Forget Dr. Suess and his vacuous advice about all the places you will go - if you want to give a graduate a gift that is wise, grounded in real-life experience, funny, substantive, biblical, and memorable, you will want to check out my friend and CDL blog contributor Jim McKenzie's new book, One Generation to the Next: A Guide to Forming Your Faith and Finding Your Way.
Jim has been a lifetime Christian educator and Head of School at The Rock School in Gainesville, Florida, for the past number of years. Jim wrote this book for his children, the oldest of whom is graduating this year. This book is a rich discipleship guide with engaging chapter titles/themes/life guidance (see the chapter titles cleverly displayed on the hoodie below.)
Jim intersperses interesting personal stories with solid scriptural grounding. He shows us his heart and writes in a positive, sincere, and humble style that doesn't come across as heavy-handed advice for students. Of course, Jim has "field tested" much of this material via K-12 chapel talks over many years, so he knows how to connect with all ages. This is not just a book for students, though - I think it would be very helpful as well for adults and would be a great one to read and discuss as a faculty to help everyone get on the same page on matters of faith and discipleship. A helpful discussion questions guide is accessible via Jim's website.
Don't just take it from me that this is a must-read book! Two of our CDL blog writers/leaders also wrote cover quotes for the book and frankly explain the book better than I am able:
“Part of why I love this book is because we get much of Jim’s honest, hilarious, inspiring life--Jim the lifeguard, Jim the midnight football player, Jim the Samaritan, Jim the snake-charmer. But at the heart of it is dad-Jim and teacher-Jim, inviting the next generation to join him in following Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life—in all its fullness. In so doing, Jim gently but courageously cuts through a number of false narratives that creep into our assumptions about what that Jesus-way actually means. I’m a part of Jim’s generation. But I want to join Jim in reading the Bible as our improv script for following Jesus too. And this book has helped me to do exactly that.” JUSTIN COOK, Director of Learning, 70 Edvance Christian Schools Association
“If in the future you run into author Jim McKenzie and he has a fresh tattoo on his forehead reading “Make Allowances” he will probably recommend that you read this book to discover the story behind it. Beyond that insight, you will also read a book full of personal anecdotes, scriptural reflections, with meaningful connections drawn between the two. In this book, Jim provides fresh perspectives on familiar concepts, encouraging the reader to ‘see anew.’” GAYLE MONSMA, Executive Director at The Prairie Centre for Christian Education
In closing, you may want to check out the merch - I think having some of the kind of messages, such as on the T-shirt below, might be good statements to make as a faculty or to have available in your school store!
Thanks, Jim, for this gift to all of us - particularly those concerned about passing on faith to the next generation!