“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Before I answer my reader’s two questions, one thing I’ve heard about J.D. Salinger is that he was a very private person. He didn’t want fame because he didn’t want himself or his books to be influenced by the wreckage attention can bring.
God protect us all from the media.
I pray for Russell Wilson, a man of faith, not in himself, but faith in the God who works miraculously through ordinary people who are willing to be used. This has already been misrepresented as the news boasts about his uncanny belief in himself. We’ve already gotten it wrong.
This blog isn’t about the Seahawks, however (GO HAWKS!). I just wanted to start off by reminding those who have had the chance to read my book, that it actually is okay to email me as a friend. I wrote about the desire to hear from my readers on the copyright page because I actually meant it (imagine that!).
Why do I want to hear from readers?
Because you are the one I write for! If I’m getting it wrong, missed something, or maybe struck a cord that needs more poking, I need to know. There are more books in my future, which leads us directly into this reader’s two questions:
1) Are you planning to write a Teenage Girl version of this book?
I’ve actually sat long and hard on this in prayer, and unless the Lord leads me otherwise, my answer is, “no.”
I have two important reasons:
First, I believe teens need this version.
I had to emotionally return to my teenage years as I wrote much of The Chance to Choose. I became an adolescent all over again, in order to face unhealed garbage that can build up like plaque. It was gut wrenching and at one point I actually vomited pain. I hate to break it to some parents, but unfortunately this is where our teenagers already live!
They live here, not often in places of healing, but places of unresolved issues because adults in their life aren’t taking the time to stop, listen, or become vulnerable for the benefit of our youth. A book written by Chap Clark, simply titled, Hurt, reveals sobering statistics to this point.
Of course, authenticity is my personal conviction and calling, but it’s not for everyone. And when it comes to teens, and especially children, we should guard our words (some emotionally younger teenagers aren’t experiencing this reality, so yes, this book could be TMI), but I think we’d be surprised by just how much our 21st century teenagers deal with.
They aren’t vomiting pain, they’re cutting pain.
It’s a hard reality, yet we must come to grips with the statistics and words spoken from the teens themselves.
Second, I believe parents should trust in the power of redemption, not false image, and help teens do the same. Especially in a world of selfies and unreality.
The most resounding reaction I’ve received from readers is this, “You are so brave.” I would argue. I don’t feel brave because I am still broken on so many levels and won’t experience total healing until heaven.
But I am forgiven and unashamed. I am redeemed. That is why I can pen the past with authenticity. Shouldn’t our teenage girls learn the same truth? In Jesus we are made whole! Even among the nasty reality of poor choices from people we know.
Our teenage daughters are learning from the adult women in their life. What are we teaching them? What do you model in your own home or with your teenager’s friends? I’m not suggesting that every parent openly fillet every sin and secret for the world to see, but I am suggesting that we be real with our kids! A squeaky clean parent is unapproachable in a teenage mind.
I wonder if we’re more concerned about holding up an image we’re desperately trying to achieve, rather than helping one another.
A friend recently shared that some women in her Bible study suggested that if anything tragically happened to them would someone please burn all their notes and journals. I try not to judge that, but I certainly don’t understand it. Jesus came to save wretched sinners and we are it! I’m tired of shame. It’s of the devil.
I’m sorry to ever answer “no” to a reader’s suggestion and need, but I believe this book is for teenagers. Many of the teenage girls I work with have already read it. One of them said, “I cried through every page and it really made me think!” Will this young teenage girl’s choices be different because I didn’t “fake it” or hold back? Dear God, I hope so!
I will add, however, that I do plan to write a CoffeeHouse Chats™ curriculum for teenagers. There is need for them to read about the reality of choice within the pages of The Chance to Choose, but there is extreme need for teenagers to find safe places to share their struggles with wise adults willing to walk alongside them.
2) Do you plan to write a follow-up book? Granted, I’ve only read through The Chance to Choose one time and at rapid speed, but I feel like I am missing the other side of choices. I understand the consequence side of choice, for the person doing the choosing, but what about those who are affected by those consequences?
This is such a great question!
Without going into detail, although I do touch on it briefly in this book, I am living through and processing the complex concept of this question right now. So, yes, I believe there is a future book which will address this in more detail.
I can point out, however, that this question is answered, to some degree, in Step 4: Find the Courage to Walk, when I tackle the pesky topic of overanalyzing. Our ability to overanalyse, not only our own decisions, but why others make decisions that affect us, leaves us paralyzed in emotion and inaction. Revisiting pages 217-244 can provide immediate answers to the above questions, particularly on the subject of expectations (page 224). We often have thick skin in our attitude about how our choices affect others, but thin skin in our attitude about how others affect us (please note, this last thought is paraphrased from author of The Peace Maker, Ken Sande–an excellent resource on the issue of personal conflict with others).
I really pray grace is at the core of my message in The Chance to Choose. We need grace for ourselves and grace for others. In a world of conflict we are parched for evidences of grace.
One truth I constantly tell myself…there is so much more to everyone’s story, and the choices they make, than I will ever know…because of that, I am able to offer grace, even when the consequences affect me.
I’d love to hear your questions and feedback! Don’t hesitate to email me your thoughts at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to make a comment below about this post. If you are new to this blog, welcome!
I will close by adding that, even though there are future books brewing within, please know that the core of me–my life’s work–was written in The Chance to Choose. I pray each reader finds the space for its message of redemption and hope. To order your printed, signed copy, click here. To order a Kindle version, click here. This book is also available on Nook and Apple iBook.
“Being a 17-year-old male, and in high school, decisions are overwhelming. Before reading The Chance to Choose, I was balancing baseball, work, school, college preparations, friends, family, and more. But Kim’s book inspired me, put things in perspective, and gave me the tools to tackle the crossroads before me.” Christian Saez, Senior in high school
Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)