Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 2013)

In this resource spotlight, I’m featuring a really nice book for parents of adult children, Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children, by Sharon Norris Elliot.

When I think of a parenting book, the first book I typically about is Dr. James Dobson’s bestseller, Parenting Isn’t For Cowards. I think this is because of the catchy title and the notion that effective parenting is for the brave at heart. While this is a great book, I think it is most effective for parents of young children.

Well, I now have what for me is an excellent recommendation for parents of adult children. In this excellent resource, Sharon, does a masterful job of building on the metaphor of children as arrows as offered in the biblical passage, Psalm 127. The reference scripture, is “Blessed is the parent with a quiver full of children”.

There are few resources out there that help us parents understand how to handle our adult children—particularly those who are needing (or wanting) to come back home.

In these times of uncertainty in the job market and tumultuous economic challenges more generally, the traditional model for launching our children once and for all is, at least for now, not the reality in many homes.

Using a creative analogy of boomerangs and arrows, Sharon helps us set godly parameters for what to expect of our adult children and of ourselves. Sharon also offers plenty of examples to help the issues and potential solutions feel accessible to each of us.

As the parent of one adult child, I found myself keeping my handy highlighter at the ready.

I was most struck by the challenge to think about the many dimensions involved in parenting my adult child in a manner that is supportive yet firm. Sharon works the metaphor quite well as she uses different types of arrows to discuss the different challenges that we face with our adult children—from those who veer a little off track to those who effectively shun our values. She shows us how to love and engage them in a way that challenges them towards all that God has for them.

I also really appreciate how this book also pushes us as parents to look at ourselves. It is easy for us adult parents to look at our wayward children and wonder what is wrong with them. But, Sharon asks us to be introspective as parents and ask ourselves how our own behavior has contributed to our adult child’s attitude and behavior. While being careful not to blame the parent for who the child becomes, Sharon does get us to hold our actions up to the biblical models that are there for our consumption.

This book also includes a lot of pauses where Sharon poses insightful questions for you to consider as the parent of a young adult child.

Personally, I believe strongly in transparency of authors and speakers. And, Sharon does a great job in using her own experiences with her adult children to bring the content to life. I think we all can see aspects of our own parenting in the stories that she shares. And, I have had the pleasure of meeting Sharon personally on several occasions. And, I see a consistency between what she shares in the book, what she speaks from the platform, and who she is as a person. She is the real deal.

If you are a parent of an adult child or one approaching adulthood, I strongly encourage you to read through the book. If you subscribe to the Christian faith tradition, I’m confident that this book will be your “go to” resource for years to come as you grapple with helping your adult child be an arrow even if they go through their boomerang season.

Let me know if you pick up the book. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.