As a parent, I also want my daughter to know what she believes and why. I'm curious about the role apologetics might play in shaping her faith.
Because of my experience as both a youth pastor and parent, I was excited to read Natasha Crain’s Talking to Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have.
Talking to Your Kids about God is broken down into five parts, each dealing with a major area of apologetics:
• The existence of God
• Science and God
• The Nature of God
• Believing in God
• The Difference God Makes.
Each part contains several short chapters dealing with related subject areas, each designed to give parents both “direction – the knowledge of what to do – and discipline – the commitment to doing it” in having difficult faith-related conversations with their kids. Natasha’s approach to all the issues she discusses in Talking to Your Kids about God is that “apparent conflicts” between the secular world and the Christian community should be acknowledged and discussed – an approach which I very much appreciate.
In addition to Natasha’s overall approach to difficult subject matters, I loved several things about Talking to Your Kids about God. First, I love that it’s written by a female. After looking at my apologetics shelf, I realized ALL the apologetics books I own are written by white males. Natasha unashamedly brings her perspective as a mother into her writing. In fact, many chapter introductions feature anecdotes involving her kids that she then relates to apologetics. This breathes life into a subject area that’s often rather dry. Additionally, I wholeheartedly believe it will reach a female audience in a way that I’m not sure many other apologetics books have.
I also love that each chapter of Talking to Your Kids about God contains two closing sections: A bulleted list of key points and a conversation guide. The bulleted list of key points provides a succinct summary of the chapter that would make it easy for a parent who hasn’t read it to engage in good conversation about it.
Those conversations are also made easy using each chapter’s “Conversation Guide”. I’m normally not a fan of such things but these conversation starters are actually really good. Good enough that I wholeheartedly plan to steal some of the questions to use as discussion fodder in lessons about some of these issues with my youth group kids. For example, in the chapter, “Is what you believe about God simply a matter of where you grew up?” one of the conversation starters is “99% of people in Afghanistan are Muslim. Do you think that if you had been born in Afghanistan, you would be a Muslim too? Why or why not?” Just think about all the directions that a conversation sparked by this question could go!
That brings me to yet another thing I appreciated about Talking to Your Kids about God. It’s a book that parents can read and enjoy whole. But it’s also an excellent resource for parents (and youth pastors) to have on their bookshelf and pull out when their kids raise specific questions like – Do science and faith contradict one another? or Are all religions the same? With a quick skim of the table of contents, you’d be able to sit down and in less than 15 minutes, read and digest a chapter that will equip you to have a meaningful conversation with your child.
For these reasons, I wholeheartedly recommend Talking to Your Kids about God to both parents and youth pastors alike. For those more familiar with apologetics, it’s an excellent review with fresh, engaging stories. For those unfamiliar with apologetics, it’s a great primer useful in both pastoring and parenting!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Talking to Your Kids about God from Baker Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.