*Please Note: I was not asked to write this post or to review these books. I just really am liking these books and wanted to share them with whoever might be interested.
The way of the world has always been a little “off,” hasn’t it? As much as we are warned against the dangers of our confused culture of today, the truth is that the mainstream culture has really never been capable of producing on its own the kind of thoughtful and faithful human beings we are each created and long to be. If cultures throughout history have been closer to the living out truth than we are today, it is only because of a handful of thoughtful individuals who– rather than running and hiding from a corrupt or confused culture– lived their lives in such a way that would end up being transformative to the culture as a whole.
I certainly don’t want “the culture” to raise my kids. I don’t think anybody does, no matter their beliefs. But the fact is that my kids (and myself) are going to be influenced by the culture in which we live; there is just no way around that.
We might visit an airport restroom and be greeted by this sign, for example:
“Gender identity or expression…What does that mean? And what’s with that strange-looking drawing?”
It’s all about as new to me at 26 as it would be to my toddler, who–let’s be honest– wouldn’t even notice the sign for a few good years yet. But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? By the time he is old enough to actually notice stuff like this, it’ll likely go unnoticed. It might even be considered “normal.” Maybe words like “gender identity” will be learned along with words like, “boys” and “girls.” Who knows. That’s obviously the hope of a good many people who are influencing the culture today.
I say all this not to fear-monger. Like I said, the culture of tomorrow will be shaped by people like you and me and my son, who hopefully will have a heart for truth that is eventually able to see through falsehoods like the pretend genders we might draw on bathroom signs. While I wait, and pray for the culture to get there, I’m going to do my best to make sure my kids have every opportunity to see through the falsehoods being presented to them as truth today.
What Is The Theology of the Body?
When it comes to individuals who transformed the culture of their day by seeking to know and live out the truth, perhaps one of the greatest examples from the 20th century is Saint John Paul II. His commitment to living out the truth helped bring down communism and inspired thousands of young people to follow Christ. I think our culture today, with its frantic attempts to deconstruct and redefine fundamental truths of gender and sexuality, is thirsting for the profound wisdom to be found in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. That’s why I’m introducing it to my children now.
Most people hear “Theology of the Body” and think of it as synonymous with “the sex talk,” but that’s really only a part of it (and it’s not the part I am interested in reading about with my two-year-old!). In a more general sense, the Theology of the Body is what it says it is: It’s theology (the study of God) as it relates to our bodies. Meaning, our bodies reveal to us truths about God, and because we are created in His image, our bodies also help reveal to us who God created us to be.
Theology Of The Body (For Toddlers!)
A few years back, TOBET released a series of books aimed at little ones (they have a set for older kids, too) which lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning and unpacking John Paul II’s timeless teaching on the Theology of the Body. The three books are:
Everybody Has A Body: God Made Boys And Girls
Every Body Is Smart: God Helps Me Listen And Choose
Every Body Is A Gift: God Made Us To Love
“Everybody Has A Body: God Made Boys And Girls”
This book is about as fundamental as you can get, but increasingly important in a culture that says our bodies are meaningless. Our bodies are a part of who we are!
“Every Body Is Smart: God Helps Me Listen And Choose”
“I have a body, and I learn from my body,” this book states. We learn from our bodies, and we can choose to act (or not) based on what our bodies are telling us. What an important concept to understand!
(I particularly love the page in this book that says: “When my body tells me that I want to run around, but I am at mass, I can choose to wait to play like a big boy.” Still waiting for the reading comprehension to kick in on that one! )
“Every Body Is A Gift: God Made Us To Love”
“Every body is a gift! God made us to love. We do this with our bodies!”
This book touches on the concept of love as a free gift: A concept taught perhaps in high school theology, now being ingrained in my two-year-old’s subconscious. We are created to love! As beings of both body and spirit, our bodies play an essential role in how we give and receive love. My two-year-old may not understand all of the complexities of this reality yet, but we are already laying the foundation, and I think that is pretty fantastic.
If you’re interested in ordering these books (or in checking out the set for slightly older kids), visit the store at TOBET.org.