I don’t know much about Duck Dynasty, but I recognize a worthwhile devotional.
Duck Commander: Devotions for Kids
Authors: Robertson, Korie & Chrys Howard
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
Before reading Duck Commander: Devotions for Kids I knew little more about the Robertsons, the stars of Duck Dynasty, than I did about the Kardashians. Thanks to this book I have a new respect for the former. I don’t know much about duck hunting, but I know an excellent devotional when I read one.
It uses concepts and language that a child can understand. Each devotion starts with a simple story from the Robertson family. Sometimes humorous, but always attention-getting, they lead to basic thoughts about a verse of Scripture.
The first one is a favorite: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb. They make a person happy and healthy” (Proverbs 16:24). This and most of the other passages are taken from the International Children’s Bible.
The verse above precedes the thought, “You have the power to change someone’s day just by the words you use” (16). The concluding idea sums up the focus, “When you use your words to build someone up, that is using your voice to make God happy” (16).
Each section includes a short prayer and ideas for application. The title, “Words to Waterproof,” is drawn from the latter. “There are special sprays that will waterproof your boots so rain will roll right off them. Using kind words helps to waterproof the people you love, causing other unkind words to roll right off them. You will be like a kindness umbrella, covering your friends and brothers and sisters with love!” A profound thought for any age group; this is representative of the well-written and creative exposition of Biblical truth.
You don’t have to know about the Robertsons or their show to benefit. I have not seen a single episode, but reading this showed me how serious they are about their faith. There is nothing controversial here, just solid, insightful thoughts about putting the Bible into practice.
During the course of reading this I had a discouraging morning at work one day. As I sat in my car on a break, I decided to read the next devotional. It just happened to be “Handling Disappointments.” I read the verse, “Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The story followed. Sadie wanted to be a cheerleader, but when she didn’t make the team, she became discouraged. Discouragement is common to all, but “What we don’t have to do is stay disappointed” (126).
I kept reading, “When something disappoints you, learn to get over it quickly” (126). It was just what I needed. I left my car feeling a little lighter than when I started my break. I was better prepared to return to the trenches of working retail, an environment that I sometimes liken to controlled chaos.
The application section for this theme references the expression, “turn lemons into lemonade.” It then instructs, “Make some fresh-squeezed lemonade to remind yourself to turn ‘sour’ days into happy days” (127).
The book succeeds in providing activities like this one that serve to get a child interacting with family, friends and others, the outdoors, and in general, the world at large. Actually doing something related to what we read reinforces it.
This covers a wide range of subjects, including an emphasis on sharing Jesus with others. So much of what a child needs to live a well-rounded Christian life is here.
Holli Conger, the illustrator, makes the graphics and colors eye-catching. I’m glad that the human figures represent the diversity of skin shades in our world.
I learned more about the Robertson family through the engaging stories, but of course, this is not the focus. The Robertson’s experiences point to Jesus and the Word. The emphasis here is helping children get closer to God and others. This is an admirable effort that works well toward that end.