Ethan is becoming a man. There are just a few signs here and there, but it's impossible to ignore. My baby is growing up.
I have been on the hunt for good quality books on Christian Living for young men for a couple of years now. I try to share them here when I find a gem, but I honestly haven't found very many gems. However, Flight Plan is definitely a gem worth sharing.
It can be difficult finding helpful books for this age range because the readers are at such an undefined stage. They are no longer boys, yet they are entertained by boyish games. They are not yet men, but their bodies betray them. They long for manhood while at the same time, the activities of the teens around them don't always appeal nor do they make much sense. Another complication is that most books geared toward helping young men navigate their teen years focus heavily on sexual temptations. For those dealing with such temptations, this is a very good thing. For those that still think girls have cooties, this can be boring and even disturbing.
Flight Plan, by Lee Burns & Braxton Brady seems to have found a good balance for a wide audience of young men. It begins by describing this journey into manhood as a mission. A challenging adventure. After the introduction alone, my 13 year old's shoulders pulled back and his chin raised. Here was an author who saw his potential, recognized it would not be an easy road, and expected him to succeed. Sure, mom holds high expectations for him, too, but she also kisses his nose and tells him he's a cutie-patootie. This book was pungent with manliness.
Flight plan helps to cast a vision and helps boys strategize the path to manhood. It helps them see how the choices they make through the teen years affect the man they will become. Each chapter compares this mission to manhood with flying an airplane, opening with exciting true stories of pilots and daring adventures. The stories are brief and quickly turn into discussions of biblical principles and practical application of those principles. Ethan loved that the book is peppered throughout with quotes from famous people, books, and movies and that these quotes fit in so well with what was being taught. I love the questions at the end of each chapter which are designed to get the reader really thinking and applying what he reads to his own heart.
Sex is discussed, but it is one of many topics covered and it is covered very well. It is also covered VERY thoroughly in chapter 8. Parents will want to preview this chapter first and be ready for discussion. It leaves nothing out and not all 13 year olds will be ready for all of chapter 8. Even if they "can handle it", I question the wisdom in pushing thoughts of sex on them when they are not in need of counsel in that area. Immersion in the topic can lead to preoccupation of thoughts they wouldn't otherwise have entertained. When it IS time for this chapter, I think this book handles the topic very well.
Though the book is written directly to young men, it makes a great resource for parents as well. And if you are the parent of a puberty-stricken boy, you know we need all the help we can get.