I have had the privilege and honor of receiving some amazing books to review, and this one is no exception. As a matter of fact, I think this one is my absolute favorite, probably because it speaks so much to my heart. Kate Conner’s “Enough” gripped my attention from the very beginning and I was in awe of her insight and her seasoned wisdom about teenage girls. If you or anyone you know has a daughter entering into this season of life (pre-teens as well), then you need to stop what you’re doing and go now to buy this book. You won’t regret it. Promise.
I have been working with teens since the ripe old age of 19. That was almost 30 years ago. (Oh my…) As a child-care worker, a program director, a therapist, a program manager, a teacher, and now a ministry leader, I thought perhaps Kate would share things I already knew.
I was wrong.
Kate beautifully spins the chapters off of a blog post she wrote in 2012, titled “Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls” that hit the world hard and fast, viral speed… because it touched an apparently unending nerve. But ya know what? Her book says it with much more depth than I ever expected, and she shares countless corners where teen girls go- with incredible truth and compassion. She gets it. She gets them. And in this day and age, having someone who speaks about real issues and foundational truths is refreshing. She paints an accurate picture with a no holds barred bold and intentional purpose…
To help us discover the complexities and potential of every growing girl.
And that caught my attention. Fast.
I found myself nodding and highlighting phrases and sentences constantly, as I would then stop and ponder another invaluable point she shared. Oh, how they packed a powerful punch. This girl knows what she’s talking about. I learned so much.
Kate touches on so much information, it’s impossible to choose what I should highlight in this review. She delves into modesty, self-image, social media, social circles, and gossip. She runs the gamut on emotions and relationships and brings new ideas to why our girls behave the way they do.
I love how she dives into the old adage of “Follow your heart”… and teaches a new lesson in that misleading directive. I love how she transfers this statement with a more purposeful ‘follow your passion’. What a difference one word can have on opening up and entire life of promise.
“When you tell a teenage girl to follow her heart, she will pursue what she wants now. If you tell her to follow her passion, she’ll pursue what she wants most.”
And Kate spends quality time on the mighty emotions that erupt in teenage girls as they enter this somewhat unraveling season of their lives. I love that Kate identifies emotion as a significant and worthy part of who we are as human beings. She presents to us the abilities that our emotional intelligence provides, as we are in constant need of this radar to navigate through communicating with others. Drama isn’t about telling your teen to stop feeling. All feelings are valid. Perhaps the situation and the reasoning behind them may need some dissecting and assessing. But emotions are a natural part of our existence.
“A teenage girl’s understanding of emotion benefits her enormously, even at a young age. When we teach our teenage girls to suppress, deny, or ignore their emotions, we take away an invaluable tool that God gave them to help navigate life. Emotion makes people smarter, not dumber.”
Always validate a girl’s feelings. What usually needs attention is getting them under control. Isn’t this a skill we all need to learn, really?
“The inability to get emotions under control is what gives women everywhere a bad name.”
What does your teenage girl want to be known for? Kate explains how showcasing their bodies only camouflages the valuable characteristics that should be on display instead.
“What a shame it would be if she made it so easy for people to ignore the rest of her. Modesty allows people to see the rest of her- to see the best of her.”
Tell that to your teen. Perhaps asking her what she wants people to know about her- is she funny? Smart? Talented? Skilled in certain areas of her life? Perhaps she can find a billboard to match that, instead of sexy.
Kate’s entire chapter on “Six Circles” fascinated me. She describes with detail, the six circles of influence in a girl’s life that a teenage girl cares deeply about fitting in. We all want to be liked, and the variance shifts from each circle of people. What do teens most rely on? I love how Kate embarks on each one with such clarity and meaning. It makes perfect sense starting with the first circle being God to the last being strangers on the Internet.
“Caring what other people think is not born of weakness or insecurity. It is born of the need for relationship- and it is a need.”
“Eighty percent of the decisions a girl makes in a day are made with the aim to be well-liked.”
“When a young woman sets out to determine her worth-when she considers how much she is loved and how deeply- God’s Word if final.”
“Bottom line? God is the only one operating with all of the information.”
Who trumps God?
God knows us best, yes? He is the only One who knows every secret thought and private part, hidden from the rest. He And He alone loves us most.
Lastly, Kate argues with a brilliant arm- that “Dumb is never cute”. Ah, how women have invented manipulation through their womanly ways, yes? She is mad about that… as we all should be. She walks us through women’s history of triumphant minds and their grueling fight for respect and then whittles us back down to the mindless fringe of flirtation. Sigh. Take this for example:
“The world is vast and big and bright for teenage girls- and too many women have worked too hard to see women esteemed for girls to act like a bunch of flirtatious twits to get what they want.”
“Sisters, we either show the world that we have brains, passions and skills- or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways.”
Oh friends, this girl ROCKS the wisdom to arm us with the ability to not only understand our teen girls, but to have productive relationships with them that equip our growing young women for their future.
Kate’s message in this book is more than what it implies. It takes you to a deeper level of understanding the world of a teenage girl, and gives you a frank and truthful perspective that both honors an adolescent’s vulnerable heart and prepares us for holding it in our hands.
I wish I had Kate as a ministry leader when I was a teenager. I think I might actually have believed her when she said:
“You are beautiful.
You are valuable.
You are enough.”
Here she is!!
Now go buy this book! You won’t regret it. Promise.