Book Notes: "Made This Way" by Leila Miller and Trent Horn

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Two generations ago, parents were expected to have “the talk” to teach children how babies were made. Sex education began showing up in schools in the late 1960s and again, the idea was simply to be sure that everyone understood the basics of procreation. Beyond that, within society it was understood that sex should wait for marriage since babies could result. And everyone knew that they belonged in a family with a mother and a father.

But also in the 1960s, the world was converging in such a way that would change that message: widespread contraception, prayer taken out of school, no-fault divorce, women leaving home to work, and a “sex, drugs and rock and roll” mentality. It has led to moral confusion where right is wrong and wrong is right. Most parents can feel overwhelmed and unprepared to immunize their children against the aggressive and vicious moral brainwashing that has resulted.

Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face Today’s Tough Moral Issues by Leila Miller and Trent Horn, can help. Both authors are parents — Miller is the mother of eight, and Horn is a staff apologist at Catholic Answers and has two children. They have imparted Catholic teaching in a logical, clear way as to help even adults understand the issues in the light of God’s truth.

Every topic is addressed with an overall explanation and broken down with teachings for both younger children and older ones. Here are two topics with brief examples of how beautifully they have explained complicated issues.

Sex Outside of Marriage

“One thing that hasn’t changed, is the heart’s desire for perfect happiness, something casual sex can never provide,” Miller and Horn wrote. “Marriage showcases the beauty of male/female complementarity, because when a married man and woman become ‘one flesh’ through the marital act, their bodies are ordered toward a good that exists beyond themselves as individuals.” They point out that through the bodily union, a child is brought into existence who becomes a permanent sign of their marital love. Even from a non-religious perspective, the serious and enduring consequences of sex show that it is only appropriate as an expression of lifelong love and fidelity. “Because sex outside of the marriage bond cannot express the permanent, total gift of self that God intended.”

Since children result from the sexual union, Horn and Miller explain that sex is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and children, and that marriage is the foundation of every human society. Thus, sex outside of marriage is neither good for individuals, for children or for society.

Same-Sex Marriage

Once marriage is understand as being between a man and a woman which gives way to the creation of children, it makes sense why same-sex unions can never equal true marriage. Miller and Horn explain that we first must understand the purpose of sex in order to understand what marriage is for. It is not only for having children — who are protected by marriage — since some couples are unable to.

“Instead, marriage is for the sexual union of man and woman, which is ordered toward the creation of children and the unification of the spouses,” they wrote. “… when we recognize that only a man and woman can form the ‘one flesh’ bodily union of marriage, any relationship that lacks this element, no matter how dedicated or caring it may be, is not a marriage.”

The authors rise above the politically correct confines and insist that we teach our children neither to lie or go along with lies in order to inform their peers, who in many cases have only been taught lies.

Truth Over Lies

All of the topics covered by Miller and Horn, have been pushed in the culture by lies disguised as compassion, such as using illicit means to have children as with surrogacy, IVF, artificial insemination, and any other method that takes usurps the marital act for the purpose on conceiving a baby.

Given that the truth is often hard to find these days, many people have no idea they are even doing anything wrong. Miller shared a story of having explained what was wrong with IVF while she was teaching an introductory faith formation class to adults. After class, a woman shared that she had tried to convince her sister not to use IVF and that she herself had used artificial insemination instead. When Miller informed the woman that artificial insemination was also wrong, the conversation abruptly ended, and the woman never returned to class. It seemed an unfortunate fallout for speaking the truth. But a year or two later, Miller learned through an article in her diocesan paper, that the after-class conversation had sparked the woman and her sister to learn more. They eventually embraced Catholic teaching on reproduction and now share it with others.

The lies may seem to give us what we want, but in the end, they have not made for a better world. As Miller and Horn point out with each topic, the truth is what is best for us and we have a responsibility to know it and to speak it. Through this book, Miller and Horn help us to help our children to understand human nature and give glory to God by living in union with his created order.

Courtesy of Leila Miller. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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Copyright 2019 Patti Maguire Armstrong

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About Author

Patti Maguire Armstrong, is the mother of 10, and has a B.A. in social work and M.A. in public administration. Her newest book is Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven. Others include Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and the Amazing Grace Series. Follow her at @PattiArmstrong and read her blog at PattiMaguireArmstrong.com.

1 Comment

  1. I just finished this book yesterday, and it’s a great resource for parents! Clear, thoughtful explanations and tips on big issues even our little kids are faced with like transgender identity, pornography, and more. Thanks for sharing a review!

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