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Susan K Stewart
4 Stars Out Of 5
What I Was Looking For
October 31, 2012
Susan K Stewart
Around the Word in 60 Seconds
the ultimate tween devotional
by Mary DeMuth
When teaching my tweens and teens at home, I found it hard to find a simple devotional that they could relate to. My children didn't date, didn't deal with locker room gossip, or the usual school social structure. In fact, some of the typical devotionals written for young people glorified the traditional school culture enough to make my children wonder if they were missing out on something.
Around the Word in 60 Seconds is just what I was looking for, but could not find. Author Mary DeMuth, who "enjoys helping parents and kids connect over conversation," has put together a book that speaks to broader issues than high school culture. While written directly to tweens and teens, this devotional is also useable as a guide for families.
The weekly format starts with a short devotion followed by an action item and prayer. Ms. DeMuth loves to write prayers for her readers. Then for five days the reader is presented with a Bible verse and a thoughtful question. There is something for six days each week, presumably leaving the seventh day for worship.
Ms. DeMuth has written this devotional to the wider teen market, so the devotions often are stories of what might be happening at a traditional school. It's the action items and daily questions that make this book different, and useable for the family.
A couple of the action items that caught my attention:
"The next time you're in the grocery store or at the gas station, read the headlines of the gossip magazines. _.. Say a prayer for one of the celebrities whose picture is on the front page of one of the tabloids."
I thought, "Now that's a great action." Can you imagine what might happen if families all around the country were praying for these celebrities?
"Ask your parents about what TV shows, movies, and songs they find offensive. Listen to their reasons why they're inappropriate. Choose to obey your parents and stay away from the things they warn you about." (emphasis added)
Another "Wow" for me. Not only does this action item reinforce biblical commands, it opens up a discussion with parents. It also acknowledges the wisdom and authority of parents. Something I Ã¢â¬Ëve found lacking in some teen devotionals.
The daily questions can be used for journal writing or a family discussion. Again, the questions aren't superficial. "What's the difference between befriending those who aren't Christians and spending all your time with them?" or "How can someone possibly be joyful all the time?" are thought provoking no matter your age.
Whether you give this book to your teen for personal devotions or use as a family devotional, you won't be disappointed. In fact, I recommend that adults use this book as well.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
Around the Word in 60 Seconds is a relevant and power packed devotional for tweens, or really teens.(Some of the subject matter is very mature.) Starting on "Monday" your child will read a devotion that is current to what we see happening with our kids today. Then on days two thru five, they will dig into a scripture verse and see what God is speaking to their heart. Whether your child is at the beginning of their tween years or in the end, this is a devotional that will speak into their life on a daily basis. I highly recommend this book! BUT!! I highly recommend that parent's go through this devotional with your child. Make it a family devotional to do together.
As a homeschooling parent, a morning Bible study and/or devotion is part of our lifestyle. I am always on the look out for good books as a resource. Now that my daughter is in the middle of the tween stage, I was hoping to find a devotional that would guide her into a more personal relationship with God's Word. I was excited to have the opportunity to review Around the Word in 60 Seconds: The Ultimate Tween Devotional. However, after using it for a few weeks, I have mixed feelings about it.
I like how each week was organized by various challenges: grumbling, betrayal, forgive, etc. One does not need to start at the beginning of the book and go through to the end, but can chose a particular challenge that would be currently relevant. I like the concept of using the blank space under the daily scripture as a journal to jot down thoughts or draw a picture. I may have even understood the purpose for each day's devotional time possibly taking as little as sixty seconds just to get a child started with a daily devotional, because that really is not enough time for devotions.
Unfortunately, I did not like the unevenness of book. On the first day of each week, which is supposed to be Monday, a scripture is given and then a short fictional story. Afterward, there is a section called "Take Action" which is like a suggested assignment to do during the week, some which could easily take over thirty minutes to do. Following that is a scripted prayer.
For the days of the rest of the week, there is only a scripture and then a question or two. There is one page per day plus one page per weekend, and the author encourages the reader to use the blank space to write out the answers to the question, but also suggests writing down a poem or pasting in picture or any other creative work as one would in a journal. The journaling is a nice idea, but pasting things on the pages of a paperback with over 400 pages would be messy at best and make it hard to write on other pages or cause stress on the binding.
I have a highly imaginative, creative, and fairly self-discipled tween, but I think the way this devotional is structured that it would be better for an older teenager. I feel it does not give adequate guidance on the days following Monday to be a devotional for a child of the ages of eleven and twelve to do alone. It reminds me of fast food: it has meat, but that does not make it a substantial meal.
I also was not particularly impressed with the Bible version used for the scriptures, but that was a minor point as I did appreciate that it was in a more contemporary language that children would easily understand.
I would not recommend this devotional to be done alone for a tween and I am even a bit skeptical about it for a young teen.
Tyndale provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Around the Word in 60 Seconds, new from author Mary DeMuth and Tyndale House Publishers, bills itself as "the ultimate tween devotional." I'm in no position to draw such a conclusion, but I think it's a good devotional for this age.
Each week has a topic; for Week 16 it's "Stuff." A verse or two is given; in this case, Mark 4:19. That's followed by a 1- or 2-page story, usually about a young person learning a lesson. Week 16 is about having to have the latest gadgets, as opposed to being content with what we have. Take Action encourages the reader to do something with the lesson content--for example, weeding through her room to find things she no longer needs, then donating them. Connect with Jesus is a short prayer. For days 2-5, each day presents a verse and a thought-provoking question. The reader is encouraged to respond to the question in writing, by drawing, or in another creative way. Over the Weekend gives a final verse and question.
These questions could be done, in a cursory fashion, in a minute or two. But I think the hope is that reader will meditate on the verses, spend some time thinking about the questions, and try to apply the principles to daily life. I believe that this book would be best for young people who are just developing the discipline of a daily quiet time.
(I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and the Tyndale Blog Network for the opportunity. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions in this review are my own.)