girls bookSaying that raising kids is hard is like saying, “Climbing Mount Everest is hard,” to someone who has never climbed a mountain. How can parents prepare for a trip they’ve never experienced with unique people they are just getting to know in a culture no prior generation has navigated?

With five children between the ages of 17 and 1, my husband and I often find ourselves scrambling for how to pass on our Christian faith and values in a world that seems to value Christianity and faith little at all. Yes, our kids will make their own choices. Yes, they will carry the consequences. But so will we, and we want to prepare them for the challenges ahead so they can make the healthiest and most rewarding decisions that honor God.

That’s the same journey Kari Kampakis, mother of four girls, embarks on in her soon-to-be released book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know (November 2014,Thomas Nelson). With an 11-year-old daughter, I read a review copy with curiosity. What were these ten ultimate truths? And, how would they prepare my daughter for her own journey?IMG_5851For easy reference, Kampakis lists them in the book’s opening, beginning with Truth #10, “Kindness is more important than popularity,” and Truth #9, “You were born to fly,” down to the lengthiest, Truth #1, “The source of all peace and happiness lives inside you. Learn to listen to the whispers of God over the megaphone of public opinion.”

Kampakis then discusses each truth in a subsequent chapter focused on adolescent issues, personal experiences, Scripture, and discussion questions. Some are rooted in opinion rather than Scripture, such as this passage in a chapter about interacting with boys, “If you want a boy to court you, don’t make it too easy.” Yikes! I said “yes” when Dana, to whom I’ve now been married for twenty years, asked me out on our first date.

Other passages, such as in a well-written chapter on the hazards of self-worship, I underlined, like this, “It’s easy to confuse self-love and self-worship… Both encourage you to be brave, bold, and confident. Both tell you to dream big and trust yourself because you’re stronger and more capable than you think. But one key difference between the two is who gets the credit. Are your achievements yours alone, or is God working through you?”IMG_5836While I didn’t agree with everything Kampakis says, I did wonder, “What would I tell my own daughter?” This easy-to read, engaging book is like a trail-head marker pointing one way for parents to share their values while raising happy, healthy kids. While others may choose a different route to the top, it’s a helpful prompt to start climbing.

And it made me want to start a list of my own. Or to ask my daughter to write one. My sons too. After all, the forest is thick, the trail steep, and I don’t want to lose anyone on the way.

What Ultimate Truths would you put on your list?

A review copy of this book was provided to me for free by Thomas Nelson.