Warning: This post may make some people as uncomfortable to read as I was when writing it. I have read a number of blog posts over the past few years on Raising Real Men. They have always been encouraging and convicting. With so many boys in our house, I need help to teach them in the way they should go. Because of all these boys, and some struggles we have faced with them already, I was eager to review Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality, from Great Waters Press. I was not disappointed in this book. It is very helpful to me as a mother, and I hope it will be a helpful tool in discipling our boys. I have started to read it aloud to the older three boys after the younger ones are in bed on Sunday nights, and they seemed to appreciate what they have heard so far, although I still haven’t decided if I’m going to read them the chapter that tells the details about human reproduction!
I hardly know where to start. This is a great book! Hal and Melanie don’t pull any punches—they tell it like it is. They begin by establishing the fact that God created sex and He also created gender. He made you a boy or a girl from conception (you don’t decide at some point what you are), and He created marriage. One point I really liked in the introduction was that in the Bible there are two stages of life—childhood and adulthood. Young men are just that—men—even though they are young. They face men’s temptations.
In chapter two, the authors describe the physical changes that occur in both boys and girls as they go through puberty, and, briefly but in enough detail to satisfy children’s curiosity, how sex works—but then they go on to describe how a baby develops, is born, and how the mother’s body works to nourish the new life, before and after birth. These details are included to impress on young men how the sexual act is not just about a moment of pleasure; rather, there are far-reaching consequences when it is indulged in outside of marriage.
There is a fairly thorough discussion about how God calls us to purity, leaving no room for allowing even lustful thoughts in our minds. Lust is defined, and so is pornography. The authors point out many reasons, both from the Christian and the secular perspective, why pornography is very damaging. Sexting and masturbation are also covered in some depth.
Now, what is a young man to do with all these things he has to face, and battle against? There is an entire chapter devoted to fighting temptation! Yes, this is a hard battle to win, and the authors acknowledge that, but victory is possible, and they give many tips to help a young man who is struggling. Actually, the points they give would help anyone in any battle. And what if when you fall? There is a chapter which deals with that, too! When you begin fighting against sin in your life, there will be times that you give in to temptation and fall into sin again. Don’t give up! Turn to God in repentance, and start over again. This chapter is very encouraging.
The last chapter gives many pointers about how to find the mate God has for you. The authors’ story of how they met and married is also included—what a great story! I definitely want my daughters, as well as my sons, to read this chapter.
I really appreciate this book. Anyone who has sons approaching their teen years should read it. I am thankful that this book has come into our family at this time, although I’ll admit the subject is very uncomfortable to read and talk about. However, I also know that we need to discuss these issues, for the sake of our sons and their futures. When problems are brought out into the open, they can be dealt with, and Love, Honor and Virtue is a great tool to help us, as parents who feel like we’re floundering, to help our young men. Another book from the same authors, which I would also love to read, is No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope. This looks very helpful, as well; sometimes I think I don’t know how to parent my older children, and most of the time I’m sure I am totally clueless!