************Your Boy: Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World
Author: Vicki Courtney
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers
* Did you know that children from ages eight through eighteen are referred to as “Generation M?” Can you guess why?
* Did you know that a study completed in 2001 revealed that 55% of American eleventh graders have had sexual intercourse?
* Do you know what Xanga and Myspace are?
If you are a mother and you answered “no” to any of these questions, you’ll want to read Your Boy.
Even though Courtney frequently discusses the roles fathers play in their sons’ development, this book is clearly addressed to mothers. Courtney acknowledges that, particularly in the early years, mothers are the primary formative influence on their children. Also, since 18% of American children live in households led by single or divorced females, it is safe to assume that, in many cases, mothers carry the bulk of the responsibility for child rearing in American society.
Writing from an evangelical Christian perspective, Courtney addresses a range of issues covering the entire span of boyhood from infancy to adulthood. Do you want to raise a Mama’s Boy? Courtney discusses the harmful effects of over protectiveness. Do you want to raise a boy who treats women with courtesy and respect? Courtney provides “A Nice Guy’s Dating Rules.” Do you want to know what your children are doing when they are online? Courtney provides advice about monitoring computer usage and recommends specific software that assists in that task.
The book is generally written and organized well, but one glaring editorial error will leap out at the reader. In chapter 8, “Surviving a Sex-Obsessed Culture,” Courtney promises to address three “basic assumptions that Christian mothers make prior to (or during) the teen years” (p. 105). I was disappointed when she only discussed two assumptions. I have searched the book cover to cover and failed to find the third one. Otherwise, this is one of the most compelling chapters of the book. The subsequent chapter, “Staying In Line When Online” is also helpful. These two chapters alone make the book worthwhile.
The least persuasive part of this book deals with what Courtney calls “the assault on biblical manhood” (p. 157). She traces the roots of atrocious manners and extended adolescence to the sexual revolution and radical women’s liberation movement of the 1960s. Citing the differences between issues of Seventeen that were published in the 1950s and recent issues of that magazine, she portrays the 1950s and earlier decades as a somewhat ideal age when Christian values dominated the American landscape. Courtney believes that a reversion to “traditional” gender roles as they are usually defined and promoted by evangelical Christians will go a long way toward curing the ills of American society in general, as well as those of American families in particular.
Courtney, a mother of three teenagers and the founder of a ministry called Virtuous Reality, has written several books for women and teens. The counterpart to Your Boy is entitled, Your Girl: Raising a Godly Daughter in an Ungodly World. She is a clear, concise writer who utilizes a fairly good range of research materials. Your Boy will appeal to parents who agree with an evangelical Christian worldview. Even so, the book offers practical advice for all parents, regardless of their particular religious or philosophical leanings.
By the way, Generation M stands for Generation Media. Read the book to find out what it means!