Growing up God’s Way for girls and boys By Dr. Chris Richards and Dr. Liz Jones
These two books, Growing up God’s Way for girls and boys by Drs. Chris Richards and Liz Jones are designed to introduce young ones to their bodies, puberty, and sexuality. Coming out this from a medical and evangelical-biblical perspective, the book offers parents and their children a unique approach to puberty. The scientific explanations of changes in our body given in the book are sound but readable. My daughter is too young at this point for going through this book together, but I can imagine older children would greatly benefit from these books. The books mirror each other in much of the content while differing on the changes in a boys and girls body going through puberty.
What I thought was particularly good about these books was the section on attraction. The authors bring out the positive place of emotions that young girls go through as they reach puberty. They write, “Like everything else God has made, these feelings of attraction are intended for a good purpose: to draw a man and a woman together and perhaps eventually, to strengthen the bond between them in marriage.” (62) The attraction that a young man feels for a girl can easily be led down a hill to disaster but the intent and design by God is to strengthen that connection between a woman and man in marriage. Being wise doctors, the authors also give a word of caution about feelings of attraction. Feelings of attraction that lead to disobedience to God, out of control actions, and longing for something that you are not read for are a sure sign of feelings of attraction gone wrong (63). Attraction has its place in the development that happens when our children go through puberty, but this attraction is to lead towards healthy habits and eventually a strong marriage relationship.
The biblical approach coupled with a real desire to outline in detail the physical nature of sexual intimacy in the context of God’s economy was a real blessing as I read through the book for girls. We see this detail come out in the section on physical intimacy as the authors’ note, “We may note how God has designed man’s penis to fit into the woman’s vagina. This reminds us that sexual intercourse was designed by God to be between a man and a woman.” (49) Rather than getting a vague picture of sexual intimacy and being left with questions that they find answers to from their friends, the books help young ones fully understand the design, purpose, and intent for sexual intimacy. I would give a word of encouragement here that these books are not necessarily the kind you give to your kids and have them read alone, but in a guided setting these books will be of the best use.
If you are looking for a biblical and medical approach to puberty that involves the issues of growing up, sexuality, and changing bodies from an evangelical perspective, this is the book for you. I hope many parents take up these books and read them.
Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and EP books for the copy of these books in exchange for an honest review.