Last year (at exactly this same time of year, because I read it over our camping trip) I read Sticky Faith. It was a book I picked up from Amazon because I'm raising teens that I hope will walk with Jesus after they leave high school and move on with their lives. It was a great book and I highly recommend it.
So when I saw The Sticky Faith Guide for your Family available for review from Zondervan, I jumped on it and took it along on our camping trip. I am SO glad I did! It seriously transformed our trip.
First off, the author makes it a point at the beginning to tell you to not walk away discouraged because you aren't doing some of the ideas in this book, but rather encouraged that every day you are here on earth is another day to try. That made me think of this important fact:
There is NEVER a day that I'm hopeless because there's NEVER a day I'm without the Giver of Hope.
The next thing that the book made me think of (though I couldn't find on review if she mentioned this or if I thought of it because of something she said) was this question: What do your children need from you in this stage of life, right now? So I went through each child individually and asked myself that question. Then I asked my husband. Then I asked my friends we were camping with. What does ____ need from you right now?
For my oldest: He needs my respect. I'm least likely to give it to him because he hasn't really earned it. He's my quickest to fire off in anger... and I find it funny that he is the one who needs respect the most. I can tell how it eats at him when I respond to his attitude with a lack of respect. So we had a talk at camp about how I will work on respect, and he needs to work on responding to me in love. (I want him to practice for how he will need to respond to his wife one day.)
For my middle son, he needs my encouragement and pushing. He needs me to push him to go beyond his introverted world and encouragement to try new things and make new friends.
My youngest son needs my positive interaction and touch and love. He is the one who will come in for one last good night hug six times a night, and call good night from his bed about twenty times. He needs more daily positive interactions.
Then, upon reading further, I came across this paragraph which totally changed our camping trip this year.
I thought after reading it, that it was probably true, but wanted to test it out. Since we were camping with other families from our church, I asked them if it was true for them that their children had never heard their stories. Most of the children never had. For some families, the oldest had heard bits and pieces, but most hadn't. So, we made it a point to tell our stories to our children around the campfire after dinner.
You guys, it was AMAZING!
I cannot even say how cool it was. We heard all kinds of faith conversions. From huge change in an instant to some that gradually understood and accepted Christ. It was truly the most amazing evenings we've ever had camping. Not only did we get deep with fellow church members, but we all had a chance to verbalize, remember, and grow closer through telling our stories. Our children were there to hear and were able to see and understand that God works through all kinds of experiences, circumstances, and people to bring us to Him. There were stories of forgiveness, falling back into sin, growth, pain, happiness. It. Was. Awesome! And it is a tradition that I hope we can continue each year that we camp.
I wrote a lot of notes, underlined miles of passages, and will return to this book over and over. The author encourages you to choose just 5 things to work on so you don't get overwhelmed. I found my five and with Christ's grace I will work on them.
Some ideas I hope to work on:
Inviting families over from our church to hear their stories and continue that awesome time of getting to truly know our friends.
Figure out ahead of time what my response to bickering will be (still working on that one!).
Have a date with each son on the date of his birthday each month. My oldest was born on the 6th, so on the 6th of each month, we'll do something one on one, even if it's going for a walk around the block, or grabbing a soda at the drive through.
Make a scripture memory wall or board near the dining room table so we can all work on verses together at meal times.
Institute a Sabbath Saturday. No screens, no electronics. Just time together to play board games, go on hikes, or just hang out and read. (We've done this before, but like all good things if you aren't intentional, it just kinda fell under the radar and was forgotten.)
This was an amazing book, packed with tons of real life applications that you can do right now. All information came from real parents, doing real things, struggling in real ways just like you and I, but letting you in on the secrets that worked well for them. I'm so glad this book is out there for us who continue to keep trying!
Go get it!
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