Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review ~ 5 Conversations

Yesterday was my birthday! My only "plan" was: wake up and feel sad my hubby had to be gone on a staff retreat. :) Imagine my surprise when, out of the darkness, the bedroom door cracked open as I lay negotiating with the snooze button, and I heard my sophomore daughter say, "Happy Birthday Mom!" She came in carrying a bright red tray with a woven napkin, hot tea in a pottery mug (tastes better that way), and a plate arranged with a fresh veggie omelette, Greek yogurt with honey, and an apple. My heart was full, and my "sorry for myself" feelings faded away with the joy of seeing my daughter growing into a young woman before my sleepy eyes. And to my "NOT A MORNING PERSON" heart, knowing she got up extra early to prepare breakfast really meant a lot to me. When I dropped her off for school forty-five minutes later, I left her with many prayers and faith that the Lord will watch over her as I send her out into the world. Mornings like that are gold.

Raising a daughter in today's world is not easy. When I watch hundreds of teenage girls flood out of the high school each afternoon, I am overwhelmed with all they face. Did you know that ....

  • "More than 40 % of young women in the United States become pregnant one or more times before they reach 20 years of age."
  • "Nearly 70 % of those who get married first live together."
  • 25 % of teen girls have an STD (Sexually transmitted Disease), and almost 2/3 of girls are sorry for their decision to have sex and "wish they had waited."
  • One study found that 88 % of those who make virginity pledges break them.
  • "A recent study of popular television show found that nonmarital sex outpaced references to successful married sex by a ration of nearly 3 to 1 .... The 'family hour' - the first hour of prime-time TV, which draws the most young viewers - contained the highest ration of references to non-married sex."
  • In the "Dove Campaign" survey on beauty, only 2 % of the women said they think they are beautiful.

These quotes from Vicki Courtney's 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter are evidence that raising a daughter well in today's world seems next to impossible. There is so much working against us. Ephesians 4:17-20 spells out the goal for godly daughters, even in today's world:

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to

their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!"

Even in a dark world, ESPECIALLY in a dark world, God calls us to raise daughters who don't walk like Gentiles, but daughters who have "learned Christ." We are striving to raise them not to have futile minds, to know God, to have soft hearts, to be sensitive to wisdom, to love purity. This is not easy in a world that loves sin.

5 Conversations is such a fantastic study; I wish every mom who has a daughter would work through the study. One week from today I will begin teaching a study group for 6 weeks here in Knoxville, using Vicki's book. It is relevant, current, Biblical, and practical. Responding to what I've read and studied is not an option, and Vicki makes it clear how to follow up with the challenges. She supports the 5 Conversations with proven facts and scriptural truth. Did I say I would highly recommend it? :)

In honor of my birthday (yesterday) I am giving away a copy of Vicki's 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter - The Bible Study. It is my pleasure to send this to one you, my lovely readers. Here's what you need to do to enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment or send me an email, answering at least ONE of these questions:

  1. If you have a daughter, what do you love about your relationship with her?
  2. If you have a daughter, what was the last "meaningful" conversation you had with her about?
  3. What do you wish your daughter knew about you?
  4. When you were a teenage girl, who had the most impact on the direction your life took?
  5. When you were a teenage girl, what helped you/would've helped you to want to know God?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts. I write a regular column for the new 2:21mag online magazine for teen girls, and your insights will be gems for me as I think and pray and write. And, hey, if you want to join our study here in town, you can sign up here.

I will announce the winner on Saturday!

24 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Vicki Courtney said...

Julie, thanks for the kind review! I will be praying for your group as you dive into the study. Keep me posted along the way! Would love to meet you gals at a future mother/daughter event. If there's not one close by, there is a scheduled simulcast in April, 2011. Thanks for rallying the moms w/ girls to counter the culture's influences! :)

New Life said...

3) My daughter is 6years old. I wish she knew how much I love her and how protective of her that I am. I wish she knew my greatest desire is that she doesn't go through the things that I went through though I am an overcome in Christ Jesus. I wish she knew that one of my greatest desires would be for her to be all that Christ intended for her to be.

Robin in VA said...

My daughter will be 6 Sept 25. She has just started 1st grade. The thing I love most about my relationship with her is how much she teaches me about myself and she doesn't even know it. The last meaningful conversation we had was just this morning, about Honoring and Respecting God and the responsibility God has given to her dad (and my husband). I always want my daughter to know to honor and respect her dad no matter what I may be feeling at the time. I feel this is important. At this point, my daughter seems to know me pretty well. The other day I was crying because I was so overwhelmed with things to do and she brought me tissue and told me everything would be okay. Remember she is almost 6 and she knew exactly what I needed when my husband didn't. When I was a teenage girl, my dad had the most impact on my life. As the preacher's daughter, he helped me in so many ways to learn about a personal relationship with God, that I haven't fully understood until I had my own daughter. My prayer for my relationship with my daughter is that it will be closer than the one I had with my own mom. My relationship with my mom is closer now than it ever has and I am thankful, but I want a close relationship with my daughter along the way as she is growing. I want her to know she can always talk with me without being judged. Punished possibly, but I never want to be her judge. I hope this makes sense. I would love to join your bible study, but I don't believe I could make the commute. May God bless your upcoming study. I would like to thank Melanie Chitwood for having the link to your blog. I truly believe God directed me. THANKS.

