April 26, 2010

Do Your Teens Ask Why?

My teenage girls in their modest swimsuits!

I've been wanting to write a book for a long time. I even started it once. I entitled it, Reasons for the Things Your Mother Taught You.

As each of my children grew into teens, they started to wonder about the things they did automatically, that I had worked so hard to instill into them: prayers, church attendance, modesty, movie standards, moral cleanliness, fasting, education, missions, and more. They started asking "why?" Which is a good thing. We don't want to train up robots—we want our children to be thinking, reasoning, pondering free agents who live purposefully and make good choices.

On the rare occasion that we have bacon at my house, we cut it in half before frying it. That's how it is done. I remember watching my granny cut it in half before putting it into the pan. And my mother. And my sisters. And I did it for a long many years. Until I asked why? My sisters and my mother didn't have an answer, so I asked my granny while she was still alive. Her answer: "I didn't have a big enough frying pan to lay it out straight unless I cut it in half." Knowing why brings freedom!

Rejoice when your children ask why?, especially about important moral topics. As moms, we naturally draw back from scary questions that may shake their faith. The gospel is true, and truth can stand up to questioning. Taking the attitude of , "Let's find out" rather than "Don't question" helps immensely. After all, we are all still on the learning journey ourselves, even about our faith.

So, while I was in the process of writing this book for my kids, Reasons for the Things Your Mother Taught You, I discovered a new book that had already been written. And it is wonderful! Much better than I could write myself, of course. I hedged a bit before making the plunge, as it is a pricey book ($33). But finally, I saw it on sale for $28 and bought it. And it is well-worth the money! I have used this book for Family Home Evening almost every week, and the examples and discussion it creates have been so pertinent to my teens' questions. And answered them just the way I wanted to—with scriptures, quotes of the prophets, and object lessons. It's fabulous!

It is written by John Hilton III, one of my favorite youth speakers. My daughter Emily took his Book of Mormon class at BYU, after hearing him at Education Week and loving him. He has a powerful testimony, is fun and crazy—never stuffy!

The preface to the book says it all: "It isn't always easy to give you a 'why' for everything. But we owe it to you of the coming generation to do more than just say, 'Don't'." —President Boyd K. Packer

I so agree! We strengthen our children's testimonies when we are willing to pursue the hard questions, and search for reasons. On some things in our LDS doctrine, we just have trust, but many answers can be found, and if Joseph had not inquired, where would we all be?

Powerful Answers and Practical Reasons
for Living LDS Standards

(I linked you to Seagull Book, with the reasoning that it belongs to Deseret Book which belongs to the church, a good institution to support—rather than buying from Amazon. Not sure if that is accurate reasoning.)

Here are some of the chapters:

Why Should I Keep the Commandments?
Why Does it Matter Who My Friends Are?
Why Should I Dress Modestly?
Why Shouldn't I Steady Date in High School?
Why Should I Want to Have Children When I'm Married?
Why Are There Guidelines for Dancing?
Why Should I Fast?
Why Should I Repent Now and Not Later?

. . . and many more.

There are lots of modern-looking, fun photo-illustrations throughout. It is colorful and the fonts look like just what a teenager would enjoy. They'll like reading it themselves, if you don't opt to use it for Family Home Evening or gospel lessons.

Under the topic of why you should honor your parents, the author starts by mentioning to teens the fact that their parents changed 5, 475 diapers for them in their babyhood, which should be a good foundation for respecting your parents!

Great stuff!

Diane Hopkins is a verteran homeschooler, having taught her 7 children over the past 24 years. She writes a homeschool blog, Heart-to-Heart with Diane, and reviews all the products offered in their family homeschool bookstore, Latter-day Family Resources. She also designs and sells modest swimsuits: Swim Modest.

3 comments - Add a comment below -:

Jeanine said...

Wow, great post. I have been nervous about my daughter turning 12, she is a wonderful girl, but I know her life is about to go through so many changes. Thanks for telling me where to start!

Dana ♥ said...

I purchased this book for my teenage son for Christmas this last year. I too waited for a sale because it was so expensive. However when the package arrived, I was so pleased. This book is large! It's textbook-sized. It is very high quality with great paper, hardback and style. It is indeed a worthy purchase.

Anonymous said...

What a great article! My little girl is turning 13 this year and she's been asking more and more questions about things, which is great, but scary! haha Sometimes she'll ask things out of the blue about something and it catches me off guard haha Thanks for the great tips!

Tara | http://www.pioneerbook.com/ldsbooks/index.html