First off, I want to thank the folks over at Ave Maria Press for sending me a review copy of Keep Your Kids Catholic. This is both a sincere statement of thanks and a disclosure that I received the book at no cost from the publisher. Now with that out of the way, on to the review!
Anyone who reads the Life on Fire blog knows that I am not a perfect father. I've never professed to be one. In fact, I'm perfectly confident that in some way, shape or form I will scar my son for the rest of his life no matter how hard I try not to. Why? I'm not God, that's why! However, I'll be darned if I am going to allow God to change and form me into the dad I should be only to have my son walk away from the faith when he hits Confirmation!
When the offer came up to review Keep Your Kids Catholic by Marc Cardaronella I leapt at the opportunity. In all sincerity, I do know how large a father's impact is on his children and it scares me to think about it too much.
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Marc does a great job of laying out a plan for parents who want to embrace their own faith and to plant seeds, develop roots and cultivate the vine that is the faith in their children. His book is divided into four sections, each of which has 3-5 short and easily digestible chapters.
Each section covers some key elements important for a parent in encouraging a faith life in their children. The first section covers the importance of parents to faith formation. The second discusses the importance of a parent's faith life and ways in which to grow in that faith. The third section lays out a plan for educating children in the faith, which honestly should be employed in every parish. The fourth and final section discusses how to make the home a place of Catholic culture not through bashing faith over the head but, through action and simple touches around that home.
The author also knows that a single book cannot contain everything a parent might need to develop their own spiritual life or that of their children. Instead in many of the chapters he offers specific reading or video suggestions that will assist both parents and their children to grow to know and love God more. I know that I will be referring back to his suggestions for myself, Tanya and our son.
Lastly, each chapter has concrete steps that are simple and build upon each other over the course of the book. The chapters end with some reflection questions, things to bring up in prayer with God and ways in which to live out the teaching of the chapter in one's life. I can't honestly say I have done all of those things with each chapter but, I will likely be referring back to this book over time.
While Keep Your Kids Catholic is an easy read that can be accomplished over a short time, I personally would recommend that readers take their time with it and keep the book nearby for quick reference over time. I also recommend BOTH parents reading the book if possible in order to ensure that they are both of one heart and mind when it comes to their own faith and that of their children.
Keep Your Kids Catholic is available directly from Ave Maria Press, Amazon or wherever fine Catholic books and ebooks can be found. I highly recommend that all parents who are serious about raising their children in the Catholic faith pick it up.
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Copyright 2016 Chris Weitzel
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