Friday, November 15, 2013

Just One More Thing, by David Gudgel with Bernice Gudgel

I was offered an opportunity to read Just One More Thing: Before You Leave Home and share my opinions on it as part of a blog book tour with Litfuse Publicity. I said yes mostly for curiosity sake. Our children are still small and won't be leaving home anytime soon. (Despite the fact that you with older kids keep telling us that they'll be leaving sooner than we think!) I read this because my husband Jonathan and I were both home schooled and both of us had different leaving home experiences (both positive but interesting from our perspective). I was curious to see what advice the Gudgels had to offer both parents and older teens who are about to part ways and become separate households.

This leaving home business is certainly interesting. There are all sorts of fears and expectations, hopes and promises involved in the entire affair. It is obviously a challenge for the parents who have devoted years to the training up of their child. It is a challenge for the child-who-is-a-child-no-more as well as they have to figure out how to truly be an adult and take care of themselves. It can be a heart wrenching time on both sides, as each party is saying goodbye to a major part of their life.

The Gudgels are parents to three children, all of whom have left home. As David explains, as each child was preparing to leave, he and his wife prepared a devotional (of sorts) talking about all of the "one more thing(s)" that they wanted to share with and talk over with their kids. During the Gudgel kids' senior years, their dad would take them out for Saturday morning breakfasts and they would work through the devotional/topics together, conversing with one another about the current and upcoming challenges. Gudgel makes certain to emphasize that these breakfasts were not used as a time for him to lecture his kids but to hear where their hearts were at and to share stories from his past to help build relationship between them. This book is written to help facilitate such conversations between other parents and kids. It can also be read by teens on their own.

Just One More Thing is laid out in chapter format and can be read straight through if you like. Or, as Gudgel says, it can be taken slowly. Its purpose is to get the young adult thinking about all of the things that they are going to have to be thinking about when they have left home. How are they going to handle finances? How do they go about setting priorities? Why is it important to seek advice from others? What is the difference between beliefs and preferences? What does the Bible say about alcohol and how should we handle it? What of sex? What does a life with a roommate look like? Why is it important to go to church? Gudgel hits on all of the obvious topics and then some and he does so in a matter than I found easy to connect with. I didn't feel like he was speaking to the reader in a condescending manner. After all, he has left the home of his parents and his children have left his home. He has some experience when it comes to dealing with and conversing on this topic. Really, I thought this book was remarkably well done. It is presented well and it encourages thought when it comes to the actuality of striking out on one's own. Yes, leaving home is a crazy exhilarating thing and it is to be enjoyed, but it doesn't come without its own set of responsibilities and it is good to be thinking on the topics presented.

My husband flipped through the book and he made the comment that the subjects in this book ought to be covered well before one's senior year of high school. He thought the book should be something that is discussed all throughout one's childhood and I definitely agree with him. I do think one should be teaching their kids how to handle money properly, how to choose friends wisely and well, and how to be practiced in the art of self discipline. In other words, this book shouldn't be the "one last thing" that you are in the habit of talking about with your kids. It should be the things we always talk about. Despite the fact that our kids are all under the age of 6, we use every opportunity presented to teach them how to be responsible, God-honoring adults. They each have their own piggy bank which they have to consider and manage and we talk to them about all of the purchases that we make so that they can begin to (always be) developing a sense of money handling.  We talk to them about how to choose friends. Neither of us would want these to be the "one more thing" that we have to mention with them however, these topics are not covered in all homes. (Or, perhaps, not even in most!) I think there's a place for this book. And even though we intend to be talking about these things with our kids as they grow, I wouldn't put it past us to place a copy of this book in their hands as they prepare to leave home to cause them to think through things just one more time!

On the whole, I think this book is great and would recommend it as a good thought-provoking/conversation-starting read.

Many thanks to Litfuse Publicity for sending a copy of this book my direction in exchange for my sharing my honest opinion. I have received no additional compensation for this review and my opinions are indeed honest.


Barbara H. said...

This sounds like a good resource. When my first one was getting ready to leave home, even though we had talked about many of those things all their lives, I wondered if he really got it, was he really prepared, was there anything we forgot or didn't emphasize enough? And because it is about to become a reality for them, they listen a little more acutely than they did before. And, of course, we have always been open to phone calls with questions even when they have moved out, about everything from buying a car to how to make this or that for dinner.

Mirlandra said...

I like the idea of a committed and focused preparing. These conversations were lacking in my life as I prepared to leave and it left me feeling adrift and when I left home I reinvented the wheel the hard way. I think the approach of parents setting aside special one on one time to have these conversations makes them even more valuable and opens a pathway to the adult to adult relationship that needs to blossom as the teen grows up and leaves home. Thanks for the review, this book will land on our shelves eventually!

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