Deb said...

If you have a daughter, what do you love about your relationship with her?
My daughter is approaching the teen years - in December she'll be 13 - and I have the blessing of having home-schooled her all along. I love her sense of humor, her heart to help others, her amazingly quick wit (from her Dad), and her willingness and ability to learn just about anything. She has taught me so much - as she is a secure, loving person that I was NOT when I was her age. I think she is an amazing young woman and I am so excited in seeing her grow in the Lord as she seeks His will for her life.
Thanks for an awesome give-away opportunity.
Blessings on the journey

rachel_erin said...

I don't have a daughter (yet) so I don't really need the book, but I still wanted to leave comment. Such a beautiful post, and Happy Birthday!! Mine was yesterday too. We both got breakfast in bed! =) Hope the rest of your day was just as special!

michellerose said...

Happy Birthday, Julie!

One thing I love about my teen daughter is that she has a sweet, servant's heart, but the best thing I love about our relationship is that she is willing to talk with me about the more serious things of God and what the Bible means.

One thing that would have helped me to draw close to God as a teen would have been my parents(unbelievers) had let me go with my Christian friends to their church functions. It wasn't soon after that I had really gone astray!

Chrissy said...

As you know, I have two beautiful little girls (very little at 22 months old), so it may seem slighty premature for me to be interested in this book right now. The truth is, since the minute they were born my heart has been heavy about my relationship with them and how I want so deeply to lead them to love Christ. I only wish that someone had intervined in my teenage (or childhood) life with the Lord's words and truth so that I may have been set free earlier. So, I am on a quest for knowledge in preparation for my little girls as the grow. Any other books you may have to suggest would be of great help! Thanks and I always enjoy your blog so,

Julia said...

The thing I love most about my relationship with my daughter is that she still considers "mommy-girl" time the best time of the day. Maybe that won't always be the case, but I'm hoping to keep at atmosphere where as she gets older we keep that openness.


Stephanie said...

Question #1 makes me think of this morning. I have 2 beautiful young girls (5&7) and I love that they still enjoy my company. So what I love about my relationship with my daughters is that they are not yet embarrassed by me. I can still walk them to the bus, kiss them in front of their friends, and they still tell me about those difficult things in school. I have been eyeing Vicki's book debating when the best age to read it would be. I think the earlier the better. I want to be pro-active in my relationship with my children. Thank you for your blog.

Colletta said...

When I was a teenager what most impacted me to want to now God was my mother's example. She has always strived to live a Christ-like life and taught me to do the same. I can only hope and pray that I can be that kind of example for my daughters.

Davenjoy4 said...

4. My father had the most impact on me growing up! He directed me in the field of study I currently work in now (health care) and really encourage me not to give up. I honestly struggled to be close to my mother, real closeness and that has me always praying for closeness with my girls. I tell them all the time they can talk to me about anything and that I am here for them.
Joanna Rummel

New York Mary said...

Unfortunately, when I was a teen girl ... and had not yet been saved by Jesus ... my life direction was most influenced by my peers. As you can imagine, I now live with the consequences of choosing to follow them. God has certainly shown me much mercy and taught me many hard lessons! I am not shy about talking with young women (my own daughter included) about not following anyone's example or advice unless they are true, strong followers of Christ.

Pam said...

I love my relationship with my daughter because she is also my friend. I am her mother but we also share our life together in our conversations, shopping or things we enjoy together. I wish my daughter knew about me - the love I have for her and I how much I want her to find her way in life by the lighted path of God. Not to look at the world and what it has to offer but what Jesus would have her to do with her life. When I was a teenager the people that had the most impact on my direction in life were our neighbors and friends. They glowed with the love of God in all of their lives. I looked at them and prayed that someday I could be like them and love others the way that they loved each other and everyone around them. You know the song - "Thank You" - the song talks about going to Heaven and seeing the one that lead them to Christ and thanking them for giving to the Lord - that they are the life that was changed. This song describes exactly how I feel about my Friends that lead me to the Lord; they didn't just talk the talk but they walked the walk. So thankful God put them into my life.

Country Mom

Sharon O said...

I am choosing to answer your question number 5.
When you were a teenage girl, who had the most impact on the direction your life took?

