Engaging Today's Prodigal equips readers with a better understanding of a prodigal's motivation, useful responses that won't prevent reconciliation, clear boundaries to protect themselves and other children, and the value of realistic expectations. With effective wit and humor, former prodigal Carol Barnier, provides material relevant for churches, parents and even the prodigals themselves. Can your family or church interact with a prodigal in ways that build a relationship bridge that can provide a way back home when they are ready? Let Engaging Today's Prodigal equip you with clear, specific actions that can overcome the shame, hurt, and loss to bring real hope for the future.
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Customer Reviews for Engaging Today's Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope
Review 1 for Engaging Today's Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope
Date:February 12, 2013
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.
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Review 2 for Engaging Today's Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope
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.
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Review 3 for Engaging Today's Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope
A Much-Needed Book for Hurting Parents and Friends
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.
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Review 4 for Engaging Today's Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope
Carol Barnier left her Christian church and later became an atheist. She joined the American Atheists, organization of the infamous Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Later, she talks about her difficult son. She defines a prodigal as one who leaves the faith, as much as one who lives a riotous life. Though the original prodigal mirrored the addict of today, the author merely questioned herself out of the church. She blames misunderstood promises. Some churches claim some things as promises through misinterpretation. When we accept them as promises, it shakes our faith when the Lord doesn’t respond to our prayers as we believe He “promised”.
Part One talks about parental guilt and how that affects behavior toward the prodigal. Part Two describes how we, and the church, should respond to the prodigal. Part Three tells the author’s story. Among other facts, she points out that she came from a Christian home with loving, well-intentioned parents.
Parents will find encouragement in these pages. The load may become a bit less heavy. The author uses herself as a case study throughout. She writes intelligently and with humor. Anyone seeking hope in this trying situation will find a compassionate advocate in Carol Barnier.
I received this book through NetGalley. It is an honest review.