This is an excellent book for any Christian struggling with the issues it covers. We found it very helpful in a very unique situation that we have been struggling with, namely a same-sex marriage issue in our family.
This book was highly recommended to us by a very wise counselor at Focus on the Family.
If you're like me, reading everything you can get your hands on, helps. But finding someone with parenting prodigal experience who I could actually talk to really helped. christianhelphotline.com Wow, what a blessing! I had no idea a service like that existed, just found it by googling. Thought I would pass it on. I recommended this book to a friend of mind who also has a prodigal daughter. She was glad for the comfort she received from the hotline and the book.
Refreshing&new material with current & up-to-date insight into living with a prodigal in our lives! In following the suggestions in this book, I believe we are practicing God's perspective, not mans, so eventually it will become a win-win situation if we "don't lose heart",even though it may take years for our breakthrough.
Engaging Today's Prodigal blessed me, encouraged me, and educated me. I'll be perfectly honest and admit that I don't have a prodigal child at the moment. But becoming the mother of 3 teens has shown me that there is no guarantee I won't have a prodigal child at some point. Homeschooling was not the magic pill to remove all teenage angst or teen-parent friction, and there isn't a magic pill that turns out perfect little Christians either.
In fact, that is one of the myths of parenting and prodigals that Carol debunks in the first portion of her book. There is no secret potion or formula for turning out perfect children -- each child has to make their own decisions regarding faith and the direction of their lives, and sometimes they completely reject the beliefs of their parents, no matter how well they were raised. That is only one of the myths she discusses, but it is one of the most prevalent myths facing Christian families, especially homeschooling families.
In the second portion of the book, Carol discusses the dos and don'ts of communicating with our prodigal children. However, I believe these same dos and don'ts apply in relating to our older teens, as well. I've had my share of arguments with my daughters as they test out boundaries, question our beliefs, and slowly try to figure out their own belief system. I have repeatedly reminded myself not to make every discussion a lecture, and not to take the things they say personally. I repeatedly fail. Carol's guidelines are definitely ones that my husband and I will be referring to in the future as we continue to raise our 8 children.
Carol's third section provides hope for the hurting parents of prodigals. She shares more of her own personal walk away from Christianity into atheism, and her eventual return to her own Christian faith. She places a parent's focus back on God, who can take a prodigal's life, draw them back to Him, and make something beautiful of whatever mess they've made in their own life. Lastly, Carol addresses what churches and fellow Christians need to change in the way they handle prodigals, as well as their parents. She also challenges churches to help prevent the problem by properly handling the questions of children, teens, and young adults.
I've already stated that I don't have a prodigal child at this time, but I've lost the feeling of pride I once had; it's been replaced with a sense of vulnerability. I realize that I can't save my children and assure that they'll make the right decisions in their life. I can teach, I can guide, I can set an example, and they can still choose something vastly different.
I truly believe that every parent should read this book when their first child turns thirteen. I also think every parent should read the dos and don'ts each year, as a reminder of how to communicate with their teens in a way that doesn't build walls between their hearts. And if your child (or mine) does walk away from God, or make decisions that don't align with our values, Engaging Today's Prodigal will provide comfort, encouragement, guidance, and hope. It is a well-written book on a sensitive subject that needed to be addressed.
Thank you, Carol Barnier, for writing straight from your heart for prodigals and their families.
This book was provided to me, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. The views in this post are entirely my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
A Much-Needed Book for Hurting Parents and Friends
February 29, 2012
Age: Over 65
Barnier writes from personal experience as someone who left the faith her parents taught her, then returned twelve years later. She shares why and how she rejected Christianity and what helped her reconsider and finally realize God and Jesus was who she really wanted. What caused her to become an atheist is an important warning to today's parents and leaders. She had honest questions that no one would answer, not realizing she was searching for truth.
Her story and comments will give hurting parents good advice on what to do and not do in relating to their prodigal. She offers strong hope that their wandering child, even when an independent adult, may be redeemed some day.
So many parents have children for whom they pray earnestly. This book will help them know they're not alone and that their offspring can be restored to the wonderful life as a valuable child of God. The God who created every child never stops loving prodigals.