In our attempt to help families navigate our hyper-sexualized culture, Jenifer and I are constantly on the lookout for resources to recommend. As we have searched, we have found many books for teen girls to read about sexual purity and living a God-honoring life. But we could never find anything targeted at guys.
So I wrote one.
Over the past six months I have been focused on creating a book that addresses some of the things that we know that teenage guys are struggling with: porn, girls, purity, and meaning. I wanted to write something that would help guys to find a life of purpose that is rooted in Christ.
I also wanted to write something that young men would read. This was challenging. (Most teenage guys don't like to read.) So we prayed and talked about what might work and came up with a combination of short chapters, lots of art, recurring themes, and links to video clips to supplement the reading. Jenifer even had the idea to use QR codes so that guys could easily pull up applicable clips on their smart phones. She's a genius.
I'm thrilled to announce that it's finally done! We give you "The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness: How to Guard Your Heart, Get the Girl and Save the World."
We designed it to be a book that a teen guy can discuss with someone more mature, either his father or another key man in his life. It will also be something that can be used by small groups of guys in a church setting.
One warning: we deal openly with real issues like porn and masturbation, so don't give it to your 12 year old if you don't think he's ready to talk about that yet. (But know this: he probably is.)
Just for fun, I thought I would share the "Introduction" from the front of the book, just so you can get a feel for the purpose and vibe of what we have created. Remember, it's written for guys between about the ages of 13-23, so be sure to read it from their perspective.
We would appreciate it if you would share this with others! We're counting on grassroots support to get the word out about this book that every teen guy should read.
From the INTRODUCTION of "The Young Man's Guide to Awesomeness"
If you’re reading these words, I’m going to assume a few things:
First off, I’m going to assume that you’re a guy. You’re probably in your teens. You’re the target audience for this book, so that makes sense. If you are a woman (or a man over 25), you need to move along. There’s nothing to see here.
Secondly, I’m going to assume that you want to have a life that means something. After all, that’s what this book is about. If you weren’t at least a little bit curious, you wouldn’t be here.
Third, I realize that a parent or another adult probably gave you this book. That’s okay. They know stuff that you don’t know and they think this book will help you out. It shows they care about you. You should give them a hug or something.
Finally, I’m going to assume that you probably don’t like to read. How can I assume that? Because you’re a guy and most guys don't like to read. (If you do, then way to go! You're already awesome!) That’s why this book is relatively short. I also included links to some short videos that you can watch as you read. I did that for you and your YouTube-watching, video-game playing, chronically-short attention-spanned self. You’re welcome.
So, if you fit the profile, let’s cut to the chase and deal with the question that I’m sure you’re asking in your head right now: “Is this a book about sex?”
The answer is yes. And no.
Yes, we’re going to talk about the fact that you are a sexual being. And how the sex drive that God gave you is a very good thing. But we’re also going to talk honestly about how your sex drive has the power to derail your life. In big ways. It happens all the time to guys just like you and I want to help you avoid that.
But no, this book isn’t just about sex. You’ll discover what it looks like to be a young man whose life means something. You’ll realize how critically important your thought life is. You’ll see how walking with God and using your strength for His purposes can make your life amazing. And if you have noticed that girls are pretty cool, you’ll learn about how being the right kind of guy will attract the right kind of girl. So when it comes down to it, maybe this book is all about sex after all.
Know that this is NOT a “sex is bad” book. Actually, it’s a “sex is awesome” book.
God created sex and He wants you to experience it in the right time and in the right way. (Box: Hint: that means within the safe boundaries of a heterosexual marriage relationship.) Unfortunately, because of the hyper-sexualized culture in which you live, young men today have a very high chance of messing up their sexuality. The stuff in this book is designed to help you not to do that.
All the research out there says that guys like you are struggling. The porn epidemic (which we will get to early on) is messing with the hearts and minds of an entire generation. Do you want to know what else the research tells us? It tells us that young men desperately want help to deal with it. If that’s you, then keep reading.
In a broader sense, this book is designed to help you to build a life that matters; to be awesome.
What To Look For As You Read
I have tried hard to make this thing really easy for you to read. In every chapter of this “guide to awesomeness,” you’re going to find six key elements. I wanted to tell you about them up front so you can be on the lookout for them.
1. The Big Idea
This is a principle that is foundational for your life. It is important stuff so be sure to pay close attention.
2. Listen to Your Body
Different parts of your body will serve as reminders of the truths you discover.
3. How Most Guys Operate
You’ll see the typical thinking of the average teenage guy today. This is where most guys out there are getting it wrong. (Don’t forget that most guys are morons.)
4. How You Can Be Different
In contrast to all the morons out there, you’ll see how God offers a better way to think, act and live. It won’t be easy, but you can do it. And your life will be truly extraordinary.
5. From the Life of David
This will be something you can learn from an awesome (but flawed) man in the Bible. Sometimes we will look at someone close to him.
6. Take Action
These are key things you should start doing right now. Some guys might read this entire book and never do anything about it. That would be a waste. So act on what you read.
What you’re going to read in this book is a bit unconventional. Not a lot of people are talking about sexual purity and chivalry and living a life of purpose while you’re still in your teens. But everything you’ll read here is true. If you take time to watch the videos we collected for this book, you’ll hear some stories of real life guys who have experienced it first-hand.
One Final Suggestion:
There’s something you can do that will help make this book even more meaningful: read it with someone who is older than you and talk about it as you go. You might discover that this stuff is perfect to process with a parent or another key adult in your life. He has seen and done things that you don’t know about yet. So his insight might be very helpful to you. I have even included some discussion questions at the end of every chapter that might give you some things to talk about.
So let’s get moving. Time is short and your life is happening already. Read on…