Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Nook GIVEAWAY and Review: "COULD IT REALLY BE THIS EASY?" by Ted J. Peck

Could it Really Be This Easy?


Ted J. Peck

(The author is sponsoring a giveaway--one free copy of his book. To enter, simply leave a comment below by July 2.)

From the back of the Could it Really Be This Easy:

It’s easier than you think. Whether you’re trying to figure out which school to attend, who to date, or how to repent after making a mistake, following God’s plan for you isn’t that complicated. 

LDS parents who keep their eyes peeled for resources to strengthen their teens will be heartened by Ted J. Peck’s perspective on navigating these years. His book, Could it Really Be This Easy? The Eternal Equation of Success for Teens breaks the Plan of Salvation and the challenges of mortality into bite-sized nuggets, which he delivers with humor and personal anecdotes.

Peck clearly loves and understands the youth of the Church. After retiring early from a successful career, he chose to become a seminary teacher. Could it Really Be This Easy is the culmination of fifteen years spent presenting Gospel principles to students in terms teens can relate to.

I’ve never met a seminary teacher who didn’t feel a divine responsibility to the youth of the Church, and Peck is no exception. He pours his testimony into Could it Really Be That Easy, sharing life stories that illustrate how the practical application of Gospel principles, like choice, agency, attitude, and a host of others, can impact a youth’s success or failure in life, therefore impacting Eternal Life. Best yet, he shows them how easy it can be to take charge of their choices. To act rather than be acted upon.

Peck mirrors the Master Teacher, who used situations and objects that were familiar to his listeners. In like manner, Peck breaks good and evil into the good team and the evil team, carrying that idea over as he compares mortality to a football game. While the concept is not unique, Peck’s thorough development of that comparison is impressive.  His comparisons and examples hold your attention. He refers to the teen libido as “the beast,” and illustrates principles, like the importance of how we view things, by sharing his personal experience with each one. In the topic of how we view things, case, he tells the story of a to-die-for Mustang he drooled over, and his agony when he could not get his wife to love it as he did. The stories entertain while also serving as the conduit for the delivery of important truths. In short, the messages stick.

The book gets off to a slow start. Peck’s “Introduction,” and the first four pages of his “Welcome to the University” chapter are more about Peck’s journey, and might not engage younger readers, but these pages help introduce the teacher, establishing his credibility, and that of his truth-packed, easily digested messages.  

Peck’s writing style at first feels suited to a pre-teen to early teen crowd. If you’re older, keep reading. Peck clearly addresses the pre-mission crowd as well, from basic doctrines through to a section that includes questions to ask while dating, questions that help identify young people whose values goals and choices compliment yours. Peck writes as if he were delivering a live presentation before a class, complete with the personal asides he would share. One can easily imagine him pulling out all the stops to befriend and reach each individual. I hope his next project is a talk tape of his stories.

The ease and power of making correct choices is Peck’s primary message. His book speaks less to those whose greatest trials are beyond their control—youth who face serious health issues, the death of a loved one, family stress due to job losses, etc. He does address these issues in general ways, by discussing the power they do have--to be as positive as possible, to remember the long game, to exercise faith in God's promises. He encourages those who cannot shape their mortal outcome by mere choice to remember that this game is eternal, and the real win comes further down the road.

Peck’s style will appeal to most youth, but even if you have a less than avid reader, parents and leaders will benefit from reading Could it Really be That Easy. A family could easily pull months of great FHE lessons from these pages. Likewise, the stories would enhance lessons, firesides, and talks, and most importantly, would provide pertinent explanations and examples for critical one-on-one conversations.

The chapter headings don’t always reveal what topics are covered in each section, but Peck includes chapter summaries with a recap of the section’s basic points, which makes locating topics a bit easier. On the next reprinting, I hope they include a topical index as well.  

A read through Could it Really Be This Easy is empowering. The book is written with LDS references, but it has value for any Christian reader, young or old. Adults will find the read enlightening as well because of its simple delivery. The cadence of a few critical messages plays over and over in the background of every chapter. God loves you. He wants you to be happy. Satan wants you to fail. God will help you succeed. You get to choose.

Start by adding a copy of Could it Really Be This Easy to your family bookshelf.

Could it really Be This Easy is available at your local LDS bookstore, or on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Could-Really-Be-This-Easy/dp/146211637X/

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