I remember junior high and high school.
It was a fabulous time in many ways, but it was also extremely tough. Wanting desperately to be liked and accepted. Desiring deep connection but unsure how to get it in the midst of often fickle friendships. Wondering what was really true as I considered numerous opinions. All the while living with an ache to be who God wanted me to be, but not exactly sure how to go about doing it. It was an emotional minefield.
20 years later, I look at the generation of young women who are currently maneuvering the teen years and know they’re dealing with the same core issues. Except they’re doing it WITH the added pressure of social media and an online world that’s anything but helpful when it comes to embracing our true identity in Christ. Have mercy on their darling souls. They’re fighting an uphill battle.
Enter Kari Kampakis’ new book, Liked:Whose approval are you living for? Ya’ll. This is essential reading for young women. And for Mama’s of young women! From the first few pages I knew it was a jewel and the rest of the book measures up completely. Let me tell you why:
It deals with more than behavior, is goes deep to the heart. One of the things I like most about this book is the how Kari unpacks the reasons why it’s tempting for students to be enamored with likes and instant social media attention, and the dangers that come from it. “Constantly playing to a crowd has a cost that will catch up with us. It manifests as exhaustion, stress, burnout, anxiety and desperation.” (p. xiv) She explains how seeking the approval of others can lead girls away from the heart of God. I love a book that deals with more than what presents on the surface, and this one does!
Twenty Tips for Social Media Habits – While the book is much more than a guide to healthy social media behavior, this section tucked in the Character Chapter is worth the price of the book alone. In fact, I found myself wishing that grown women and teens girls alike were required to read this list before engaging in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat! What if everyone followed these principles:
- #3 – Before you post, consider three questions: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?
- #11 – Recognize what is and what isn’t your story to tell.
- #15 – Don’t base your confidence and sense of value on social media.
- #18 – Don’t spend so much time in the online world that you neglect the real world.
- #19 – Settle conflicts in person.
- And this is only one-fourth of the list! These words of wisdom can serve as a guide, super helpful for keeping young women from the train wrecks we’ve all witnessed on social media.
It’s packed with Biblical truth. Most of us can throw around helpful advice about dealing with mean girls, finding our identity in Christ, and growing in humility and kindness. But one of the things I love about this book is how Kari connects every bit of that (and more!) to the truth of Scripture. She has a reference for issue after issue, displaying God’s heart on the matter and not simply her opinion. In the Confidence Chapter, she lists verses dealing with self-worth, and on nearly every page is a highlighted Scripture that connects with the topic at hand. (With cute hearts and dots around it! The girl in me loves this little detail.) Basically, the book nails one of my must-haves; it’s theologically sound. She bases her words on the truth of God’s word and not empty human opinion. Standing ovation for that!
The lessons are foundational for LIFE, not just the teen years. Over and over while reading Liked, I realized I needed to be reminded of the truths Kari Kampakis shares. Know what this means? Her words are timeless. They have the potential to shape the course of a young woman’s entire life, not just her teen years. If a girl wraps her heart around these truths, she will be on a track to honor Christ with her attitudes and behavior.
Practical, Practical, Practical! – Our darling young women who are navigating friendships and social media and family dynamics need some guidelines to live by while God is shaping those inner hearts. Without a doubt we want the Holy Spirit to cement in them Holy desires that flow outward to righteous behaviors. But just like the rest of us, teen girls are a work in progress. Sometimes they need concrete guardrails to keep them from running off course. The book is full of quizzes (to help girls determine where they stand on the virtues discussed in the book), discussion questions, and lists of practical advice like:
- Ten Ways to Deepen Friendships
- Eight Ways to Deal with Hard Emotions
- Twenty Ways to Grow an Active Faith
- Eight Ways to Become a World Changer
It’s RELEVANT – Every chapter has great examples of situations that ring true for the modern teen girl. Kari has 4 girls of her own, so she lives daily with the issues that plague them! This is not a book written by an out-of-touch, well meaning woman. This is a book written by a person who has their pulse on the teen girl culture, and knows how to address what their dealing with.
If you’ve got a teen girl in your life, this book would make a stellar Christmas present. Do you work with girls at church? It would make a great small group study. (Discussion questions are already included at the end of each chapter.) And if you’re a Mama of girls coming of age, do yourself a favor and go ahead a pick up a copy. This book can become a battle plan before the war for her desire for approval begins.
OR, MAYBE I’LL JUST SEND YOU A COPY.
Comment below with why you would want Kari Kampakis’ new book, Liked, and I’ll enter you in a drawing. Winner chosen Friday, December 9. You’ll get it in time for Christmas!