The seemingly endless stream of sex scandals has many Americans reeling. If you’re a parent or guardian, you should be paying attention. We’re clearly in the middle of an epidemic. Many men don’t know the first thing about how to treat women with dignity, love and respect. In my Friday op-Ed for the Christian Post, I addressed a few things we can all learn on the heels of the Matt Lauer debacle. Today is the first of three blogs I’m publishing for parents and guardians of boys — to help them raise men who any woman would look up to.
Yes, we get it, sex is everywhere, even when we’re not looking for it. Our sex-crazed culture is bombarding our teens and pre-teens to the point of conditioning them to do what they should never do: treat people as objects. In fact, it goes further. It teaches us to believe the lie that it’s acceptable to entice and tempt others to walk up to the line and somehow resist crossing over.
Sadly, women are encouraged from childhood to dress and act in ways that get men’s minds racing to the point of taking action. Here, Proverbs 6:27 is a sobering reminder for everyone: “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (NIV). The answer is a resounding NO.
If we play with fire, it’s only a matter of time before we’re burned. This is why, as a parent or guardian, you need to be proactive and teach your child from a very young age to not play with it. If your young boy learns to follow the trend of culture (or follows a faulty parental example), they’ll perpetuate the pattern and learn to see women as trophies and toys, either subtly or overtly.
If your daughter is starved for attention, she’ll learn how to get it one way or another, and will waste precious time trying to master the art of presenting herself as an object. This can set her up to be mistreated and disrespected by men — subtly or overtly — when a much higher, much more rewarding quality of life is possible.
SYMPTOM OF A DEEPER PROBLEM
I think the recent sex scandals reflect a deeper problem — we are not teaching our children about human dignity. If a child does not learn how to interact in healthy ways with the opposite sex and how to think rightly about people, they will grow up to do the very same things, with deeper consequences.
Children need to learn about the importance of emotional, not just physical closeness. Parents and guardians are the primary teachers to their children, one way or another. The ability to converse and learn how to appreciate the mind, personality and giftedness of another human being, are all things that must be cultivated by a parent or guardian during the youngest years of a child’s life.
The time to help your children and teens start thinking and acting like loving, respectful adults is from day one. Wait a day and you’ve already missed precious time.
PARENTING RULE #1: IGNORE YOUR CHILDREN AND THEY’LL GO AWAY
If you ignore your children, they’ll go away. By this, I don’t mean physically. We all know that one day our children will grow up, leave home, and start to fend for themselves as we once did. What I mean is that if you don’t invest in your child(ren) emotionally, and if you don’t look for teachable moments throughout the informal classroom of life (the one we’re in 24/7), your children will get the answers they already seek from someone else. You may not like their sources, so pay attention. If you don’t pay attention to your child(ren), someone else will.
If your child has unsupervised access to a smartphone, tablet, computer, television or gaming console, he or she is at risk of being sexualized and learning to treat other people as objects. By “unsupervised” I mean any access without your direct oversight in real time, with you literally watching their every move.
The average teen now spends more time on an electronic device than they do sleeping. If that’s your child or teen, you’re in trouble, and they are already on track for repeating the insany cycle of objectification and sexualization that has become the norm in America.
PARENTING RULE #2: TEACH YOUR CHILD TO USE HIS OR HER BRAIN
In a day and age where thinking has become a lost art, the greatest thing you can do for your child is help him or her discover the power of using his or her own mind. The constant bombardment of media is designed to tell us what to think. As a result, most of us don’t realize how little we think for ourselves.
Have you outsourced teaching your child how to make good, solid moral choices, by letting them learn life lessons from the media? The greatest thing you can do for your child is help them actually think deeply, understand the consequences of their actions, and make right choices with their mouths and bodies as a result. In my next blog, I’ll explore what you can do to help your child THINK FOR HIM OR HER SELF.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT ARE YOUR ACTIONS TEACHING YOUR CHILD ABOUT THE DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE? WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILD SO YOU SET HIM OR HER UP FOR SUCCESS, AVOIDING SOME OF THE MISTAKES YOU MADE IN LIFE?
ABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy, chime in.
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