DEAR SON, DEAR DAUGHTER:
God's Plan for Catholic Marriage and the Family
by Carol Phillips
(St Philomena Catechetics, Perth, 2006, 16pp, $4.50 each, plus $1.20 postage for 1-2 or $1.70 for 3-4 booklets. Available from Mrs C.V. Phillips, PO Box 202, Burswood 6100, WA, (08) 9458 6437, email: carol.v.phillips @ bigpond.com)
Two small booklets, produced by a Catholic mother in Perth, will prove a godsend for the many parents who find it awkward to introduce the "facts of life" to their growing, curious children, especially in today's "in your face" culture. These booklets make the task much easier, while keeping the sensitive subject within the bounds of a child's latency period and the Catholic Church's moral framework.
Titled Dear Son (for boys) and Dear Daughter (for girls), the booklets are aimed at children aged around 11 to 13 years. The purpose of each is to teach about marriage and procreation within a Catholic context, and to preserve the innocence of the child as much as possible. Each booklet is designed to be given to a son or daughter to read.
The booklets use simple, direct language suited to the age level and strike a good balance between religious and moral considerations on the one hand, and the physical, biological aspects on the other. Just enough is said to give an accurate idea of what is involved - along with a couple of simple sketches - without confronting the young reader with excessive details or potentially disturbing information.
In the booklets' short space, Mrs Phillips covers a surprising amount of ground, including problems children are likely to encounter in the school yard or on TV such as swearing or the crude treatment of sexuality and marriage. Areas like divorce and contraception are touched upon delicately, while the virtues of purity and modesty are emphasised.
The booklets should prompt questions from young readers which will enable parents to fill in the details according to a child's readiness or curiosity. But, importantly, they will help in breaking the ice, which is the most difficult part for many parents.
Mrs Phillips is to be commended for her booklets which fill a vital need. They deserve a wide circulation.