Monday, September 13, 2010

Polished Cornerstones: Projects for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood

Pam Forster has written an comprehensive manual full of projects designed to help daughters grow in their faith and prepare for Christian marriage. At nearly 500 pages, Polished Cornerstones: Projects for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood, is an exhaustive guide to projects and activities fostering positive character attributes such as patience, humility, purity, and devotion. Chapters also cover topics such as finances, gardening, cooking, and childcare.

Forster begins with a four-page purpose statement which states the two main purposes of the book are to "lead girls to maturity" and "prepare girls to be godly young ladies." However, Forster sees girls' primary role as a wife and mother. She states, "For most women, God's will includes marriage." For this reason, she writes, "Rather than encouraging a daughter to seek employment outside the home, would it not be more preparatory for her future role to have her remain in the home provided for by her father?" She continues, "This is an area we need to consider more diligently before we just accept the cultural norm of sending a daughter out of the home for higher education and/or employment. The spirit of independence that inevitably develops in these circumstances seems contradictory to the helper's role for which we are preparing our daughters." Many of the projects focus on a girl's development in relation to her future husband.

Forster includes a fifteen-page section titled, "How to Use 'Polished Cornerstones.'" She specifically recommends the book be used over a period of several years. Projects are divided into "Beginner" (ages four-nine), "Intermediate" (ages ten-fourteen), and "Advanced" (ages fifteen and up), so sisters can work simultaneously on the same chapter, even if they are different ages.

Each chapter includes memory work, with easy and more difficult verses listed. Forster also includes reproducible graphic organizers for many of her projects. (For example, a chart detailing "Examples of Christ's Love" has girls list a biblical reference, the situation, what Jesus did, and what she learned.) A checklist is included to determine whether girls are maturing in each attribute.

What I Like: Forster is very organized, and should be commended for her thoroughness and attention to detail. She has many interesting projects, and the section explaining how to use the book could be quite helpful if you were setting up a homeschool or church curriculum.

The chapters on evangelism (telling people about Jesus), devotion (to grandparents, specifically), and reverence (keeping the Sabbath), are quite well done.

I also like the graphic organizers, and her focus on the Bible. She teaches girls to use a topical Bible as well as a concordance. These are valuable skills to learn at a young age.

What I Dislike: The book is very long, which could be overwhelming to some readers, and it is expensive. Also, many of the projects rely heavily on reading other books. Although the reading list seems interesting, it would be necessary to locate these books before starting nearly half of the projects in the book.

My main concern is Forster's assumption most girls will get married. I have known many lovely, committed, Christian women who have been unmarried, or gotten married much later in life. If they followed Forster's protocol, they would have missed out on rewarding careers and opportunities God had for them (e.g. journalism, microbial engineering, pastoral ministry). I don't believe women should be kept out of higher education or careers simply because they may develop "a spirit of independence." Also, Forster advocates training girls differently in the area of finances, (focusing on budgeting mostly) as they will not be the primary breadwinners. Even if this is true, not all men are wonderful accountants or best suited to managing money. Again, if women are not married, they need to know how to buy a house or car and how to invest for retirement.

I would prefer my daughters to submit to a husband or stay home with their children out of choice--not just because they weren't given the opportunity to do anything else.

Overall Rating: Ho-hum, with some good chapters.

Age Appeal: Parents, but with projects designed for 4-adult

Publisher Info: Doorposts, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-891206-27-6; Paperback, Spiral-bound, 495 pgs., $48.00

Buy it at for $48.00.

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1 comment:

Annette W. said...

I do like Doorposts products...I agree with your concerns about women and the workplace...though I know college is not appropriate for all. I haven't used this book yet and am glad to hear your thoughts.