners and even auditory learners.
*NOW for a giveaway!! If you are interested in winning a FREE guide, (I believe in it that much), please leave a comment sharing what sources you have found most valuable in opening the discussion of faith with your children. One commenter will be randomly selected. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!