The Busy Bloke’s / Girl’s Survival Guide

David Forward

One of the biggest challenges for any writer aiming at the teenage market is knowing how to be cool without being "lame'. Adults (especially parents) are famous for trying so hard at the former, that they inevitably become the latter. So John and Kristen Young were attempting no mean feat when they came to write The Busy Bloke's Survival Guide and The Busy Girl's Survival Guide, designed specifically for high school students entering into the stress of exams.

These magazine-like booklets go through Paul's letter to the Ephesians over a ten-week period. The Bible studies are short and simple, only covering a couple of verses at a time, and could easily become part of a student's daily study routine. And that is probably the booklet's greatest strength. The change of pace that exams bring often destroys all but the most robust of Bible reading habits. For students who will need that extra bit of encouragement during this time, these booklets can help. And there are even further readings suggested at the end of each study for those who want to delve a little deeper.

The studies are faithful to the text, although they don't provide very much guidance when it comes to prayer. Although there is a printed prayer at the end of each week, the studies generally assume the prayerfulness of their user (which is something to be aware of when considering who would benefit from them most).

Also interspersed throughout are "light relief" sections containing everything from a sudoku puzzle through to the "Top Ten Signs You've Been Procrastinating Too Much'. These appear frequently enough to be entertaining, but not too much to cause excessive procrastination. But it's in these sections where the fine line between cool and lame really gets tested. Sometimes they produced a grin, other times chagrin. Although I've seen much worse, I'd still only give these studies to someone with a disclaimer.

All that being considered, these "Survival Guides' would be most helpful for Christian students in years 10-11, who need help establishing a daily Bible reading routine while balancing study commitments.