Friday, March 9, 2012

Your Special Gift

Like most parents, Carol McCormick struggled to know how to talk to her preteen girls about sex. She wanted to inform them, but also avoid being explicit. Her girls were nine and eleven at the time. What she presented to them is now available to you in book form.

Your Special Gift: A Preteen Primer to the Facts of Life is "an analogy of sex, comparing their bodies to precious gifts and opening these treasures to having sex." The author begins by talking about Christmas, how wonderful it is to open presents that morning, and how awful would it be if they had already been opened, played with and enjoyed too soon.

Each chapter begins with a short Scripture quotation, frequently from 1 Corinthians 13, then approaches the topic in a conversational style. The author defines sex as a man and woman "joining their bodies." She goes on to say: "A man's body part works like a key and a woman's body part works like a lock, and as they fit together they open this wonderful gift." While always sticking with the predominant analogy, the text includes brief discussions of:
  • various names and terms for sex
  • God's intention for sex (between a husband and wife only)
  • The importance of waiting to "open your gift" until after marriage
  • The dangers of "opening your gift" too soon or to the wrong person
  • Wrong motives for "opening a gift" and common forms of peer pressure
  • Pornography, rape, prostitution and AIDS (mostly just definitions and why they are unhealthy)
  • Bad touches and how to respond (child molestation)
All Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version. A "Note to Parents" offers both an introduction to the book and a short explanation of why it was written.

What I Like: The author covers a broad scope of topics directly and with brevity. I like that she encourages parents to use this as a starting point for discussions with their children. I also like that she consistently reminds readers that they are valuable and that their bodies are special. While discussing predators and inappropriate touches, the author suggests to child readers that, if they have been violated and find it too hard to tell an adult, they can simply take the book and show them "this page." I think that's an excellent suggestion! Victims are usually embarrassed and scared. This provides a less intimidating way to get help.

What I Dislike: I struggle with analogies for important topics, especially sex. They seem to always fall short in one way or another, either being too descriptive or not enough. This book fluctuates in that area. For example, the author spends a whole page talking about AIDS, but never mentions the existence of other sexually transmitted diseases. The text uses words like hooker, intercourse, rape and pornography, but never once gives the accurate names for a man's "key" or the woman's "lock."

Also, in the section on predators, the author provides readers with things they can say if someone touches them inappropriately. One reads: "I'm going to tell someone if you don't stop." I find this very dangerous. Victims need to know that they ALWAYS tell, even if the violator stops.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Celestial Press, 2009 (print version), 2012 (e-version); ISBN: 0967536804; Paperback or Electronic; 32 pages; $5.98

Or get the Kindle edition for $0.99.

Special Info: Visit the author's website for more information on her, this book and her other titles.

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