Wednesday, April 17, 2013

5 Ongoing Conversations

I recently finished two books that Kevin got me for Christmas. 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter and 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son, both by Vicky Courtney. The books had a similar format and some of the discussions overlapped, but not so much that you felt like you were reading the same book twice. If anything I thought that the repetition was good for me so that the important facts were engrained into my head. In both books I thought she gave great perspective on parenting: the goal is not to produce a perfect child, but to be a faithful, albeit sinful, parent. They were both very good, and simple quick reads. I'd recommend any parent (even dads) with kids of any age to read these books as a starting point for thinking about how to cover tough topics with their kids.

I started out with the one for daughters since our little girl is the oldest. I've been wondering when to have 'the talk' with her as she's getting older and starting to ask questions. Honestly I thought it would come up when we had L, but she never did pursue the conversation so I am just waiting until she is asking the questions. I remember hearing about a 'tween' event coming to town for 8-12 year olds and I refused to think of my little girl as a 'tween'. But I want to be prepared for her questions when they come and this book was helpful in thinking about how to discuss the 'talk' when it came time.

But it stressed that the sex talk is not the only important talk we have with our daughters and it's not a one time event to check off your parenting to do list. There were four other discussions that she said moms need to be in continual conversations with our daughters, instilling her with truth because the world will feed her a bunch of lies.

Her '5 conversations' were:

* Your are more than the sum of your body parts.
* Don't be in such a hurry to grow up.
* Sex is great and worth the wait.
* It's OK to dream about marriage and motherhood.
* Girls' gone wild are a dime a dozen - dare to be virtuous.

The books are geared toward a Christian audience, but non-Christians would find them helpful also. I appreciated her honesty and transparency and non-judgmental attitude toward parenting. She openly shared her own past mistakes and did not equate herself to a parenting expert, but as one who'd been there and was trying to do the right thing with her own kids.

The book for boys was great for moms to read, but I've told my husband he needs to read it too, because I want him to take the lead in discussing most of these subjects with our sons:

* Don't define manhood by the culture's wimpy standards. It's OK to be a man!
* What you don't learn to conquer may become your master
* Not everyone's doing it! (And other naked truths about sex you won't hear in the locker room.)
* Boyhood is only for a season. P.S. It's time to grow up!
* Godly men are in short supply. Dare to become one!

I found her treatment of such topics like internet pornography to be discouraging but empowering. She paints a real picture of what our boys will face growing up in today's technology age, but also reminds the reader that parents are still the most influential models in a child's life. So while the task may be daunting she helps us have the tools to meet the challenge head on.

Parenting is a big task and books like these help me to have wisdom about how to do the best I can as a mom. One quote that stuck with me from the boys book was, "It's harder to be a godly mom than it is to be a good mom." She was pointing out that we can't just address behavior with our sons, but we have to get to the root of issues. Just like we can create an exterior 'good mom' without being a godly mom. We can't just get our kids to shape up on the outside and ignore the inside and the 'why' behind the behavior. It was a side comment in her book but it stayed with me. I can make my kids behave and be 'good' kids, but my ultimate goal is that they would become a godly men and women and that takes a lot more time, effort and study on my part.

What are some of your favorite parenting books?

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