Author: Peter L. Benson, Ph.D.
ISBN: 978-0-470-29494-8

Click Here To Purchase Sparks: How Parents Can Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers

Sometimes it takes a self-help book to state the nearly-obvious, but Dr. Peter Benson’s book, “Sparks” does this so well and contains such crucially valuable information that it is definitely worth a read.  Beginning with the assumption that every teenager has a spark, “something inside that is good, beautiful, and useful to the world,” he states that having this “spark” isn’t enough to insure that it will grow into fruition.  Teenagers need adult “cheerleaders,” or “champions” in their lives to nurture their sparks. 

Benson begins by identifying the concept of sparks and gives a small sampling of the myriad of activities that might serve as sparks in a teen’s life.  Sparks can be music, poetry, drama, visual arts, dance, sports, leadership, entrepreneurship, volunteering, church involvements, and pretty much any other constructive activity that gives one a passionate and energetic sense of purpose.

Because parents are ideally suited to be spark cheerleaders and because most teens want their parents to fill this role, Benson directs his book mostly at parents of teens (but often points out that with spark champions, the more the merrier). Given the often problematic relationships between teens and their parents, it might be difficult to believe that teens truly yearn for the parents to “cheerlead” them, but Dr. Benson backs up his assumptions with a myriad of carefully-researched statistics which support each of his suppositions.  

One study he includes suggests that 100 percent of teens understand the concept of spark while only 62 percent could actually name their own.  But sadly, only 37 percent of those interviewed for that study had personal spark identification and at least one adult spark champion.

Along with many statistics and quotes from other professionals, “Sparks” also has a myriad of detailed and practical advice and includes stories of success (those who had spark champions) and failure (those who did not), and should be required reading for any adults who care about the teens in their lives.

Click Here To Purchase Sparks: How Parents Can Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers