Growing With–a Book You Must Know About

Growing With parenting_ A mutual journey of intentional growth for both ourselves and our children that trusts God to transform us all.

As a pastor, I am “in a relationship” with the Fuller Youth Institute. I’m not even shy about it. In a culture that makes it challenging for our kids’ faith to thrive, I have found abundant resources for both parents and church leaders in their publications. I’m even using a number of them for my thesis project.

That’s why, when my email magically notified me they were looking for a book launch team for their next resource–– Growing With––that was one of the few emails I didn’t scroll past or trash with abandon. I applied immediately.

I mean, my tagline you can read above is” Reframed: Picturing faith with the next generation.” It’s kind of important to me.

Growing With’s subtitle– –Every Parent’s Guide To Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future––captures the thing well. The authors, Kara Powell and Steven Argue,  use three verbs to help parents during the three stages of their children’s growth.

Growing alongside our kids requires holding our future snapshots loosely, because our dreams may not end up being theirs

Withing

  • Withing––how do we relearn to actually be with our children, not simply around them?

Faithing

  • Faithing—how do we help our kids navigate the changes in their faith with patience and optimism, realizing that our faith, too, is or should be ever-changing?

Adulting

  • Adulting– –what tools do our kids in need to thrive in their own new life, and what is our role in supplying and them?

As parents, we remember the lyrics to our kids' past dreams and sing them back to them when the timing is right.

I won’t lie ––Growing With can be a tough read if your kids are already in their 20s, as mine are. You can’t help but notice the many things you could have done better. Yet Powell and Argue lace Growing With with grace. They are parents, too. They have made their own mistakes and are not afraid to let the readers know it. The message comes through––

We’re all imperfect humans raising imperfect humans.

We all need some help. Both generations need grace to understand that the other is still growing, learning, and making mistakes. That understanding alone it is worth the price of admission for this book.

The authors talk about the cultural changes that have made growing up in this generation far different than the world their parents knew at their age. They lay down some of the stark facts that might depress us about our children’s faith, but they also debunk some of the myths about the Millennial generation and iGen that keep parents awake at night in fear.

The clear, well-informed, and fact checked understanding of the next generations’ hopes, worries, and beliefs is invaluable to parents, grandparents, and church leaders who wants to understand what is going on in the heads and hearts of these generations.

Teachers, Guides, Resourcers

I love how the authors explain the different roles parents need to take on as their children change. Parents need to evolve from teachers to guides to resources. We can’t hope to parent a 25 -year-old the same way we did a 14-year-old. At least, we can’t hope to do it and retain a good relationship. And genuine relationships are what it’s all about for the next generation.

A guide doesn't carry your pack or do the exploring for you. They walk with you, attending to the novice travelers untested instincts, wrong turns, missed opportunities, and awe-inspiring moments. Thus the parent of

We need to be, as one story puts it, ”A wall they can swim back to”—a firm and sturdy place that will always support them after their forays toward and into adulthood. The writers don’t just leave us with that pithy picture, however. They give readers wonderful ways to be that wall. 

The important words are verbs

I love that the writers, like our scripture writers, know that the important words are verbs. Parents don’t simply ”be with” their kids. They are withing, together. It’s a verb because it is active. We need to intentionally practice withing.

Likewise, faith isn’t a static thing we can hand off to our kids when we think they’re ready. It’s a verb we practice more than we preach. It can’t be given––it can only be lived together. This flows perfectly with the biblical view of faith. Faith is never a thing in scripture––it is always an active, living way of life.

If you’re intrigued, or if you know someone who could benefit from “every parent’s guide to helping teenagers and young adults thrive,” check out Growing With––and preorder yours now (before March 5th) to receive some very special extras as well. I know I’m going to.

let’s go bravado something

On Thursdays in January, you were hearing a lot from me about RiskRejection, the group of fearful, quivering women who joined forces and said, “Eh, not so much. Quivering is overrated. Let’s do this risk thing!” And we did. In ways major and minor, we planned, risked (not always in that order), and bravadoed (yes, that is a word. As of now) our way through risk and fear. These women inspired me. I am excited to have a seat in the arena to watch their futures.

Soooo–move here? Would someone PLEASE suggest this?

But as the month ended, I figured, why does a good thing have to end? Why not keep it up? Why not keep finding a risk to take every week ad write about it? 

Problem being–I am not an endless fount of risk-taking ideas. I will run dry. I will start to resort to things like, “quit my job and move to Vancouver Island” because I lack creativity. And because I would really love to move to Vancouver Island.

So, I am enrolling you as my official risk-taking suggestion box. (Though you are not a box. Nor do you resemble one. That would just be . . . odd.) What risks would you suggest I take in coming weeks? What risks do YOU want to take but haven’t been able to make yourself engage in? I would really, really love to hear what dreams you have and what your fears are about them. We can encourage one another here.

But right now, offer suggestions, with these caveats:

  • I won’t risk my life and limb, nor those of anyone else, even on the days it is tempting. This rules out skydiving and snake handling.
  • I won’t do anything outside of my moral boundaries. (I fully believe it is immoral to embarrass myself. I’m sure I can find it in the Bible. Or . . . not.) 
  • I will operate under the exercise of free will. So there will be no accusations of chickening out if I don’t use your suggestion. Even if they may or may not be true.

The point is to continue to take risks with a purpose. I would love to invite you on that journey–as a risk suggester or a fellow risk taker. Join in.