It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play in Shaping Your Teen’s Faith Dan Dupee (Baker Books) $15.99 BookNotes sale price 10% off = $14.39
Right! It is not too late for parents of older teens.
Or, as Dan Dupee says in his funny and lovely opening foreword, “There’s hope for your Great, Scary, Expectations.”
And, as I predict in my own endorsing blurb on the inside cover page, It’s Not Too Late “will be reassuring and helpful to parents and change the tone of the conversation about emerging adults in churches.”
We were so thrilled that this book was coming and so eager to promote it prior to its release that we had invited BookNotes subscribers to pre-order it from us back in December. It was released in mid-February and we are eager to once again invite you to order it.
(You can click on the link below which will take you to our certified secure website, where you may safely enter credit card info, or take us up on our offer to just send you the order with an invoice enclosed so you can pay the bill by check, later. Or, you can call the shop, old-school style. We’re eager to share the very good news of this very good book, and hope you get it from us soon. We usually ship through US mail, which is cheaper and just as quick as UPS, but we can ship it any way you select, or send it to someone else as a gift, if you’d like. We even gift wrap for free — just ask.)
On one hand, It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play in Shaping Your Teen’s Faith is a useful parenting book giving wise and winsome guidance to parents of teens. The stresses and challenges of parenting teenagers and young adults are legendary, and there are many good books that we often recommend. We carry a lot of parenting books and many are excellent. Dan Dupee’s new book is unique among them and for a number of reasons we are particularly thrilled to see it launched out into the world this season. Dan is a good friend, and we’ve chatted with him about his dream of writing this book – and we sold him some books as he’s did his research for it! – and can assure you that, as I say below, I like and trust and respect him and his work immensely.
Yes, it is a handy and helpful parenting book, fresh and thoughtful and sensible. It will answer some of your questions and assist you in this season of parenting, I am sure. (Or prepare you well for it if your kids are younger.) It will encourage parents of teens and reassure parents of college age young adults. But it is more than a standard parenting book; it is unique, and significant, even for church leaders who aren’t parents, but care about young adult ministry. There are some things about It’s Not Too Late that make it truly exceptional. I have said before that there is nothing quite like it in print. (This is a claim that I only get to make rarely, and in this case I couldn’t be happier and more confident about it.) I had talked with Dan as he was researching and writing and I read an advanced version of the manuscript – I have an endorsing blurb on it, in fact — and am really excited to tell you about it.
This is a book that is bucking the trends and assumptions we tend to have, expressed in the media, in popular culture, and even in some Christian books that parents of college age students don’t really have much influence anymore. Too often we hear people say that once kids reach that stage in their lives, the parenting work is mostly done, and the adults who care, parents and aunts and uncles and church friends, well, we just have to hope for the best. We pick this up — the kids pick this up — that in matters of faith, young adults will just naturally tend to drift from their spiritual roots. It is nearly assumed: after high school kids will leave the church, and, at best, will come back to visit their faith communities when they come home from college at Christmas and Easter. We hope that once they sow their oats, find a job, settle down, they might come back to active faith in their 30s, perhaps when they have kids of their own. Dan Dupee (and the staff of CCO, the campus ministry organization he has led for a decade and a half) proves this narrative wrong. He knows this from his keen observation of the fruitfulness of those doing campus ministry with church partnerships like the CCO, but he has done good research, too, drawing on the best work Like David Kinnamen who wrote You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church… and Rethinking Faith (Baker Books; $17.99)
which documents some of the reasons young adults leave church.
Dupee shows that it doesn’t have to be this way.
No, no, no, it doesn’t have to be that way. Dupee knows better, and can tell you why the data suggests something very different: his research shows that parents and the local churches of college age students do still have a huge role to play, and that wise parenting of teenagers, even older teens, can pay off in vibrant faith and healthy transitioning after high school into Christian discipleship in the young adult years. (And, yes, helping students heading off to college or vocational schools find healthy Christian fellowship groups or campus ministry organizations and a nearby church congenial to collegiates, is vital.) It’s Not Too Late explains all this in fun and sparkling prose, drawing specific principles and practices that he has learned along the way. Dupee is a down to earth guy, a dad himself (of two sets of twins, I might add) and knows well the struggles of parenting adolescents who are growing into young adulthood. He tells lots of great stories, too, making this a top-notch and really fascinating parenting book, more interesting and more important than most.
Dan Dupee is a good friend and a person I admire greatly. I’ll happily admit that I’m biased: Beth and I know Dan and his wife, Carol, and some of his kids, too, themselves now college students or graduates. Dan has been the President of our beloved campus ministry organization, the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) for which we used to work and still serve as Associate Staff and bookseller for the organization. You have heard me talk about Jubilee in recent posts, and it is that organization that runs that extraordinary college student conference. (In fact, we launched It’s Not Too Late at that event in February, celebrating it with the gathered community, and especially the adult sponsors and church partners in attendance. He also got to present some of his findings to the important Jubilee Professional event sponsored by Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation the day before Jubilee.)
