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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real substance
The author, Karen-Marie Yust, is a professor in charge of the Christian education programme at my seminary. A person of skill and accomplishment in both practical and academic aspects of ministry and education, she brings a lot of knowledge and resources to the task of looking at the spiritual development of children. This volume is part of the larger series on Families...
Published on June 10, 2004 by FrKurt Messick

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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I was excited to read this book, but after perusing it carefully, I realized that I could not accept some of Yust's beliefs. In several instances she equates the Christian and Muslim faiths and equally encourages praying to either God or Allah.
I do think she has a great grasp of learning to incorporate the spiritual into everyday life, so there are definitely some...
Published on January 18, 2011 by Rachel


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real substance, June 10, 2004
This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
The author, Karen-Marie Yust, is a professor in charge of the Christian education programme at my seminary. A person of skill and accomplishment in both practical and academic aspects of ministry and education, she brings a lot of knowledge and resources to the task of looking at the spiritual development of children. This volume is part of the larger series on Families and Faith, looking at different aspects of faith formation in family settings, published by Jossey-Bass. The purpose of this series, according to Diana Garland and J. Bradley Wigger, is to help make love and grace real in family, congregational and community settings.
The idea of education for children, in secular and religious settings, is far from new, but the idea of formation for spirituality in children is relatively uncharted in the modern world. Spirituality is one of the ways in which we as human beings, adults or children, make sense of the world and where we belong in relationship to each other, and all others. Children have a sense of discovery and exploration, an appreciation for mystery and the unknown that is a vital part of spiritual formation - many is the adult who tries to recapture this sense in their own journey.
Finding appropriate resources for guiding children is not an easy task. Yust discusses the almost paradoxical situation of living in a society that purports to love and support children, but is lacking in resources appropriate to vital tasks - Happy Meals and Dr. Seuss books abound (and, in some ways, are valuable), but the tools for helping children exist as spiritual beings and grow into spiritually aware adults are lacking. She references John Westerhoff's text, `Will Our Children Have Faith?' drawing a similar conclusion that children will have faith so long as adults make the spiritual journey with them.
Yust's book is a practical one; it presents theory and observational data as appropriate to the task, but it is really a how-to guide in many respects. In one chapter, she likens the American culture in some ways as a `foreign' culture to the religious culture, and compares the struggle to co-exist in both to the way that immigrant families learn to co-exist with elements of the `old country' and their new home, developing a bi-cultural identity. In other chapters, she looks at the use of narratives and storytelling, as well as adaptation to language use (even if the same language of English is spoken in both home/secular culture and religious culture, the real `language' of meaning can be different).
The fifth chapter deals with prayer practices, and how to make these real and meaningful for children, including centering prayer and guided meditations. This is a useful guide for adults, too, as the chapter goes through in a clear and organised fashion the various types of prayer (supplication, confession, intercession, etc.) that we often forget. The next chapter deals with the introduction of theology for children - what they can know and grasp, and in what ways (which is often more than adults think!). The next chapter deals with action and expression of faith by children - social justice concerns, helping others, being aware and accepting of diversity.
Yust's conclusion deals largely with finding and fitting in with a community of worship. Not all congregations are created equal, even with denominations. There are various aspects to note, including availability of activities and opportunities for participation - this is not limited to who has the best Sunday School or who has the best youth group programming.
There are many nice touches here. Yust begins the introduction and ends the conclusion with reference to Maya Angelou's journeying poem, drawing the text full circle. There are reflection and discussion questions appropriate to each chapter; these can be for self-reflection or used as part of small groups and congregational/leadership events. The book would serve well a congregation that wanted to devote an eight-week study session to the subject of children, spirituality and their place in the community. Each chapter has pull-boxes with highlighted concepts, questions or activities for further consideration. Yust's reference list is nicely annotated, making further readings easily identified.
A wonderful text in many ways, it should find a home in the hands of every minister of a congregation with children, every Christian educator and parish leader, and every parent concerned with their children's spiritual development.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual development for families, April 5, 2006
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This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
Karen Yust has written a wonderful text about spiritual development of children. Her approach is very practical with excellent themes and tips on how to help children spiritually develop. She shares stories and themese from her family.

Every person interested in spiritual development of children MUST read this book! Teaching children spiritual practices at a young age is essential. She provides the tools needed to do so and the confidence in how to do that. I highly recommend reading this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every parent should read this book!, July 17, 2007
This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
This book is so helpful to parents exploring how to introduce children to their faith journey! It is written from the author's prospective of not only teaching this art, but from her real life experience. It is easy to read, and offers so many useful ideas and techniques.

I am offering a small book study this fall using this book. If fits in perfectly with our core theme of personal spirituality!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant book for mentoring parents, April 7, 2014
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This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
Quick shipping time and great condition for this book.
Our church is using this book as a resource for a parenting course.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful book, February 6, 2011
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This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
This book includes the full range of spirituality by helping parents understand their children can experience and respond to God through prayers, stories, art, dance, nature, music--all the things that children are perfectly capable of doing and enjoying.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, January 18, 2011
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Rachel (california) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
I was excited to read this book, but after perusing it carefully, I realized that I could not accept some of Yust's beliefs. In several instances she equates the Christian and Muslim faiths and equally encourages praying to either God or Allah.
I do think she has a great grasp of learning to incorporate the spiritual into everyday life, so there are definitely some tips that could be helpful. I personally do not share her premise, and think that some of her ideas are misleading to people.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, January 23, 2009
This review is from: Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Hardcover)
This book was the required text for a class I took at seminary about ministry with children, and I can see why. It's so much more than theory and theology. It includes real life examples of how to raise your children in the Christian faith. A must have for all parents and anyone interested in Christian Education
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Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives
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