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Monday, September 24, 2012

Do I Want My Kids To Be Happy?

My answer to that question is "yes" and "no".

Let me explain.

I hear parents say and see many post in public forums such as Facebook about how they just want their kids to be happy.  I do want my kids to be happy...happy in the Lord.  I want them to know that "the joy of the Lord is their strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).  I want them to know the Lord and have a faith found in that will guide them through those days that are tough and remind them to praise God for His good gifts.  Because every day is not a happy one.

Life is just plain hard sometimes and it isn't always about being happy, but finding our joy in the right place.  Our kids, especially our teens, have a tough time in today's culture.  So many things vie for their attention and affections.  Not all those things are necessarily bad;  just not the best or the most God exalting.  I want to know that my children "are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).

That is why I am so excited that Michael Catt, Senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia (also the executive producer of the film Courageous) and Amy Parker have written the book Living for God as Courageous Teens.  

 "Proverbs 25:26 says, 'A righteous person who yields to the wicked is like a muddied spring or a polluted well.'  We claim to be individuals, but we look and sound like clones of the culture.  No one seems to be in the mood to be different.  I'm not talking about being weird;  I am talking about making an impact.  It's time to raise the bar.  The first time I read the resolution scene in Courageous, every fiber of my being wanted to stand up and cheer.  It's a call to be courageous, take action, and return to the principles of godliness.  When we take our commitments seriously, we make significant inroads into the lives of others."
(excerpt from chapter 9, page 129)

Living for God as Courageous Teens does not contain watered down or simplified truth.  Catt and Parker have provided teens with a resource to challenge and encourage them in their faith and decision to take a stand for Christ and live for Him.

The book is organized into four sections:
  1. Courageous Faith:  The Courage to Get Going and The Courage to Face an Uncertain Future
  2. Courageous Leadership:  The Courage to Lead on All Levels and The Courage to Be a Humble Hero
  3. Courageous Priorities:  The Courage to Make Up Your Mind, The Courage to Choose and Refuse, and The Courage to Face Persecution
  4. Courageous Influence:  The Courage to Face Criticism, The Courage to Stir Up the Fire, and The Courage Catalyst
Each section begins with a portion of the script from the movie Courageous.  Then a portion of scripture telling Joshua's story in the Bible.  Each chapter within the sections end with a section titled "Think Courageously", where the reader is given questions to help them apply the truths covered in the chapter.  Teens have an opportunity to think through what they've just read and apply it to their own lives.  Each section ends with a "recap" where teens are given the opportunity to summarize how those in the Bible lived courageously and how they can follow their examples.  Catt and Parker touch on the stories of Joshua, Abraham, Esther, Ruth, Gideon, Elijah, Moses, Stephen, Nehemiah, Paul and Christ.

I plan on giving this book to my daughter and encouraging her to use it as a starting place in her personal quiet times.  This would also be an exceptional resource for youth Sunday School classes or small group studies with parents and teens; after all, we parents need reminders to live courageously as well!

So, to answer my own question:  Do I want my kids to be happy?  I want my kids to know Christ and be courageous in making Him known to the world around them; joy...a deeply abiding joy...that's what I want for my kids!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Handlebar Central and B&H Publishing as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Blessings and you and your teens,