Forming Resilient Children by Holly Catterton Allen is not just a parenting book, though it is that. It also provides research-based insights into children’s spiritual formation and development.
The book has four parts. The first outlines foundational concepts, the second discusses families and children’s spirituality, the third looks at the role churches play, and the fourth takes a deeper look at resilience and trauma. Each chapter has anecdotes from real-life people about children’s resilience. Each chapter also has some data or research-based information about children and spirituality. For example, in a chapter about the way grandparents can help shape their grandchildren’s spirituality, research from Barna is provided showing how grandparents are often more intentional about spiritual interactions with children (71). The stories of real children coming through stressful or traumatic situations are touching, but also provide a basis for how to look at each chapter and things to think about.
Some readers may be surprised by the insights in this book. Research shows that children’s spirituality is revealed essentially from birth, as the connections we make are universal (17-19). I was one surprised by this, though I honestly shouldn’t have been, since it seems clear that God has made humans to be spiritual creatures. At many points, the author shares ways people can build children up not just to be resilient, but also to follow spiritual practices and establish a life of faith.
Forming Resilient Children is an excellent read that opens a number of insights into how to form connections between children and their faith. It also provides a basis for learning about resilience and bringing kids through difficult times. Recommended.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book for review by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.
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