In our current discourse about consent education and legislation for technology, we need to be thinking prevention rather than cure. Having conversations with kids/teens about how to have respectful relationships and how to think critically about what they see online will prepare them for facing difficult issues later. Yet recent Relationships Australia research found that one of parents’ main worries is ‘how to talk to their children’.
Louise Bartlett (our Children & Family Ministries Facilitator) recently reviewed a new book called Raising Kids Who Care: Practical conversations for exploring stuff that matters, together – written to encourage a culture of communication in families with primary or high school-aged kids. The book is written by Susy Lee.
A member of Seaforth Baptist, Susy is a highly engaging presenter with a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. Her career twirls around the twin themes of social justice and children, including state and national consultancy roles with children and families, international aid and development and advocacy. Susy was the Baptist Association’s Children, Families and Schools Ministry Consultant from 2003-2008 and also taught at Morling College.
Susy’s book offers practical conversations for families to explore life together. Topics range from listening skills to talking about consumerism and technology, and from living purposefully to advocacy for others.
Tim Costello, one of Australia’s leading voices on social justice, leadership and ethics, has read the book and described it as ‘brilliant’: “It is a treasure trove of insight, information and inspiration; with excellent questions and ideas for deepening the conversations in families, helping them to become rich places for the exploration of deep values and character formation,” he says.
Australia’s bestselling parenting expert Steve Biddulph agrees, saying: “This book turns on its head our focus on making kids happy, and instead shows how to make them generators of happiness.”
Susy invites us to travel alongside our kids, to discover real-life ways to build resilience, the capacity to handle conflict, find contentment and make a difference in the world. In an era where our fears for our kid’s futures are heightened and we are all too aware of our own inadequacies as parents, this book is a word of hopefulness. It’s more than just hopes or dreams – it’s an invitation to positive proactive parenting.
Not content to let Instagram and Netflix raise our children, Susy Lee has written a brilliant guidebook that helps kids to put down their screens and dive into deep family conversations about critical social issues. If you want your family to care more about others, social justice, the planet, and culture in general, use this book!
You could also use Raising Kids Who Care’s list of 40 practical conversations to minister to families within and around your church. Why not run a multi-week course for families (from the church and community) over a term using a new conversation each week? Or a special holiday kids club, training the kids to lead conversations at home (as the book suggests)?
Visit www.raisingkidswhocare.info to learn more about Susy and the book, including the list of conversation topics available. You can purchase the book from there, or from any good book retailers (including Koorong).