How did she get to be so incredible, you ask?
Of course, her life experiences and being a part of a faith-filled family have certainly helped mold her into the young woman she has become, but along with those, we have tried to fill her life with an ample library of character-building books (and teaching her to love reading helps, too). I've talked through some of these with her over the years and I'd like to share with you just some of the books she's read in the past few years and actually enjoyed as a teen girl.
These are books she might recommend to other teen girls if she was running her own blog...
|The Holy Bible|
I should note that S does not own this particular teen Bible, but another that we purchased for her in a local shop (and was not available online to provide a link). But I think any version of the Holy Bible should be at the top of any teen's reading list.
|Ask Hayley, Volumes 1-3 - by Hayley DiMarco|
|Do Hard Things and Start Here - by Alex & Brett Harris|
|A Guide for Teens: The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make - by Sean Covey|
|Becoming Me (and other books from the Diary of a Teenage Girl series) - by Melody Carlson|
|Never Been Kissed - by Melody Carlson|
|Every Teen Girl's Little Pink Book - by Cathy Bartel|
|YW (Youth Walk) magazine|
|No Body's Perfect - by Kimberly Kirberger|
|Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free - by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh|
|This is Now - by Patti M. Hummel|
Now, devotionals, are especially helpful for a start to their day (or an ending if they prefer doing them at nighttime like S does). If you are not familiar with devotionals, they tend to base a daily reading on a particular verse or passage. It gives some new perspective on maybe familiar verses. Sometimes, it inspires us to look more deeply at adjacent verses and therefore gives us a new place to start in our Bibles -- much like when a friend suggests we look up a particular part.
The writing in them is concise and to the point, for the most part, and often gives some life application tips. This is Now was one of S's most favorite teen devotionals (though she's done several of them). She finally had been through it so many times that she passed it onto her teen cousin, who also loves devotionals, and will hopefully pass it down to her sister after she's gone through it a time or two.
|I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Romance and Relationships - by Joshua Harris|
She has since donated this book to our homeschooling collection so that her brothers and sister may read it when they get to an age when it will make sense for them. It's a fairly well-known book, but well-known for a reason. There are some incredibly high standards set forth by this book and don't know that most people would be able to follow every bit of advice. However, it does set forth a new kind of model in lieu of "dating," and definitely helps young people reevaluate what they see and learn from television and in the world to better decide what model to strive for in their own lives.
|Before You Meet Prince Charming: A Guide to Radiant Purity - by Sarah Mally|
It turns out that she loved what is taught in this book (I think, even better than Joshua Harris' book) because it is not so focused on the dating vs. courting debate, but rather on developing her own godly character to prepare herself to become the ideal wife for the man God has chosen for her to marry. I remember her changing some major perspectives about things regarding her behavior and thoughts throughout the reading of this book and those changes are still with her today.
|Dateable: Are You? Are They? - by Justin Lookadoo and Hayley DiMarco|
When I ran across this book, co-written by Hayley DiMarco, I knew it was one S would like to read. Guys and relationships are heavy on the mind of every teen girl, so I like to help her have as much positive influence about these subjects as possible so she is constantly soaking her mind in what godly characteristics should be apparent as she prepares herself and/or opens her eyes and takes closer looks at the young men she is surrounded by. This was her most recent "for fun" read and she has really poured over the pages and taken the book with her at every opportunity when she might have a few moments to read something that isn't for school.
|Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti - by Chad Eastham|
|Guys Like Girls Who... - by Chad Eastham|
First, I'd gotten S the Waffles and Spaghetti book mostly because around age 15 and 16, she was just inundating me with questions about why boys were so weird and different in their general way about things. I was able to answer some things based on my own experiences with my father, my husband and our sons (plus a variety of other guys I've had in my life), but this book was just really well-written for teens. It's funny and entertaining and just really gets in there and answers a lot of questions that she wasn't even thinking to ask.
Then, when she liked that one so much, I was recommended the Guys like Girls book because it's the same author. She also enjoyed this book, which focused less on the differences between girls and guys and more on the essence of what guys are really looking for in a personal relationship. This is not to suggest that girls should mold themselves into someone to gain the attention of a guy, but rather, it's about developing those good character qualities in ourselves that make us generally more likable people for others of any gender.
|More Than a Carpenter - by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell|
This is actually a classic, originally written in 1977 by Josh McDowell, but updated and revised with/by his son, Sean, for a new generation of readers.
Originally, S was assigned to read this book as part of her high school curriculum through My Father's World), but then this year at SOM, they want the students to read and report on the book again. So she has had two assigned readings of this book. Now that she's gone through twice, she says it's a book I should even read and that it's not just appropriate for teens. I take that to mean that she thinks it's worth reading even if it's not an assignment.
When she was rereading the book, she quoted from it that Jesus was either a "Liar, a Lunatic or Lord." What was ironic is that we'd just heard a message at church the prior Sunday where that quote was attributed to C.S. Lewis and is referred to, online, as Lewis's Trilemma. So it was just kind of funny to hear the same quote twice from different sources in the same week.
Basically, I think this book isn't so much about the reader, but more about Jesus's character. He is our ultimate role model.
There are a lot of good books out there to help teens build good character and these are just a few that S has read and recommends. If you know of others, I'm sure she'd be ecstatic to receive your recommendations. But feel free to pass a link to this post onto your friends with teens (or about to be teens) and get the word out about these great books.