Book of the Month

Back to April 2014 Ed Reporter

Book of the Month

Sex, Lies, and Hook Ups: A Parent’s Guide for Fighting Back, Sally B. Raymond, et al., Heritage Community Services, 2012, $34.95.
Sex, Lies, and Hook Ups is written by Heritage Keepers, an organization that has taught more than 250,000 young people about healthy family formation by focusing on abstaining from sex outside of marriage and other risky behaviors. This proven-effective program empowers children and families by focusing on positive character traits and making children aware of their value as individuals.

Most sex education programs have given up on young people and assume that even young teens will have sex; what ends up being taught is a guide to supposedly “safe sex” that often outright encourages risky behaviors.

Not so for Heritage Keepers. The organization and this book present arguments for marriage: why young people should strive to become married and reasons to avoid sex before matrimony. It coaches parents to establish “protective standards” while giving teens “the skills to avoid risk in order to help them reach their potential” by making the right choices.

The book includes full anatomy lessons, but refrains from becoming a “how to” manual. It can be used by families who opt out of school-based sex education and by homeschool families. Groups can contact Heritage Community Services in Charleston, South Carolina to have the program taught at a school, church, or other location.

Heritage Keepers says parents are the strongest influence on their children, despite how hard some insist that children rely mostly on peer pressure. Providing parental guidance is not just a conversation about sex, but a matter of continuous “one-on-one conversations,” which are the backbone of strong relationships. It means teaching values, expectations, and family belief systems. The authors provide talking points to start frank conversations and keep them going.

Parents who read this book will better understand the biological effects caused by lust and infatuation, the ensuing effects of dopamine and serotonin on the brain, and how brain chemistry influences decision-making. Teens will learn to identify actual love, which is a “deep and lasting interest in the other person’s happiness and well-being” that involves “commitment.” The book guides parents to give children opportunities to practice, and thereby reinforce, making sound choices.

Wiring young minds to be strong and steadfast, headed for lifelong committed relationships, goes a long way toward helping teens avoid emotional pain, regret, unintended pregnancy, STDs, and other negatives outcomes of sex outside of marriage.