When I was a teenage girl. I lived in a home that unsafe. My sister was a runaway and the 'step' parent in my home was not a safe person to be left with. I met a young teenage girl at a bus stop who told me about God. I didn't believe her. After many conversations I began to think if HE is all knowing then HE would know where my sister was. I didn't trust that HE did but I wanted to test it.
I went to bed one night and prayed a prayer 'If you are GOD and you know everything then YOU know where my sister is. I want her in her bed in the morning. I want to see her ...if I can do that then I will believe you.' I fell asleep and in the middle of the night she had overdosed the police brought her home and I woke up to SEE 'my sister in her bed.' I had to believe God answered my prayer. A combination of people impacted me. The girl who told me about God, the youth pastor who told me God Loved me... but most of all God impacted me and met me where I needed to be met. If I had not learned to trust and believe I might have been in the street too... where my sister ended up.

Susan U said...

Our meaningful conversations usually occur within a family context--there very well may be others around! I remember on Sunday evening at the Smokies game discussing with one of my daughters the wisdom of her deciding NOT to do a long distance dating relationship.

Lisaadams said...

One of my favorite things about my 9 year old daughter is how she treats others. She will go out of her way to befriend the ones who don't seem to fit in with the crowd. This actually was also our most recent serious conversation. We were talking about the daughter of my best friend who is a large little girl and doesn't have many friends. I know my daughter hates it that she follows my daughter around all the time, but she's never unkind. We talked about how even at her age she can show the love of Christ to others. I'm so proud of her.

Tina Piper said...

the one thing I wish my daughter knew about me ....I wish she could tell I'm NOT perfect. She always says that I'm so beautiful and I'm a perfect mommy. She doesn't see my imperfections..though I do..She thinks I'm beautiful though I feel I'm not. My 9 year old is so innocent...I just don't want this world to ruin it.

Shannon said...

I love chatting with my daughter after school everyday. She tells me all about her day and I get a chance to give her some advice about dealing with things in a nonthreatening way. She doesn't always think I know what I'm talking about but I'm praying that one day she'll realize it.

Marieanne said...

Happy birthday! What a sweet, sweet thing for your daughter to do.

Not coincidentally (since with God there is no such thing), Rosie (age 9) and I were discussing the topic of sexual behavior on the way to camp yesterday. We talked about making choices as to which way to behave, and which way we would like to be treated - as one to be respected and cherished, or as one to whom anyone may do as they please? We also discussed the fact that when someone looks at you and sees your physical beauty, they are still not seeing the whole YOU. They're just seeing the shell. I love that she initiates these conversations.


Now, concerning some of the data in Vicky's book - I was a little put off by the 40% pregnancy rate and the 25% STD rate. Both seemed awfully high to me so I did a bit of digging.

The pregnancy number may come from a misreading of CDC's National Center for Health Care Statistics data, which state that the rate of pregnancy among women 15-19 *declined* by 40% from 1990 to 2005. The actual percentage is 41.9 live births per 1,000 women, or 4.2%.

In terms of the STD rate, I also suspected a misreading. Again, according to the CDC, teens have half of all reported cases of STDs per year - but that doesn't mean half of all teens have STDs. For women in that age group, the numbers are higher than the general population, but along the lines of 3% (chlamydia), .7% (gonorrhea), and .01% (primary and secondary syphilis.)

Horrible numbers, to be sure, but not nearly as discouraging as the 40% and 25% quoted. MUCH less discouraging! :)

Tera said...

What a wonderful daughter you have!

I have two daughters. I hope to encourage them by letting them know that with God's help, they CAN save themselves for their husbands. In today's society, people just expect teenagers to fall into sexual immorality. I also want them to know that I'm already praying for their future husbands to remain pure for their brides too.

Sara x said...

I am blessed with four amazing daughters who i love with all my heart. After the childhood book, each night before they go to sleep i tell them "I love them to the moon, stars and back again, never has this been more important than Novemember 6th 2008 when i lay my daughter to sleep, she never woke. I thank God with all my heart that m last words were ones of love xxx

Marieanne said...

No, just day camp! But a trip to Granny's this weekend for a small family reunion, so there will be much time for wonderful conversation with all the ladies.

I appreciate your thoughtful response and thanks for your kind words. When Carolanne (now 23) was in high school, we always talked about the enormous risks and dubious "benefits" of teen sexual behavior. During class discussions, she was usually alone in her insistence on the discussion of the negatives. God bless her, she stood firm.

Marieanne said...

You've got them. My general philosophy is this: if I am the one to tell my girls about something I consider...what's the word...morally or ethically dicey, I am also the one who gets to set the tone, give the correct impression, and impart useful information. You'll know what to do when the time comes.

Mary said...

Happy Birthday Julie! I use Saturday mornings to catch up on your posts so I am a few days late commenting.
Even though my daughter is still young I desire to raise her so that she knows the importance of remaining pure for her husband. I want her to focus on God's love for her rather than seeking love from guys before she is married. Thank you for sharing this book.