Culture Shock

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The following is a testimony from Anne Soh, an advocate of GOV and a dear friend. Anne had the privilege of spending time in the UK with her family and was able to use our Culture Shock curriculum with a group of youth there.

I worked with a few of the youth group leaders in a local church in the UK to conduct the Culture Shock curriculum in the youth group over half a year. We took our time to delve into each topic, spending 3 to 4 weeks on each one. Then we allowed ourselves to take a break in between each topic by watching a related movie together or just have a fun day out. I had seen the GOV team carry out Culture Shock before in Singapore, but only as an intensive programme over 2-3 days. Over this extended period of 6 months, I saw even greater impact than I had witnessed before, including:

1. How easy it was to involve local leaders – The youth group leaders could pick up and implement the curriculum just by reading and following the instructions in the Leader’s Guide. We also managed to get some of the youth involved by helping to lead a few of the activities.

2. The openness and depth of the sharing, and the youth’s growth over time – Because we had the time to talk through/after every activity, the youth got to discuss the questions in the book and more. So they could share their own stories, the struggles they faced, and brainstorm strategies to overcome temptations. One of them even gained the courage (and obviously a boost to her self-image) to share publicly about how she had overcome an eating disorder.

3. Relationships were built and strengthened – As we spent time together sharing, laughing, praying and crying, we got to know and trust each other more. Along the way, the youth were able to approach the leaders with personal problems to ask for advice and prayer.

4. Partnership with parents and the church was also made possible – info sheets (adapted from the Leader’s Guide) were given to the parents after each topic so they could follow up at home. We also picked some of the youth to share what they had learnt and/or present their skits during the main service so the congregation was made aware and could actively pray for the youth.

5. God’s presence and divine intervention continually amazed us – During the dart board activity, I could see the dramatic change in the looks on their faces when I revealed that it was Jesus’ face they had pierced. The Holy Spirit spoke to many of them through this and other activities according to their individual and specific needs. For instance, when we told the story of the guy who got 3 wishes on the night before leaving for college (in the last topic), 2 of the youth were also going off to university in the coming week. God spoke to them in a way that wouldn’t have been possible at any other time.

Top GOV Books for Summer Reading

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Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading. Here at GOV, we read a lot. And the good news is, there is a lot of excellent content out there! On the other hand, there is also a lot of not-so-excellent content. Which is why we go to great lengths to make sure all the books we recommend are good ones. Below you’ll find our top summer reading picks to help get you and your children off to a good start come school season.

Parents

Raising Body-Confident Daughters – Moms of daughters 6-14 will find Dannah Gresh’s new book incredibly helpful as they learn practical steps to help their daughters navigate our “thin is in” culture.

Secure Daughters, Confident Sons – In light of all the hype over homosexual marriage in the press lately, this book is a great help to parents seeking to affirm their children in their God-given sexuality.

Be the Dad She Needs You to Be – Dr. Kevin Lehman’s book for dads of daughters is full of humor, practical advice, and the gleanings of years of experience. Not only does it give dad a shot of encouragement, all the stories Dr. Lehman shares were so entertaining, I could hardly put it down!

Raising Boys by Design – Using science behind boys’ brain and social development as well as spiritual wisdom, this book is the collaboration of two respected experts on the topic of raising healthy boys.

Entering Elementary/Primary

My Princesses Learn to Be Brave – Using a lesson from the book of Esther, this story follows two girls who are being bullied by a boy on the playground. It’s a great story to teach your daughter how to be brave and respond to a bully in a positive way.

Warrior Prince for God – Luke isn’t as good at sports as other kids are, and sometimes they tease him because of it. But when Luke learns he can be a warrior in God’s Kingdom, he finds the true meaning behind strength and courage.

The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made – With text for younger kids (ages 3-8) and older kids (8-10), this beautifully illustrated book explains how God designed a husband and wife to have a baby. Using age-appropriate information, the book communicates the beauty and majesty of God’s creation, including a special section on adoption.

Entering Middle School/Upper Primary

It’s Great to Be a Girl – Learning about your changing body and growing up are tough subjects to talk about. But this book makes it fun and encouraging.

Passport 2 Purity – This weekend retreat for moms and daughters or fathers and sons is an excellent way to explain God’s design for sex, relationships, puberty, and purity presented in a way that is appropriate for pre-teens. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

Heroes of the Bible Devotional – A 90-day devotional highlighting men and women from the Bible who lived heroic lives. Boys and girls alike are inspired to live heroically in their daily lives.

Entering High School/Secondary

Free to Be Me – Girls are under so much pressure to fit in and do all the right things. But who defines what is right? Instead of looking to peers or the media to find yourself, why not look to the one who created you?

A Young Man’s Guide to Discovering His BibleJim George has a gift for inspiring young people to not just open their Bibles, but understand scripture. The wisdom Jim has gleaned from years of Bible study and teaching have been boiled down to a devotional for teen boys that is simple and encouraging.

Going off to University/Entering the Work Force

What Are You Waiting For? – Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, sex is not simply a physical act. By God’s good design, it is so much more than that. Written for young women living in a “casual sex is no big deal” culture, this book unpacks the deeper, Biblical meaning behind sex and brings in biological research to help explain the very good reasons behind waiting for marriage.

Killing Lions – Navigating the transition from boyhood to manhood can be rough. All the choices needing to be made about finances, romance, and career can seem like lions on the prowl. This book is adapted from phone calls between a loving father and a son working through some major life decisions.

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.

Keeping the “Little” in our Girls!

It’s a beautiful morning. There you sit, relaxing over a cup of Henry’s Blend coffee and reading the morning paper. After finishing an article on families, you reflect for a moment on your own blessings. Adventurous Prince #1, Daring Prince #2, and Precious Princess #3. Ahh yes, life is full and joyous. Activity nearby causes your thoughts to be disrupted and you hear “princess” getting her breakfast.  It’s then you look up, astonished at what you see. “Princess” is practically a woman.

I think this moment hits just about every parent, with each of our children when they seem to grow up overnight. There are many things we can do, but I’ll leave the epistles to another and just give you two ideas!

1.     Give her things in stages. For example, every new thing we give our girls can be a rite of passage for them. So if you’ve let them do everything from painting their nails, talking for hours on the phone or given them a cell phone by the time they’re 8 years old, what will they get to do at 12? Will you have run out of things? Book recommendation: Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh

2.     Be her source of information. Let her feel free to come to you with any questions she has about growing older, her body changes, friends, etc. Her questions are so important to her, and we never want our daughters to be afraid or feel ashamed to come to us. It’s also important that we give out information before she asks! She may feel embarrassed to ask you certain questions, and might get information from a friend instead. By you starting the conversation, you are letting her know that this information is important, and you’re happy to discuss anything with her. Book recommendation: Beautifully Made by Julie Hiramine, and The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made by Larry Christenson

Just remember Mom, you are doing a great job! Don’t ever let past mistakes, either from your youth or in recent years, keep you feeling bad about yourself as a parent! God says: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV