Monday, October 6, 2014

Answering your kids toughest questions.

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

After some wild and wonderful mail adventures, I finally had the chance to sit down and read Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson recent offering Answering your kids' toughest questions. As a mom, I am acutely aware of the fact that, although I currently spend my days encouraging my son in basic life skills like talking, there will come a day in the near future where his questions may lead us into interesting spaces.

The greatest strength of Thompson and Fitzpatrick's work is that it challenges readers to think and question how they would approach certain topics with their children when approached. I'm a huge fan of materials that seek to engage parents and foster an atmosphere of learning and openness after seeing far too many situations where adults try to "fake-it-til-we make-it" or flat out avoid the questions being asked, regardless of their severity or importance.

My issue was that much of the book felt as though the reader was being pulled into extremes. Some of the examples, including what seems to be a fairly infamous one in reviews regarding snapping one's fingers and sin, border or march into extremes and could easily be seen as justification for legalism and Pharisaical teachings.
On the other hand, many of their explanations regarding at the end of each chapter regarding the separate age ranges (dividing into really nice categories)  felt very pat and simplistic. In all fairness this may be my own education influencing my perceptions. I love being challenged in my thinking and spent most of my college and seminary years discussing ideas and concepts including ones covered in this book at great length. However, I felt that the answers outlined were more likely to result in rolled eyes or misunderstanding than the open communication the authors desired, perhaps due to the lack of focus concerning living out and modelling the gospel and creating an atmosphere of learning and growth from childhood?

Overall, I think the authors did try and provide what they set out to do within a very specific and controlled audience. The effect just fell flat for me personally.

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