Often when I talk with pre-teen, teen and even college aged girls, the conversation gradually turns to some variant of a discussion of popularity. With the younger set, the focus is often on being popular with fellow girls. As they get older, many of those discussions turn to how to get boys to “like” them. No matter the age or the direction though, the basic need they are trying to meet is being loved and accepted for who they are.
Often though, that quest becomes merely a search for the approval of others. Sometimes the desperation and poor self-esteem take over and they become whomever they feel they need to be to be accepted – even if this “new” person bears little or no resemblance to their authentic selves.
I was interested then, when offered a chance to review the book Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For? by Kari Kampakis. The book covers ten topics: identity, confidence, kindness, character, commitment, connection, wisdom, humility, courage and direction. It is set up in such a way – with discussion questions after each chapter – that it could be read by a teen as a book or used as a study with a group of girls.
I love that Kampakis shares stories from experiences of various teen girls, giving teen readers the feeling they are not alone in their struggles. The author gives tons of practical tips girls can immediately use to start making good or better choices in every area of their lives touched by topics surrounding the idea of popularity and acceptance by peers.
Although, set up to be used as a study, it needs some extra Bible added to be a true Bible study. Kampakis does refer to God and offers several scripture references (usually unquoted – unfortunate as I’m not sure how many teen girls would actually take the time to look them up on their own), but the book is more practical Christian living than a Bible study in the normal sense of the word.
Personally, I am okay with the book being a little lighter than normal on Bible references. Her advice to teens is godly and I am sure some girls would put down a book too “Bible study” friendly, as being “preachy”. Kampakis gently guides her readers to make godly choices without coming across as judgmental or harsh. Yet, I think she is firm enough that most girls will understand following her advice and listening to God’s Plans for their lives is the only way to really get the approval they need and want.
If your daughter is struggling with acceptance and popularity issues (And frankly, don’t we all still struggle with it from time to time?), this is a great book for her to read. It may come across on the young side for college aged girls, although the information is just as critical and valid. Who knows? You may want to read it to help your own struggle with these issues. Sometimes the parental pressure to be popular is what drives girls more than their own need for popularity. Help your daughter focus on the source of her true self-worth – God.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.