Readers of my simple homemaking blog, The Simple Homemaker, may have heard me mention Hal and Melanie Young of Great Waters Press, award-winning authors of Raising Real Men as well as several other books on marriage and parenting. Another arsenal in their toolbox for raising real men of God is their 2017 release, Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality.
Whoa. Hold on a second. I’m here for the travel blog and music mission articles. This is a little too intense for me. How does it fit here anyway?
That’s fine. No problem. But let me tell you how it fits.
We are a family of ten. We currently have four teenage (one in her twenties actually) daughters some of whom sometimes tell me they will have to remain single forever because there are few to no marriageable men out there. Marriageable men! Are they becoming extinct? I’m not saying they’ve exhausted their search, although we have hit 49 states so far, but I am saying that the number of men who fall into the marriageable category for Christian young women pursuing God and purity is dwindling fast.
The Youngs noticed this, also. In their book they share statistics of men who are addicted to pornography and/or having sex outside of marriage and the ages by which these behaviors begin. The numbers are shocking. I’m shocked.
Oh, lighten up! What’s a little harmless porn? How old-fashioned can you get, Girl?!
I’m glad you asked. Another benefit to the Young’s book is they show how “a little harmless porn” or “going a little too far” isn’t harmless after all. Among many other things, porn becomes addictive and desensitizes the mind so the body is incapable of responding appropriately with the wife. Not so harmless. And “going too far” has a myriad of its own problems that hurt more than help both the parties.
Obviously, there is a need for a more God-directed path for young (and old) men to follow (and women as well). That’s the purpose of Love, Honor, and Virtue. It is a tool for parents or others to hand to a young man so he can find answers to his potentially embarrassing questions or trying issues from a Biblical source. It’s also a guide to help him avoid the huge and damaging pitfalls of sexual temptation on many levels.
So I hand this to my son and everything will be fine?
I wish. This book is a single tool in a lifelong arsenal against temptation. You yourself are another tool, as is an atmosphere of open conversation in your home.
What exactly is in this book?
The Youngs explain the sexual process in detail, because it’s better to hear the truth from a Godly source than trash talk from some towel-clothed guys bragging about their latest conquest in the locker room or, more likely today, on Google.
It explains the reasons–spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and even chemical–why sex is designed for one man and one woman. No exception, no gender switches, no testing the waters.
It explains how to have healthy relationships with girls and gives a general guideline for how and when to pursue a romantic interest. Here’s a hint: not until you’re marriageable yourself.
One of my favorite sections is how to fight temptation. Another favorite is how to break out of sin and be “redeemed” or bought back from the pitfall of sin you’ve fallen into.
Oh, so it’s one of those everyone is okay, Jesus loves us, kumbayah books?
ABSOLUTELY…NOT! How did you even get that impression?
The book adamantly states ways to avoid sin, that sin is real and harmful (even secret personal sins that you may not have even considered sin or are denying are sinful), and that, though repentant sinners are forgiven, we are all told to go and sin no more.
Okay, so it’s a judgmental book?
Again, not so. Consider it more like an understanding, patient, wise, but cool and a little bit funny no-nonsense uncle. The book does point out sin, but no more than Scripture does–the authors do not make up laws of their own. In fact, when there is an area where others may be creating laws outside of Scripture, they point it out.
There is a lot of science, a lot of Scripture, a lot of guidance throughout the book that no man should be without, and a lot of encouragement through hard, hard times. Sadly, too many men don’t have that cool, funny, Godly uncle. This book may be the awakening and boost they need to pursue purity as God intended and the blessings that come with it.
But my son is only 13. He’s not thinking about these things yet.
Don’t be so sure. The age of sexual awakening is growing younger and younger for both boys and girls. The possible reasons why are intriguing, but that’s not the point. The point is that we’re still buying our boys Legos and they might be home looking at porn or inappropriately fantasizing about that cute girl from Spanish class or worse.
Did you hand it to your boy?
No. I didn’t. He’s twelve, and we have been talking casually about these topics since he was a little squirt. I have, however, seen girls awaken toward him, which has heightened our talks. The book will be in his hands within a couple years.
The reason for my delay is that there is a rather detailed section about the sexual process. (Again, better from a Godly source than from Google.) He already knows these things, but the book lays it out more fully. I don’t think he’s quite ready for that level of description yet. He’s still in the muddled brain stage of growing up and can’t even say the word “girlfriend” without throwing up a little. That said, I’ve discussed with him (both before and during the reading of this book) most of the topics relevant to him at this point with some cautions and guidance for the near future. We also prepare him to be on the lookout for red flags.
But my boys are too young!
While we would like to protect our children’s innocence as long as possible, the culture we live in demands that conscientious parents actively prepare their children for the assaults that await those children. They are being attacked at younger ages than ever before, and their futures can be permanently damaged by decisions they make today. Let those decisions be informed and wise.
That makes sense, but it’s kind of embarrassing.
If you let personal discomfort override your responsibility as a parent, that is not love–it’s selfishness. Information, commitment, and a solid support team could be your child’s lifeline in a world of intense temptation. Be that lifeline, no matter how much your cheeks flush!
What about girls? Can they read it, too?
Of course! While it’s written to boys and men, I wouldn’t see any problem with letting girls read it as well. In fact, I think they would benefit tremendously. To be honest, I wish I’d had this resource when I was navigating the dating world, if only to know what to look for in a man. (I have a good man, so don’t you start conjecturing now, you stinker!)
Is this a lecture or a book review?
Ha. You’re funny. But good question.
It’s both, although I prefer the word “encouragement” to “lecture.” Essentially, what you’ve received here is a small, miniscule sampling of the information and encouragement your sons will find in this book. It is a valuable resource from parents of six boys and two girls.
How would you summarize this book?
It gives young men the guidance, encouragement, and reason to put on the armor of God and fight for his own purity, so that when he presents himself to his lady in waiting, his armor may be beaten and dirty, but his heart is untouched and pure.
That’ll do. Thank you.
A few more things:
There is some overlap from their other books, but that’s natural, since many of the same topics are touched on. This one, however, is highly unique in that it’s written to the young men themselves. It’s also short with brief sections and no verbose chapters, because…guys…well, I’m told they like short books. I don’t necessarily believe it, but there you go. For the guys that like super short books, there’s a summary at the end of each chapter. Hey, that’s better than nothing, right?
I can’t recommend this book enough. When you give this to your guys (or girls) or if you read it yourself and guide your children until they’re old enough to read it themselves is entirely up to you. But please don’t neglect their purity education. Please! Especially if they have any of our girls in their sights.
If you’re interested, here are a couple of other reviews I’ve written about the Young’s work:
I thought I had shared their book Raising Real Men with readers of The Simple Homemaker in the past, but the only post I could find that I wrote about them was right here, called a Christ-Centered Christmas.
Another book review I wrote at the same time I was writing this one is for a book called No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope. It’s over at The Simple Homemaker. I want as many people as possible to find the Young’s resources, so I’m spreading things around. Yup–love those people!
If you love them, too, you can follow them on social media (I like to follow their Instagram account because they travel a lot like we do, and they have a unique perspective on the world, which we enjoy.)
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/raisingrealmen @raisingrealmen
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/halandmelanie @halandmelanie
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/raisingrealmen
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/raisingrealmen @raisingrealmen
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/raisingrealmen @raisingrealmen
If you want to hear from other reviewers who might tell you something more beneficial (like an actual table of contents) and less lecture-y (I mean encouraging) than my review, click here or on the banner below: