Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son, by Vicki Courtney

It seems that I've been reading a bit on parenting books lately.  I consider this a reflection on what I'm lacking...and seeking.

With this in mind, I can certainly say that some books are more beneficial than others.  5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son has many chapters, but is divided into five sections, or conversations.  You can see how practical this book is from the conversation titles.

  • Don't define manhood by the culture's wimpy standards.  It's OK to be a man!
  • What you don't learn to conquer may become your master.
  • Not everyone's doing it!  (And other naked truths about sex you won't hear in the locker room.)
  • Boyhood is only for a season.  P.S. It's time to grow up!
  • Godly men are in short supply.  Dare to become one!
Throughout the chapters, author and speaker Vicki Courtney elaborates upon each conversation, often taking a look at what a conversation might look like at different ages.  

I appreciate that Courtney seems to keep the readers' mind on the big picture.  It's not necessarily about the behavior, but about the heart of the child and their relationship with God.
"Our priority should not be simply to teach our sons self-control but first and foremost reveal to them the grace of God."
"While I hope my sons' primary motivation for saving sex until marriage is rooted in a desire to please God, should they get off track spiritually, I want to make sure I have given them plenty of other reasons to save sex until they are married." 
"A conversation about saving sex for marriage is not nearly as important as a conversation about Christ's saving man from his sins."  
And on the topic of sex, Courtney also addresses the fact that some sons will already be sexually active, and some unrepentant.  She also discusses the fact that Christian boys have the same hormones within them as their non-Christian friends.

When Vicki Courtney addresses men in their twenties (and older) who still live with mom and dad, she calls them Peter Pan...you know, the boy who never grows up.  Though I agree with much of what she writes in these chapters, I still felt that she was, at times, a bit harsh.  The goal is to launch our young men from boyhood to manhood before they leave home.  I do like that she considers ages 2-14 a prelaunch phase, where the boys are guided in learning basic life skills.  The test launch is from ages 14-18.  This is the time for painful and real consequences and more independence and not the time for parents rescuing their child for the poor decisions.  The final launch phase is from 18-22.  It's at this time that the man should become fully independent and responsible as a member of society.  As mothers, it does feel good to be needed, but it is important to remember that we are to guide them into adulthood and equip them with tools and knowledge needed to be a man on their own.

Though the summary on the back of the book indicates "...Courtney helps moms and dads pinpoint and prepare the discussions..." it is only moms that are actually addressed in the book except at the end of each chapter where there is a Dad 2 Dad thought.  I do not think it should be isolated to only one parent though she does explain a bit of her reasoning (with moms without a godly husband also in mind) later in the book.

Overall, I thought 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son was a beneficial book to read.  The final chapter was titled Godliness Over Goodness, and I think that idea sums up much of the book's focus.  I appreciated the honesty and grace in which Courtney wrote.  Though she included personal examples, it didn't feel like a memoir, and much does seem applicable to the general parent of sons.

This book was provided for an honest review by PR by the Book.


  1. Hmm. Interesting. I might consider final launch to be 18-20 but otherwise it sounds like I'd agree with much of what it is being said in this book. Sounds like a worthy, thought-provoking read at any rate.

  2. Thanks for this post! With our first son due in about 3 weeks all of these thoughts are running through my mind!


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