If anybody knows young adults, college students, and those who love and serve them well, it is Dan Dupee and his CCO staff. If anybody should have written a book like this, it is Dan.
In his prep for the book, Dan convened numerous focus groups. As the CEO and director of a para-church ministry that partners with local congregations near colleges, he knows churches that have effective outreach to students, and knows many, many collegiates. He had ready access to lots of folks in diverse settings who were very willing to participant in his gathering of stories, which gave him access to a wealth of input.
Some of what parents and young adults said in these many face-to-face conversation groups is reported in It’s Not Too Late and you will be excited to learn what works (and what doesn’t) in wise and effective parenting of teens and young adults transitioning out of the house and into college or adult life. From small town mid-West community colleges to urban and sophisticated East Coast universities, Dan and colleagues convened groups and listened well. The book is theologically informed and Biblically-wise, but these stories make it sing, and help readers realize they are not alone in this parenting journey.
There are clear and practical principles that he deduced from these vibrant, fascinating conversations. Many are refreshingly helpful, and a few matters that surfaced are nearly surprising; this make It’s Not Too Late an exceptional book that offers insights that aren’t always named in otherwise fine parenting books. For instance, discussions arose in these focus groups about young adults discerning their vocation and whether and how parents, churches and youth group leaders can help students develop a robust sense of call, visions of vocation. (I have long noted that the church has this historic and transforming doctrine of calling but we usually default to the language and values of the high school guidance office as young people consider their choice of colleges and majors, and rarely help high school grads on this obviously vital matter. What might happen if we as God’s people helped surround young people with caring and wise folks who can help them discern their gifts and passions and God’s call upon their lives, if they viewed their choosing a major as part of their walk with God and their classroom studies as part of their discipleship?
Naturally, Dupee cites a number of good resources along these lines, including Don Optiz and Derek Melleby and their lovely little book — a must-read for every Christian college student — Learning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness (Brazos Press; $14.99.) It was, after all, the CCO and their Jubilee conference and the many books on these themes that we’ve gotten into their hands that gave rise to writing that book on the integration of faith and learning for youngsters heading off to college. Mr. Dupee’s It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play… is the only book about parenting teens of which I know that gives considerable attention to this critical matter! And the stories – oh, the stories about this key issue are tender and inspiring and urgent.
You can be confident that this is a book that is at once fun to read, upbeat and practical, and yet actually based on (informal) research, Dan’s quest to learn what really works, and lots and lots of first-hand stories with students Dan has met through the CCO and their parents. It has big picture stuff (such as the aforementioned bit about vocation and calling, a Christian perspective on all of life and the like) and covers (yes!) the routine issues like how college students, after living on their own for a season or two, move home for Spring break or the summer, and don’t expect to be treated like a high-schooler, with curfews and rules they didn’t have in their resident hall at Big Time U. So there’s that kind of stuff, and it’s good. It’s a treasure of a book, and we couldn’t be more happy to commend it to you.
It’s Not Too Late is a must-read for parents of teens, of course, and parents of college-age young adults, but it is also vital for church leaders, youth pastors, high school or college teachers, campus workers, student affairs professionals and anyone who cares about young adults.
And there is a short appendix written specifically for dads and men. Some things came up as he reflected on all he heard from students and parents, and it’s a nice contribution to the larger book.
Why not order a few copies now? (We have higher discounts for larger orders of multiple copies, by the way.) Give one as a gift, and donate one to your church library – it is a book we believe can be a real God-send to many. Maybe your church could sponsor a book club or class about these very things. Spread the word: it is not too late to do what God invites us — expects us — to do: care for our young adults as they move away from home, take up their own vocations in the world, and deepen their discipleship, for the rest of their lives. This book will help.
Listen to what the important Christian writer – an old friend of Dan’s from their college years – Dan Allender (professor and founding President of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and author of, among many others, How Children Raise Parents and the new Healing the Wounded Heart) says about It’s Not Too Late:
Dan guides us to neither give in to the need to micromanage nor justify cowardly detachment. Your relationship with your child will grow far beyond your wildest dreams as you explore this glorious book.
I like these lines from a review by Jerusha Clark, author of Your Teenager is Not Crazy and a very popular author and comrade for parents of teens. She writes,
Encouraging and empowering. Dan Dupee deconstructs myths that leave moms and dads feeling inadequate to influence their children’s faith and replaces them with God’s wisdom, grounded in Scripture, sociological research, and anecdotal experience. You will find help and hope in these pages!
It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play in Shaping Your Teen’s Faith
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