Saturday, November 1, 2014

BookLook Blogger Review: The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Kara E. Powell

I came across an interesting book title as I skimmed the available books to review on BookLook. I chose to review The Sticky Faith Guide For Your Family: Over 100 Practical and Tested Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Kids written by Dr. Kara E. Powell. I received the book in paperback trade format.

Do you ever wonder if your child will keep their faith once high school or college approaches? I have pondered this question numerous times especially now as we face challenging circumstances and our faith is tested. I wonder if I'm doing everything I can to raise my daughter into a Christian woman who will remain faithful to God in her lifelong journey. My upbringing didn't give me the tools needed to properly raise my daughter as a Christian so I am constantly evaluating the methods I utilize. I pray that I am modeling Godly behavior and that I am arming her with Biblical truths that will have a positive impact her lifelong decisions.

Book Description (From the Website):
The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family addresses one of the top current concerns about youth and the church: the reality that nearly half of all young people raised in Christian families walk away from their faith when they graduate from high school. That's the bad news. But here's the good news: research also shows that parents are one of the primary influences on their child's faith. This book arises from the innovative, research-based, and extensively field-tested project known as "Sticky Faith," designed to equip parents with insights and ideas for nurturing long-term faith in children and young people. Grounded in academically verified data, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family is a positive and practical resource that empowers parents to take the small steps that can translate into big progress in their kids' spiritual journeys. Even busy families will find the "guidebook" format accessible and easy to use. More importantly, they'll be equipped with research-tested tools to nurture a strong faith in the next generation.
What I Thought
The Sticky Faith Guide is a 240-page parent resource book published by Zondervan that is based on recent research from several longitudinal studies conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute. The practical ideas presented are derived from personal interviews, real-life stories, and family experiences. Dr. Kara Powell's book is a follow-up to a previously published co-authored book titled Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids.

I made the assumption after seeing a few sample pages that this book and its format would be a quick read, but I was mistaken. It took me several months to get through this book, but mainly because the book contains pages and pages of practical suggestions and information. My spiral notebook contained many notes and ideas to consider implementing right away and in the near future.

The book encourages you to evaluate your life choices and to think about what we truly desire for our children's future with regards to their faith development. Dr. Kara Powell inspires you to turn the ideas into meaningful actions - to practice and test the suggestions in your life. The book makes no guarantees, because obviously it depends on you and whether you implement the ideas taking small steps towards positive change. The author encourages you to try just a few ideas at a time and to not be so hard on yourself. She tells you to pick and choose no more than FIVE manageable ideas to build a stronger foundation for your family. You can always start off with fewer ideas if necessary. I know that I am not always doing everything right all the time and that I've made many mistakes as a mom; however this book gives me a glimmer of hope by offering me a toolkit of ideas to try. The author doesn't make you feel like a failure and doesn't judge you which is greatly appreciated. She doesn't want you to be discouraged about the things you aren't doing or to compare yourself to the efforts of others. Keep in mind that you'll hear about both the triumphs and the tragedies experienced by families.

Each chapter story addresses one particular topic or theme. There are 11 themes that are thoroughly discussed within its own chapter. Dr. Powell begins with a story that describes the topic addressed in the chapter. Then, she explains the significant research and findings behind the theory with numbered examples. Furthermore, she offers practical "sticky faith" ideas and parenting strategies that were suggested during the family interviews conducted. The ideas are indicated by a light bulb icon. There are several reflective questions and a short questionnaire at the end of the chapter in which you evaluate your efforts using a 1-5 rating scale. This book consists of 13 chapters and 2 appendices. One appendix section is about college transitions which will be more beneficial to me at a later time. The other appendix is an overview about the project's research which contains information about the studies conducted. I quickly skimmed this section.

Chapter 1 discusses the reasons, purpose, and benefits for a parent to read the book. Chapters 2-12 contain a topical collection of practical ideas modeled and experienced by other families. Topics explored are modeling sticky faith behaviors, faith, family relationships, technology, handling mistakes and forgiveness, connecting with teens, community, vacation, extended family, communication, service learning, transitions, and more. Chapter 13 is about taking the necessary baby steps towards a new life with your family. It covers your goals and the implementation of the book ideas. It discusses how you can apply those ideas to your life immediately with God's grace and guidance.

My favorite chapters were 3, 4, 8, 10, and 11. Chapter 10 (Home Sticky Home) and 4 (Warm Family Relationships) were my two absolute favorite chapters, because they contained simple and relevant ideas that I could easily implement with my daughter.

FIVE Ideas I Intend to Implement
  • Bible Scripture Wall
  • Faith in Every Room
  • Conversation Couch 
  • Christmas Card Dinner Prayers 
  • Wow, Pow, Holy Cow, and How Dinner Conversations
I also enjoyed reading the chapter on connecting with teenagers. I love how the author encourages family game night. I liked the idea of having a heart-to-heart talk with my daughter about her future spouse and journaling what qualities she's looking for in a husband. I think this will help her with the pain she's dealing with during our divorce. 
Furthermore, I want to limit the use of technological gadgets including computer use, smartphone, and iPads during family time and meals. Phones won't be allowed at the table - they will be placed in a basket until after mealtimes. Technological gadgets can have both a positive and negative impact on your family if not moderated. I want to be present in my daughter's life and not have my nose stuck in some gadget and I want the same respect from her when we're together. The ideas presented in the book aren't difficult to implement. It'll take just a little effort. I was motivated to start as soon as I began reading the book.

Overall Thoughts
This valuable book will definitely help guide Christian parents into teaching and developing a long-lasting faith in their children's hearts which is a process that obviously takes time. Parents should also consider modeling their own faith. The book serves as a reminder to parents that we are the primary influencers and that faith develops at home pouring out into all areas of life. It is jam-packed with applicable and eye-opening ideas to implement which will lead your child towards Jesus and give you more quality family time. Another book feature that I appreciated was Dr. Powell's simple explanation of the 5 G's of Gospel: Good, Guilt, Grace, God's People, and Gratitude which can be easily understood by children during any family meeting.

I will be rereading this insightful book a little at a time. It is a parenting tool that I will probably keep for years as I explore and implement the different suggestions. There are many helpful and relevant ideas to be implemented and I'm going to do everything in my power to keep my daughter's faith strong.  

Zondervan $15.99
Amazon $12.60

Note: Prices are subject to change at any time.

I would definitely recommend this incredible book to all Christian families wanting to beat the statistics and become better parents. It is a "must have" resource if you want to help develop and instill a long-lasting faith in your child's life. This book will be useful for parents with children 18 and under. I also highly recommend this informative book to youth pastors or ministries working with children or teenagers.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the BookLook Blogger Review Team Program in exchange for an honest review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I review for BookLook Bloggers

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