Review: The Blessing by John Trent & Gary Smalley

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When I was in high school, I vividly remember my mom reading The Blessing and weeping over it. She wistfully said to me in my senior year of high school, “If only I had this book when you first entered youth group.”

Knowing I was going into youth ministry at that stage of life, I mentally put a check on that book to check it out for ministry purposes. Little did I know that in the fall of my freshman year of college, The Blessing was actually one of my required reading books for family ministry and counseling class. I read the book at that time, and then Gary Smalley, one of the authors, came to my University to speak about it.

Over the years, I have recommended it to many parents and taught workshops based on it. At my church, it is now a requirement for parents to read and talk through with me in a class as their students go through confirmation.

Keepers

  1. The content on what exactly a blessing is from a Biblical perspective is on point. I love that the book dives into the first blessing and breaks it down explaining each part of it as an example.
  2. Dealing with our “stuff.”  Parts of the book talk about children who miss the blessing. It forces parents and leaders to deal with times they may of missed their own blessing from parents. This helps them identify any bad patterns and generational repetition that is not good, forgive their own parents, and correct any mindsets that may have trickled down.
  3. Homework assignments are easy. As you read through the book, it is easy to try out the different elements of the blessing on students. You can immediately see results in students countenance changing, as well as behavior because of a simple change in action or word.

Changers

  1. I believe the elements of the blessing could be condensed into one chapter covering each one instead of two chapters covering each one. When I have used it in lessons or for a class, I combine those chapters and teaching together.
  2. I find that it is at times similar to the Love Languages books. If you or your parents have read those then this may be repetitive.
  3. Sometimes parents need a little help writing an actual blessing for their student. Providing some questions to help parents be able to process what exactly their hopes are for their students, as well as special attributes or “gold” in their students is necessary.

Caroline has served in student ministry for almost 10 years, and is currently the Youth and Young Adult Minister at Destin United Methodist Church in Destin, FL and co-founder of WAVES Girls Event, a conference for girls ages 14-24. Getting a call into youth ministry at age 16 in Nashville, TN led to Caroline getting a degree in Youth and Family Ministry and a certificate through PREPARE/ENRICH for Premarital Counseling at Abilene Christian University in 2009. She got her start in full time student ministry at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX. Caroline loves to encourage students in their faith, and see them be lights in their community. Some things Caroline enjoys is time on the beach, reading, sushi, coffee, traveling and time with her friends and family. You can follower her on her blog, called “Big Hare & Big Faith,” www.carolinehare.wordpress.com, or on Instagram and Twitter: @CarolineHare

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