HELP INSPIRE SERIOUS DREAMS AFTER COLLEGE
I hope you saw the last BookNotes, naming a handful of books that would make sweet gifts for college grads. I know some of you have been praying for your young friends going through finals week and I know some of you have been eager to celebrate this big transition into post-college life. To declare that my own book, Serious Dreams: Bold Ideas for the Rest of Your Life, was one of the two best for this purpose was, well, a little awkward, I suppose. But the feedback on the book has been good, and I’m not ashamed to say that the folks who contributed chapters are all stellar thinkers, mostly fairly famous writers, actually, and their pieces are very inspirational. And the other? Well, again, my pal and fellow-writer Erica Young Reitz, is a gem, and her book, After College is just wonderful, so very wise to help young Christians shift into a new season of life.
And it is a new season of life for many.
But what of the parents?
I’m glad you asked.
READING ABOUT YOUTH CULTURE
Much research has been done in recent years on the religious and spiritual lives of teens and young adults. Scholars have done good stuff documenting the demographic — Christian Smith’s two major books, published by Oxford University Press are the gold standard here — and exceptionally important seminary professors such as Kenda Creasy Dean (Almost Christian) have shown us the import of this data. Those of us who attend ordinary churches or who parent or work in youth ministry all know it deep in our bones. The older teen years are rife with complexity, with dangers, even, and also plenty of positive possibility. We stock tons of books about youth ministry and remarkable books about youth culture these days. We still recommend the important work of Walt Mueller over at CPYU and his engaging, thoughtful book Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture: Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth. The must-read American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales, who we met at a Redeemer Presbyterian conference in New York last fall, by the way, is out in paperback, now. (Her book that was made into a big Hollywood film, The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World was hard for me to put down — what a crazy, insightful, illuminating story of the exploits of a group of teens who robbed the homes of movie stars and their pop culture heroes.)
And, since we’re thinking about this, recall that we raved at BookNotes, briefly, about the new book by Andy Crouch called The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place (Baker; $13.99.) It is a small book, but nothing short of brilliant, offering insight about family life, teen culture, stats and data about current media use and the impact on families caused by our use of digital devices. My, my, everyone should buy that book, and read it carefully. In our BookNotes review I mentioned, too, that Andy’s high-school age daughter wrote the foreword.
So, yeah. Some families actually can have effective and fruitful conversations about what sort of vision for the nature of life they want to embody; that is, they can actually life in ways that are consistent with their deepest values and the story they want to tell about their life on God’s green Earth. Families can, indeed, love each other well, messy as it may be, in real ways. Even in a digital culture.
Ahh, but how? And what about those parents whose kids are of that age where parenting is harder, more complicated — maybe older teens who themselves say that may not want to be parented?
Well, first, families have to realize the significance of the role of popular culture in shaping our imagination about what families are, the character of the relationship of parents and their kids, and particularly the alleged lack of interest (in parents and church) among young adults. We must be willing to deconstruct some of the myths, question some of the assumptions, think of new ways to build healthy relationships out of a better story of what can be.
And one of the big myths is this: that it is simply too late once a child reaches the older teen years, or graduates from high school. Our parenting role is mostly done, or so we’re told, and kids will most likely drift from church. It’s just the way it goes.
It is our task to resist that.
The very best ally for this daring project — realizing it is not too late, giving parents new hope of being an influence upon their teens and young adult children — is my friend Dan Dupee, who wrote the very best book all about this. And it is called… wait for it… It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play in Shaping Your Teen’s Faith. It’s published by Baker Publishing and it properly sells for $15.99. We’re selling it for an even $15.00.
We reviewed it here when it first came out, and we have been happy to promote it anywhere we can in this past year.
DAN DUPEE SPEAKING ABOUT PARENTING TEENS
MAY 12, 2017
FPC YORK, PA
And now, we here at Hearts & Minds are bringing Dan to central PA for an evening presentation about parenting older teens, about prepping kids for their transition out of the house, especially if they are college-bound. We have joined with our own church, First Presbyterian Church in downtown York, PA, (on the corner of Queen & Market Streets right downtown) to host Dan on March 12th, Friday night. (That’s mother’s day weekend — a good time to ponder parenting, eh?) Feel free to give us a call here at the shop for more info; we think it’s going to be a great evening.
JOIN US FOR DESSERT AT 7:00 PM
We’ll have some complimentary desserts at 7:00 and then Dan will lecture in our historic sanctuary, with plenty of time for Q & A. Maybe I’ll interview him a bit, we’ll talk together about his book, and we’ll have some more snacks and a time for him to sign some books. The event is free and all are welcome.
Dupee will surely talk about key points from the book (and stuff he’s been learning in ongoing conversations about this topic.) For instance, one chapter is called “Seven Myths That Might Be Sabotaging Your Parenting.” I’m sure he’ll tell us about some of them, at least. As an alternative story to the myth that says we lose influence as our kids get older, though, he teaches how we can wisely “lose control as your kid grows” which is a rather developmental approach, that is, finding the right sort of influence for each stage of your child’s life. As a young adult grows and perhaps moves out of the house, the control we have is obviously different, but can still vital.
His chapter in It’s Not Too Late, actually, about kids thriving in college is fantastic and I wish every parent of a college-student would read it. (It mentions some students we have known, actually, and — full disclosure — mentions our bookstore services for those students who may need guidance in reading about faith, vocation, academic discipleship, or have other book needs. What an honor to have our story woven into this wise book.)
