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Teens sans angst?

02 May 2014

Ronni Lamont reads a parenting guide

Parenting Children for a Life of Purpose: Empowering children to become who they are called to be
Rachel Turner
BRF £7.99
Church Times Bookshop £7.20 (Use code CT343 )

THIS little book from BRF examines parenting from a New Wine perspective, looking at how we encourage our children to participate fully in the worshipping life of the Church, and enable children to take a full part in the Church's mission. It contains some good ideas, and helpful suggestions for those who want to raise their children within this tradition.

This is frequently done through reference to a six-stage cycle, reinforcing and encouraging children in their ministry. Throughout the book, ideas about how to enable children are illustrated with practical examples, and these ensure that it is always easy to understand what Turner is talking about.

A common language sometimes divides rather than unites us, however, and herein lies the problem for many Church Times readers with this book; for it is written in New Wine-speak. If you are from that tradition, the language will be fine, but I found some of the text difficult from my middle-of-the road Anglican perspective.

Children become teenagers and then adults, but Turner hardly mentions that this usually involves their asking profound existential questions about life, the universe, and everything. Because the purpose of the book is to help parents to bring their children up as Christians, the underlying assumption is that everything in the garden will continue to be rosy; but development theories inform us that teenagers take time, often many years, to form their own ideas about faith. If they are to remain Christians, they need to own the faith for themselves, not adopt it from their parents.

Also missing from the book are references to fun, play, or creativity - among the most God-like aspects of anyone. So it can read a bit like a training manual rather than an encouragement to open our eyes to the amazing way in which children minister to us, if we let them.

The Revd Ronni Lamont is a freelance writer and trainer.

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