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BOOK REVIEWS

Legacy Path Discover Intentional Spiritual Parenting
by Brian Haynes

A Review by Christian Nichles

Book Rating: 5 Star

1. Very beneficial to understand a parents role in faith development
2. Easy to read and practical for any parent of any age child
3. MUST read for those who value their child’s faith development

In Brian Haynes book, Legacy Path Discover Intentional Spiritual Parenting, he clearly lays out very quickly the theology, practicality, and complexities of being the main spiritual influencer of your children. In his easily understood and down to earth parenting tones, Haynes challenges parents to abide in Christ and to ensure that personal spiritual growth is important to the parent before even being concerned about the kids. If we as individuals are not spiritual healthy it will be impossible for our children to "inherit" what we do not possess! This practical theology of parenting is often overlooked in our culture and is "substituted " for church attendance and religious activities and never modeled nor intentionally transferred to our children.

Haynes reminds readers that building a spiritual legacy in our family is difficult, but very fulfilling if scripture is followed. The author leads readers biblically through Deuteronomy 6, Joshua, and Jesus’ parable of the house built on the rock. As parents, searching scripture to understand our role as believers is very important and is no different for our parenting growth as well! Thought out the first three chapters, the author brings very practical understanding of the biblical mandates of spiritual legacy and how it can apply In our homes today. Particularly helpful is chapter 3, where Brian suggests that simplicity and time are the two greatest factors in leaving a spiritual legacy! Many families are running on empty simply because of the hectic and time consuming schedules spent trying to achieve the "American dream" but never establishing a wholeness for Gods dream for the family. Haynes is painfully transparent in this area that his family also struggles with the complexities often associated with living a simplistic life in the midst of a busy and affluent culture. His suggestions such as, limiting children to one extra curricular activity per semester, family meal night, and keeping one night each week sacred for family time is very practical and achievable for families even if you have made decisions counter to these until now. What I find particularly challenging personally, was to guard who spends the most time with your kids. He who spends the most time, influences the most! Haynes suggests that when making decisions about career and education, each family will have to decide what adjustments will need to be made to optimize the potential influence they can have in leaving a spiritual legacy.

In chapters 4-8, the author lays great groundwork that can be easily followed in setting up some spiritual milestones to follow, how the transition from adolescents to adulthood can be addressed, and maybe the most helpful for me; the importance of the relationship between the church and home. Truly the church should be a partner WITH the family to help raise a spiritual champion, but should never be expected to fulfill the Deuteronomy mandate in a child’s life! Haynes also writes beautifully to highlight what might be one of the greatest keys to spiritual parenting, a relational heart connection. One of the greatest influencers in my own life, Dr. Richard Ross, has been championing the heart connection between a parent and a child for over a decade. This connection, if not established at a young stage of development or if it has been somehow broken, can be established or repaired with some intentional steps given throughout chapters 4-7! Haynes encourages in chapter 8 to those who are faithful, yet the children are “prodigal”. This DOES happen unfortunately. Following a Godly path in your family life, though gives your children the very best chance at faith for a lifetime, does not ensure it! With a great explanation of freewill and Gods faithfulness, the author gives tremendous freedom to parents to know and trust that whatever happens, Gods plan is still best!

If you as a parent would like to be challenged to leave a spiritual legacy in your children, if what you want for your kids is to look more like Jesus when they leave your home than when they entered, if what you want are grandchildren that will love and honor both you and the Lord, then Brian Haynes Legacy Path is a MUST read for you. The book also includes a great discussion help in the form of questions at the end of each chapter. I would challenge you and your spouse to read this together and ask these questions. It may present some tough conversations and maybe hard decisions, but my question is, are your children's future worth it??


Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life       by James Patterson

A Review by Christian Nichles

Book Rating: 4 Stars

1. Helpful in understanding student culture


2. Clear story and easy read for any parent or leader

 

3. Worthy of purchase or useful read

 

4. It is NOT indicative of friendliness of reading for a student

James Patterson has nailed the fundamental elements of early to middle adolescence with his ingenious approach to “Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life”. Patterson allows readers to listen to a story from the perspective of its subject. The book, “written” by one Rafe Khatchadorian (Rah-FeeCatch-a-Dorian) is the deep confession of the struggle and pain of a young man who begins his first year of Junior High. Rafe, like any adolescent, shows very quickly in the story that his deep yearning for a sense of belonging and accomplishment will drive him to great depths, even if those depths mean breaking all the rules! You get a glimpse into Rafe’s insecurities when he asks readers, “Can I trust you?” (pg.2) This primal question is one all teens need to answer; “Can I trust you?” Rafe wants to be honest and transparent with his story, yet his life and experiences to this point say that he can’t. As the story unfolds you are introduced to several characters. Leo, Rafe’s “right hand man” and co-conspirator in his quest to belong and achieve greatness and a mysterious character plot that will surprise readers as the story unfolds! “Bear”, his Mom’s live in boyfriend who lays around on the couch all day while his Mom pulls double shifts at a local diner to provide for them.Georgia, his “super-nosy, super-obnoxious, super-brat sister” (pg.5) who typically personifies the helpless nature of Rafe’s family dynamic and a picture of what leads us to this point in Rafe’s story, “Can I trust you?” And of course, what story would be complete without a love interest? Young Rafe spots Jeanne Galletta during 6th grade orientation and knows that he MUST impress and win the affection of this young lady! After an early run in with “Miller-the-Killer”, the school bully, Rafe decides that with a little help from Leo, he CAN and MUST make Middle School count. But How? This question must be answered by all adolescents! Who am I and why do I matter? Rafe did not want his Middle School life to be defined by mean teachers, big bullies, or his own insecurities. He wanted to make a difference, however his choice to achieve this goal is misguided. During orientation, Rafe and Leo decide that in order to achieve greatness, Rafe must break every rule in the Code of Conduct! The two of them devise a points system of sorts in order to “reward” Rafe for his “achievements” Certain infractions would be worth certain points and depending on whether they were witnessed by others, specifically Jeanne Galletta, they would have bonus points attached! As you can imagine, the book is chalked full of examples of how NOT to make an IMPACT on your school! However, with a deep look into Rafe’s life, you see a great deal of pain, mistrust, and insecurity caused by a broken family, a troubled relationship with his best friend Leo, and the added pressure of achieving purpose! Every single teenager has a similar story. Though family situations may be different, though their schools may be better, though their friends be different, ALL adolescents must achieve an Identity during the teen years!What will your teen’s purpose be? How will you help them achieve it?As I read this book, I was reminded of the purpose of parenting and even Student Ministry: To help every student be Known, Loved, and Belong! I hope you will pick up a copy of this book and read it. Even if your “Middle Schooler” is graduating this year, this book is a deep reminder of how a “tribe can raise a child” as we live out life together in community. But more important, I hope it will remind you of how critical the teen years are and how we all need each other in order for our students to achieve the greatness God has in store for them!


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