Human sexuality is a good gift from God but from the way many Christians talk about it (if they even talk about it at all) you might think it was a disease spread upon all mankind from Satan himself. Not just one generation back from mine, sex was considered to be a non-discussion topic unless you were telling kids not to have it before marriage. Now my generation is raising its own generation of kids. Truth be told, our kids will hear about sex and sexuality from somewhere. The question is, who will they hear it from the loudest and most cogently? The world will tell them about it and so must Christian parents.
There is a growing body of literature (that needs to keep growing!) for Christian parents seeking to aid them in their discussions (discussions plural because there needs to be more than one of them!) with their children about their sexuality. Recently, Christian pediatricians Chris Richards and Liz Jones have written an amazing pair of new books titled Growing God’s Way for Boys and Growing God’s Way for Girls. Designed for ages 10-14, this book was written to help parents discuss their kids sexuality with them from before puberty to marriage, from a Christian and medical perspective.
Both books follow the same chapter format with one tailored to boys and the other to girls. The first two chapters discuss the bookends of puberty and marriage. These chapters set the stage for further development in the next seven chapters. Chapters three through seven discuss the ways in which a young person’s body changes during puberty: physically, emotionally and relationally. In these chapters everything is covered from zits to sweating, the growth of hair, the menstrual cycle, mood swings and the beginning stages of opposite sex attraction. Chapter eight discusses the various stages of developing a relationship with someone of the opposite sex from dating to marriage. The final chapter concludes with giving practical tips for how young boys and girls can begin now to think about and prepare for their possible future spouses such as living for God where He has you now and saving yourself sexually for your future spouse.
There are several features of these books that make them stand out. First, and most importantly, they are thoroughly grounded in Scripture. Drs. Richards and Jones tie everything from conception to marriage and beyond to what God has to say about it in His Word. God is seen as overseeing our lives and the One who made our body and its changes for our good and His glory. Second, while being Biblically based, the books are also very scientific in their descriptions. My wife and I are in agreement that when we discuss our kid’s bodies with them we use proper medical terminology and the authors have done the same in the books. This is a plus! Third, the books are filled with colorful pictures and diagrams to illustrate everything from the difference in boys and girls genitalia to an unborn child growing in a mother’s belly. Literally every page has a picture of some sort. Fourth, the language used in the books is perfect for young readers to grasp if you have them read the books with you or again on their own after you have discussed the material with them. Fifth, because the book is based in Scripture, the authors discuss God’s good design for sex within marriage and how to have a Christ-honoring relationship with the opposite sex before marriage. The authors also rightly tip their hat to the role of singleness in the life of some people. Finally, many of these changes can be very hard to children to deal with and understand as they happen. Sometimes this can produce frustration and confusion. Throughout the books the authors point out how children can take comfort in knowing that God has designed them to grow in these ways and that they can trust Him as they go through the changes. Puberty is God’s designed way for helping children grow into adults. Each stage has a God designed time and purpose that helps us to fulfill the purposes He has made us for in regards to our sexuality.
I cannot do anything but highly recommend Growing God’s Way for Boys and Growing God’s Way for Girls. These are books I would want to put in the hand of every parent in my church with young children. I would recommend parents read through the book with their child first and then if deemed necessary, to allow their child to read through it again on their own with parental follow up. Let me stress, parents need to use this book as a resource in discussing their child’s sexuality with them. It should not be used as an excuse to avoid the uncomfortable conversation by giving it to them and telling them to figure it out on their own. Christian parents need to lead the way in their children’s lives when it comes to everything, especially their sexuality. The world is certainly going to tell our children about sex, so we parents need to tell them what God says about it. These books are a great place to start!
About the authors
Dr. Chris Richards is a Consultant Pediatrician in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He is married and has four children. He is a deacon at Gateshead Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Liz Jones is a retired Community Pediatrician. She is married with three married daughters and seven grandchildren. With her husband, she attends Welbeck Road Evangelical Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Craig Hurst received his BA in Church Ministries from Clearwater Christian College and his MA in theology at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He currently lives outside of Grand Rapids, MI and attends Grace Community Church, where he serves as a volunteer youth worker (along with his wife), and teaches some elective classes. He blogs at Theology for the Road.