Caring for the Souls of Children Book Review
Living in a broken world can be messy. Sin abounds. Trouble seems to lurk around every turn, and things like anxiety, depression, and shame can often knock us off our feet at a moment's notice.
Navigating difficult trials are hard for adults and even more so for children. As a teacher, I can feel lost at times when helping my students process big emotions and sinful reactions that often appear in the classroom. I'm thankful to work at a small classical Christian school where the Gospel's good news is woven throughout our curriculum and everyday practices. But some situations are more severe than others, and the fear of the unknown often leaves me paralyzed.
Caring for the Souls of Children: A Biblical Counselor's Manuel (New Growth Press) is an engaging and practical resource for counselors, pastors, ministry leaders, teachers, and the like to help children process and work through their specific struggles with the help of the Bible. This in-depth resource begins with a summary of foundational principles for counseling and working with children and addresses a different topical situation in each chapter.
One chapter I found extremely helpful was the section on helping children with friendship. Children usually expect friendship to come and remain easy. They view friendship from an "all about me" lens. Many of their friends enjoy the same hobbies and think as they do. But how do we help our children go beyond their friendship comfort zone? How do we help them think of friendship more sacrificially? Caring for the Soul of Children helps lay a scriptural foundation for viewing friendship in the light of the Gospel. Christ was our friend when we were still dead in our sins with nothing to offer him, and yet he chose to draw us to his side (John 1:14). Sharing and modeling this with our children helps them see how the Gospel permeates how we view companionship. This chapter also had helpful sections on dealing with peer pressure and bullying, which are very prevalent in today's society, whether in person or online.
Two other helpful chapters included working with anxious children and children dealing with death and grief. Because of COVID-19, many of our children have experienced the loss of loved ones, seen parents go through immense stress because of job loss and decreased finances, and shared the overnight, abrupt changes of a world in a pandemic. Caring for the Souls of Children provides excellent activities and questions to help children process their fearful emotions while being reminded through scripture of God's great care for them. By reminding them of God's unchanging promises, we help lay a framework they can carry into adulthood regardless if life brings joy or sorrow.
I'm abundantly thankful for the "Word to Parents" section in each individual chapter, as well. Partnering well with parents is an important part of classical education and I appreciate the helpful tools to help bring parents into the daily conversations about our sin and struggles that are happening at school.
I'm thankful for New Growth Press, editor Amy Baker, and the other authors of Caring for the Souls of Children. This book will be a resource that I frequently visit throughout my teaching career and working with children in church ministry. This book has helped me not be fearful of the challenging, unknown situations that will undoubtedly arise, but trust that God's word is sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16), will not return void (Is. 55:11), and he will continue the work he has started in us and our children (Phil. 1:6).
Purchase Caring for the Souls of Children from New Growth Press here.
A free digital copy was offered in exchange for an honest review.