I LOVE THIS.
As a teacher, one thing that breaks my heart is seeing every single teenage girl I’ve ever worked with struggle deeply with insecurity. For some, it’s their physical attributes that make them insecure. For others, it’s a lack of popularity, or crap going on at home, or too little money to buy all the trendiest stuff, or peers that are mean for no reason, or any number of other things.
For me, it was physical. It was my weight. As a preteen, teen, college student, and beyond… there was always a thought that if I could just lose a certain number of pounds, people would like me better. Boys would ask me out, girls would invite me to hang out with them, and the entire world would fall at my feet.
Of course, it was never really all that bad – I just couldn’t see through to the other side when everything would be ok. I couldn’t see my adult self, still overweight but happy and well-loved, while I was in the midst of feeling like a repulsive, far from lovable teenager. My focus was on what was wrong with me and how I didn’t fit in, not on what was good about me and what I had to offer the world.
Something like this book would have helped me A LOT. It’s real. It’s honest. It covers a whole multitude of issues – how to dress to cover problem areas, how to deal with boys, how to manage feelings of depression and jealousy – and it’s all handled in a positive, uplifting, Bible-based way. And while the fact that it’s Bible based may seem to some like a reason to slap a “for Christian girls only” sticker on this, I wholeheartedly disagree.
In fact, I have a student in mind that struggles deeply with feeling like she doesn’t fit in. She feels like nobody likes her, she’s not cool or popular, boys will never like her, and she’s just miserable. Of course, there are a number of students (current and former) who could identify with that description and might possibly wonder if I’m talking about them. This particular girl is not a Christian, but I think she would absolutely eat up the advice and encouragement found in this book. And, at the same time, I immediately e-mailed a friend after finishing my preview copy and told her about it for her church small group of high school girls. I think this is versatile and completely relevant for all girls, from those who don’t already identify themselves as Christian to those who are secure in their faith and involved in church.
The format of this teen edition is perfect, too. It’s full of pictures of real (not perfect) teenagers wearing fashionable (not all designer) clothes and honest testimonies from girls who’ve been there. There are quizzes for each topic, pages full of encouraging verses, and so much more. It’s not an overwhelming, boring nonfiction kind of book that would make girls reject it – it’s more like a pretty, glossy magazine full of greatness.
The description I saw somewhere for this book said it’s for girls ages 12-16. I disagree. I’d like to see this in the hands of 4th and 5th grade girls who look up to older girls and can’t wait to be teenagers. I’d also like to see this in the hands of high school juniors and seniors, and packed into the bags of college students heading out on their own for the first time. There’s a great basis here for being comfortable with who you are, who you were created to be, and how to maintain your focus on your purpose and your Creator. I think that’s so important for girls ranging from upper elementary to college.
So buy a copy for yourself if you’re a young woman. If you’re a parent, buy one for your daughters and nieces and every young woman you know. Please, as a teacher in the trenches who sees this stuff in action, invest in this and use it as a springboard for discussion in your house. Encourage the young women you love and fill them with confidence!