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Help your son stay pure
on June 12, 2006
This is a great book for many reasons. First off, it makes the point very clearly that a father's relationship with his sons is vitally important during the "second half of the game," the years starting with pre-adolescence. Not only are too many of us are caught up in difficult work schedules, but it gets more difficult. No longer is he that little boy who worships the ground you walk on. It's too easy to make an effort and, when you are rebuffed, just quit and hope for the best. All too easy to just figure, "well I turned out ok ... besides, maybe this is the way kids relate to their parents nowadays."
Well, Dad, that would be the worst decision you can make. This is the time of his life when he needs you more than ever. Many problems that will plague your dear son for a lifetime (including confused sexual identity, lust, pornography addiction, etc.) grow up during this period. After all, he's a good kid, but he doesn't know the ropes. Who knows how many traps are waiting for him out there - the world, the flesh, and the devil are all working against him.
The second reason the book is excellent is that it gives you a relatively painless way to go about doing what you know you should do. Many times I have struggled with starting conversations on these topics with my son, but was not quite sure where to go. I see three extremely valuable suggestions here. First off, relate stories to him. Your son probably knows little about your background. Knowing that you've faced struggles helps him to relate to you better and will probably help him to be more open sharing his own concerns and problems. This includes the dirty laundry too - such as the first time you viewed pornography. And I can't help but thinking of ol' Dad whenever some temptation comes up will help him to resist the temptation - the secret thrill is gone.
The second valuable suggestion the book makes is to create a safe place where he can "approach the throne of grace." I set up something like this in our spare bedroom years ago and it has yielded some benefits already and I expect more. Finally, the book provides suggestions of method to prompts discussion, such as reading this book and others together. These keep you going and provides a way to discuss difficult topics, and also helps answer the question "how much should I tell him and when." Certainly, you have to apply your own wisdom and knowledge of your son, but having an experienced father like Fred Stoeker making suggestions is extremely valuable, especially for those of us who never had a good role model in doing such things.
I should mention something that this book is NOT. It is not a "birds and the bees" kind of book. Although it does have some information in the early chapters, it pretty much assumes that either your son already knows the basic mechanics of sex - hopefully from your teaching over the years rather than through his friends. If you are interested, there are other good books on this subject from a Christian point of view. Where this book really comes in is helping your young man manage the resources God has given him. That is, not the mechanism of sex, but the policy of how to manage it before it starts managing him. And many of us know that sex will manage him unless he has the tools to take charge of it.
I should also note that Steve Arterburn did not write the book, it just shows up under his name. Fred Stoeker wrote it and virtually all the experiences and suggestions in the book appear to be Fred's. Some who may question Arterburn's own morality may be put at ease knowing that it's just Arterburn's name attached - the book is really Fred's. Don't pass up an extremely valuable book because somebody's name appears on the cover.
So Dad, get this book, and get on with doing what you know you should do. I think the age range of 11-13 is probably the time to start it. Don't let the "Sexual Code of Silence" continue!