Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family by Rebecca Hagelin

In 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, author Rebecca Hagelin teaches her readers to fight the good fight against what she calls (again and again to the point of cliche) our "toxic culture."  She is correct~ our culture is indeed toxic and many (most?) parents don't seem to realize it or care or have the foggiest idea how to protect their families.  In short chapters, each one addressing one particular area, Mrs. Hagelin advises parents on how to deal with marketing to children, sex education in the schools, monitoring internet usage, upholding standards of dress, and limiting television, to name a few. I thought she had a good understanding of the problems facing our youth and helpful ideas about addressing them.  The book is heavy on teens and light on younger children, but some of her suggestions could be implemented with very young children ("Understand How Marketers Target Your Children," for instance); some, such as "Follow Ten Simple Steps With Your Teens To Foster Ongoing Support For Their Purity," are obviously for older kids.  I thought her ideas were doable and sensible . . . so sensible that I find it hard to believe there are parents who don't already do them, but judging by what I see in so many of our young people, I really should know better. 

The book is set up so that parents can easily read one short chapter a day.  There is a pledge at the end of each for parents to commit themselves to taking steps toward implementing the ideas, and there is a list of resources for further research into each problem area.  Mrs. Hagelin, a Christian, is not shy about promoting Christian morality, but some of her suggested websites, books, etc. are too broadly evangelical for me and my family.  I'm sure many other parents would disagree with me.  While the book is written by a Christian and is supportive of biblical moral standards, it is a how-to book and does not lay out the Gospel.  A family which faithfully implements all thirty suggestions may get children who have avoided the most egregious pitfalls of our society but will know nothing about Jesus and His forgiveness.  As Lutherans put it, it's all Law and no Gospel.  That is fine; that's not the purpose of the book, but parents should be aware that accomplishing all thirty goals in this book will not make their children Christians.  They will be more protected and their childhoods preserved, but they will still need baptism and catechesis in the Christian faith.  30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family is a practical, commonsensical book for help in maintaining a wholesome family life, but don't count on it to show your children Jesus.  Despite the book's title, it's Jesus who will save your family in the most important sense.

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