Thursday, March 26, 2009

Generations of Virtue

As little children become young adults parents bear witness to incredible changes which sometimes bring anxiety and confusion to the forefront of relationships. Physical changes of development, purity issues and guiding a young adult through their developing spiritual lives can seem like an overwhelming job at times even for the most experienced parent. Thankfully, parents have a powerful ally in Generations of Virtue, "a non-profit, volunteer-driven ministry that equips parents to empower their kids for purity in our world today".

The five year old ministry offers books, apparel, purity rings, movies, music and purity jewelry designed to help parents and teens combat the messages of impurity so prevalent in our contemporary society. Generations of Virtue offers their products through a website and travels across the U.S. to homeschool conferences. In addition, Generations of Virtue took a team to Southeast Asia last year ministering to the people of Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. According to the Generations of Virtue website,
“We work with parents, teens, churches, and homeschooling groups to equip today's generation for one of the most critical battles our culture faces--the battle for purity of heart, mind and body.”

I received four books to review from Generations of Virtue. Teknon and The Champion Warriors, written by Brent Sapp is written for boys aged 11-16; available for $13.99. A separate three book set, Beautifully Made, edited by founder of the ministry Julie Hiramine is written for girls aged 8-12 to share with their Moms. The Beautifully Made series is offered on the Generations of Virtue website for $18.99.

Teknon and The Champion Warriors is a science fiction novel with many character lessons woven throughout the story. Fifteen year old Teknon takes an adventure filled quest with his father and four mentors as they attempt to rid their planet, Basileia of the evil Magos and his empire. Throughout their journey Teknon is faced with moral dilemmas including purity, respect for others, courage, pride, learning to not judge by outward appearances, and other valuable character building lessons.

The novel is designed as a springboard for discussion between fathers and sons. Sapp has written a unique handbook to accompany the reading of the novel to encourage mentoring through 16 interactive sessions. Sapp allows the character of Kratos, Teknon’s father to summarize the importance of purity training as he explains to Teknon the reason for their journey.

“We have a challenge far greater than anything you or I have ever faced. I brought you here because it’s time I taught you how to become a Champion Warrior. Basileia’s future is at stake, and we, along with your mentors and a growing number of people on our home planet, are its only hope. The rigorous physical training you’ve undertaken is only the beginning. I will begin to teach you what I have learned, and you can join me as we face Magos.” (page 31, Teknon and The Champion Warrior)

I found Teknon a bit difficult to read due to all the creative science fiction aspects. Sapp includes a glossary and explanations of the Champion Warrior code, but my personal enjoyment is always found in the plot line of books and not in defining vocabulary and working to understand characters, etc. I do not enjoy science fiction genre and let’s face it I’m a girl. Teknon is definitely written for a male audience. I think the author did an excellent job of integrating life lessons throughout the novel keeping the reader’s interest as they learn these important truths.

My hope is to have my husband read Teknon next with my 14 year old son. I think the idea of celebrating and mentoring sons to manhood is an important topic that is all too often over looked by the church, society and families. I applaud Mr.Sapp’s efforts in encouraging men and their sons through action and adventure; the language of men.

Beautifully Made came to our house as a three booklet set wrapped in a pink ribbon. This small attention to detail reminded me of the need to treat the discussion of physical and emotional changes of female adolescence as a special topic to be viewed as a gift. The first two books in the series are written for mothers and daughters to share and the third is written especially for mothers to aid them in guiding their daughters during this potentially tumultuous time.

My 11 year old daughter and I read through the Beautifully Made series, Approaching Womanhood (Book One) and Celebrating Womanhood (Book two). We found them to be well written, thoughtful and informative. Hiramine discusses the changes to be expected before the onset of menstruation and the anticipated feelings, necessary products and hormonal changes once a monthly cycle begins in Book One. I found the information regarding the specific hormone changes of a monthly cycle especially helpful and a great reminder that as women our bodies endure a tremendous amount of change every 28 days or so.

All three of the books contain about 40 pages of text allowing mothers and daughters to read through each in under an hour. Throughout each book, Hiramine encourages young women with positive messages regarding body types, changes and womanhood. Her thoughts include celebrating the onset of menstruation with your daughter by taking her to lunch, buying her flowers, setting up an appointment at a spa for the two of you, etc.
Hiramine works scripture and Biblical connections into her explanations of the biology and emotions of womanhood. Although I didn’t find all scripture to be relevant to the various issues discussed I did find it refreshing to be able to share with my daughter surrounded in a Christian focus. In addition, Hiramine includes some short prayers designed to guide young girls in incorporating physical issues into their spiritual life; a delightful approach in my opinion.

I have negotiated the waters of puberty with two of my children and am in the midst of the journey with two more. I am reminded on occasion of the importance of guiding and protecting their purity as they mature and learn to live without me. I am thankful for the ministry of Generations of Virtue which provides many resources to help my husband and I stay the course.

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