Growing up, I had a younger brother and lots of guy neighbors and friends. I wasn’t exactly a tomboy, but I could kick a football barefooted and knew enough about sports to impress my buddies. I was very comfortable hanging out with guys and imagined if I ever had a son, raising him would be somewhat intuitive.
Having a daughter has kept me immersed in the world of tea parties, dress buying and girl things for the last sixteen years. I have hesitated to comment much on raising boys in case things have changed since my childhood. Until recently, my search for solid books on raising boys has not been very successful.
Let’s face it. To dedicate your children to God means you have to be radically different from the people in your community. Sadly, you may very well have to be willing to be radically different from the people in your Church. The very idea of standing out from the crowd and perhaps even challenging the crowd, makes most Christians settle for living a life that is ordinary.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost the willingness to be different and put everything on the line for God. We are afraid of being teased, unpopular or having people gossip about our unusual behavior and choices. Frankly, I am not even sure we would know what putting everything on the line for God would look like in our comfortable American lives.
I’ll admit, I was a bit boy crazy as a teenager. Thankfully, no acting out was involved, but I feel like I wasted a lot of time and energy worrying about when and whom I would marry. Eventually, I totally turned it over to God and of course met my wonderful, Christian husband shortly thereafter. Since then, I have been exposed to scores of teen girls – some boy crazy, some not as much – but all with lots of questions and confusion when it comes to the subject of “boys”.
I was thrilled when I was offered a chance to review Dannah Gresh’s new book, Get Lost. When my daughter was much younger, we loved Ms. Gresh’s Secret Keeper series. If you have young daughters, it is a “must” in my book for introducing your daughter to the idea of modesty in fun ways. I was curious to see if Ms. Gresh handled the ideas of purity, dating and marriage for teen girls with the same flair. She didn’t disappoint.
During a stint recruiting doctors, I became fascinated by medical science. Educators spend a lot of time debating what we can alter with education and environment and what is pre-determined by biology. My problem with most scientists is that they remove God from the equation. I really do believe God has the power to “overcome” biology or any other sciences and their rules if He chooses to do so. In spite of my belief, I know that most of the time, God allows our bodies to function in certain standard ways.
As an educator, I am always curious about the latest research involving the brain. A PhD Astronomer friend recently reminded me that you must take every scientific discovery with a grain of salt. New instruments or more thorough or broader research can often turn recent discoveries upside down. With his warning in mind, I decided to learn what the latest thinking was on the teen brain. I volunteered to review a galley of a new book which will be released in a few months called, What Are They Thinking?!: The Straight Facts about the Risk-Taking, Social-Networking, Still-Developing Teen Brain by Aaron M. White, PHD and Scott Swartzwelder, PHD.
When our daughter was starting to walk, we told her she was not allowed out of bed without permission. We had heard too many horror stories of what happened to babies who wondered out of their cribs and rooms during the night. Our daughter was great about playing quietly or looking at books until we came and got her in the morning or calling for us if she had a more immediate need.
When we potty trained her, we wanted to get rid of the rule. I didn’t want her to wait for me to respond if she had to potty. I wanted her to run for the potty so she wouldn’t have an accident. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to convince a child who had been told a behavior was a “no” for so long that the behavior was now a “yes”. “No” was easy and safe. She knew what that looked like. “Yes” was scary. How could she know she wasn’t doing “yes” wrong?