So, we’re excited about Dan’s talk at FPC on May 12th, “It’s Not Too Late.” We do invite you to help us spread the word, ASAP. Know anybody in South Central Pennsylvania? Parents? Youth pastors? Anybody wondering about young adult ministry? College ministry teams? Fans of free dessert? Please invite them.
WANT AUTOGRAPHED COPIES?
If you would like us to get an autographed book for you, just let us know before the end of next week. If you want Dan to inscribe it for anyone special, just give us the name to whom it should be made out. Use our order form page at the website, or send me an email at email@example.com. We’re happy to have Dan sign a few and have them sent right out. It would make a very nice present, too, to parents you know.
DAN IS A GREAT SPEAKER — YOU’LL ENJOY HIS PRESENTATION.
AND HE KNOWS HIS STUFF.
It‘s going to be a fun and informative night. Dan’s a great speaker, lively and funny, and he and his wife Carol have double the experience many of us have — they have raised two sets of twins! And what good parents they are.
Perhaps equally important, though, is that Dan, until recently, was the CEO of the CCO (the Coalition for Christian Outreach, the Pittsburgh-based collegiate ministry with which Beth and I are affiliated.) His long involvement in the lives of those who work with college students, his leadership in this organization that specializes in partnering with churches near college campuses to do church-based campus outreach and disciple-making, and his years of experience getting to know literally thousands of young people, and, often, their families, makes him one of the nation’s leading experts on faith formation among older teens.
In fact, as he was writing this book, Dan held a whole bunch of focus groups, asking college students from through-out several states to talk about their own home churches (if they had home churches) and their parents (if they had caring parents.) Following those revealing, intense conversations with older teens and twenty-somethings, he gathered focus groups of parents of young adults. Again — wow.
You’ve got to read It’s Not Too Late to hear more about what he learned, and the good ideas, helpful practices, and fabulous stories he offers. Not everything is easy and uplifting, but he has a light touch even when parsing complex data or offering interpretation of recent trends and deconstructing the myths we’ve been lead to believe. He shifts from sociological studies to stories to Bible teaching so easily, giving the book a seamless feel. Even reporting on the hard stuff isn’t overwhelming –one of the chapters is called “When the Wheels Are Falling Off” which is exactly how Dan talks.
There’s a great chapter called “You Are Nowhere Close to Being a Perfect Parent: And That’s Okay.” There’s some solid, gospel-centered stuff for you, there.
There’s another called “Invite Community: Good Parenting Requires More Than Parents.” Right on.
Here are some endorsements that are at the publisher’s website, from the inside of the book. Don’t miss that last one, after the ones from all the famous folks.
“Parenting is the most difficult, painful, glorious and sweet gift I have known in this life. Parenting college-aged young adults is as complex as any calling on earth. Dan Dupee–a parent, an educator, and president of one of the most remarkable college ministries in America–offers tender, humbly wise, and compelling counsel for walking the tightrope of parenting children who are of the age to not want to be parented. Dan guides us to neither give in to the need to micromanage or justify cowardly detachment. Further, he explores the wealth of opportunities to participate in learning to join your child in the adventure of making faith the framework to explore all knowledge. Your relationship with your child will grow far beyond your wildest dreams as you explore this glorious book.”
Dan B. Allender, professor of counseling psychology and founding president of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; author of How Children Raise Parents and Healing the Wounded Heart
“Dan Dupee has great news for all of us raising teenagers: We continue to be the most influential people in our kids’ lives. With biblical wisdom and a healthy dose of common sense, Dan encourages us to realize that our teenagers need us now more than ever–and with love and guidance, we can send our kids out into the world with a vibrant faith of their own.”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family
“As a parent of two teenagers, I found It’s Not Too Late both encouraging and empowering. Dan Dupee deconstructs myths that leave moms and dads feeling inadequate to influence their children’s faith and replaces them with God’s wisdom, grounded in Scripture, sociological research, and anecdotal experience. You will find help and hope in these pages!”
Jerusha Clark, coauthor of Your Teenager’s Not Crazy
“It’s Not Too Late. That is Dan Dupee’s important message to parents of children who are in the transition from child to adult. As a college professor myself, I see many people in this age group every day, and while they are coming under other influences, I agree that parents remain vitally important in the lives of these young men and women. Dan gives great practical advice based on theological insight and, out of his long experience as CEO of the Coalition for Christian Outreach, a deep knowledge of this age group and their parents. Every parent ought to read this book!”
Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
“There is no one I trust more on this topic of raising kids who can transition well into their young adult and college years than Dan Dupee. I’ve watched his leadership within the campus ministry organization he leads and how he pays attention to the ways young adults thrive and grow, and I’ve seen his family, including his own young adult kids, and admire them greatly. This book is one of a kind, bringing together great stories with reliable research, helpful biblical truth, and keen insight gleaned from focus groups and interviews with parents of older teens and young adults. He knows the issues and he has learned what works, even in difficult times and in painfully messy situations. Our culture implies that parents have little influence over their college-aged sons and daughters, but Dupee proves otherwise and invites us to hopeful, engaged, positive parenting. This book will be reassuring and helpful to parents and will change the tone of the conversation about emerging adults in the church.”
Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Books
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