Culture & Theology (Sex & Relationships)

Image Our first Culture & Theology was a huge success. We tried to film it in case some couldn’t make it. I’m not sure if we have the actual footage or not because we’ve had some computer problems around the same time and we lost a lot of footage. In case you missed it, here is a recap of what we covered.

// Sex & Relationships
Parents are the most powerful influence in a child’s life. Parents have the ultimate responsibility for teaching character to their children, and they have the primary right and responsibility to be involved in their children’s education – especially about value-laden topics such as character and sexuality.

The current culture is NOT what it used to be…
We’ve come from coded songs like “Afternoon Delight” to today’s music like 50 Cent’s “Take you the Candy Shop, Let you lick the lollipop, don’t stop baby till you hit the spot.” Or LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It” says, “I got a passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it…”

Alfred Hitchcock is considered the master of mystery because he left everything up the imagination, he never showed the gore of horror. Today’s horror movies show everything. Leaving nothing to the imagination. Sex used to be that way, there used to be a mystery around sex… When Mystery is removed… You’re left with Maintenance & Mechanics. Maintenance is keeping sex safe (just teach them how to do it safely) and Mechanics is making it better (just teach them how to do it well). That’s why all the magazine articles are littered with titles like, “Top 10 ways to drive him crazy in bed…” “7 ways to…” etc.

// The Main Idea:
Virginity is not the goal & marriage is not the finish line. Many parents struggle talking with their kids because they’ve made virginity the goal. When virginity is the goal, two things are true 1) You as a parent are several years removed from virginity… 2) Based on your choices prior to marriage you may not have remained a virgin yourself. So you could feel hypocritical asking them to do something you weren’t willing or able to do.

If virginity is the goal… what about after a compromise?
If virginity is the goal… then anything except intercourse is still acceptable. Students today are resorting to ‘safe’ alternatives that does not affect their virginity in their minds (i.e. Oral Sex, Sexting, etc.).

Jesus addressed this deeper meaning in Matthew 5.

27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

PURITY is the goal and FOREVER is the finish line! With Purity the goal, then all of a sudden we as parents are on the same page as our teenage children.

// This should not just be a “Sex Talk.” It is an ongoing conversation (one talk doesn’t work with Potty Training, Driving, Cooking… why is it acceptable with sex?) Many parents are struggling to have conversations in this area.
However YOU are the authority whether you know it or not. Whether your kids admit it or not. It’s hard wired into the relationship. You can’t screw it up… You can screw up what you do with it… but it’s not going away.
PROBLEM: Many parents miss this opportunity not because they are afraid to talk to their kids out of fear, they just miss the best opportunity. Don’t wait until the issue is at hand to talk about it. You don’t have Peace talks in the middle of War Time.

// Myths To Avoid:

  • The Groping Boy myth-It’s not always the boy. (Girls will use Sex to gain a relationship while guys will use a relationship to gain sex).
  • Temptation strikes the bad kids…It’s going to happen to ALL kids. Good and Bad kids alike. Average exposure to sex on the internet is 11.
  • Our only option is Unfiltered exposure -YOU are the filter. You can’t protect your kids forever but you can protect them right now.
  • They’re going to do it anyway -No rule that states You have to be the parent who accepts it as normal. Not all kids are having sex. (Ex. They’re going to drink anyway so we’ll provide a safe place at home… ) (Ex. They’re going to have sex anyway so we’ll provide the condoms…) Would those parents provide them their bed too? Maybe some Kenny G? {I digress}
  • Sexual Immorality leaves a small scar. -It’s not like a clean entrance & exit wound… More like a Grenade

// Ideas & Suggestions:

  • Give your child Boundaries – Most parents don’t know how to put boundaries up for their kids. Truth is: they are begging for boundaries. A High School principal I spoke with shared that Females are desperately wanting boundaries and Males are struggling with what the world is presenting. Oral Sex is in schools. Girls are being manipulated into fulfilling the boys ‘needs.’ Selfish. Leads to all kinds of problems…Boundaries are not arguments waiting to happen. In fact they are to help avoid arguments. If your teens knows well in advance that there are limits to what they can and can’t do it will help alleviate the argument. (You say my kid won’t just sit there and accept that they have to be 16 years old to date… They will argue about it every day). My question: Do they argue with you every day about how they should be able to drive at the age of 14? No, for some reason, they seem to respect that boundary. Probably because it makes sense to them why 14 year olds shouldn’t drive… Help them see why seeking purity makes sense. Don’t just shout NO.
  • Focus on the heart, not the lingo – Language may be more mature (due to the Internet and conversations at school) but their experience with relationships is still very immature. They have some knowledge about sex (in lingo) but not relationships.
  • Model for them great marriages
  • Model acceptance and unconditional love – Unconditional Love… not based on any conditions. Use phrases like, “There’s nothing you can ever do that would make me love you any LESS…” and “There’s nothing you can ever do that would make me love you any MORE…” True Story: {A Girl was having sexual temptations but afraid to tell her parents because she thought she would let them down}. In her mind just having the temptations was as bad as following through with them.
  • Create an environment that is open to discussion – Be Calm… Don’t be shocked by their statements… you’ll send a message that it’s not acceptable to be honest and real.
  • Find ‘Another Adult’ to invest into your child’s life – So that when they naturally draw away there is someone else saying the same things. This is very difficult to do… its a form letting go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said something and it registered with a student. Then I mention it to the parent and they’re like, “I’ve been saying that for years…”
  • Ask a lot of GREAT questions. Questions you can ask are… “What are you hearing? What are your friends doing? What do you think about that?” etc. Kids are more willing to answer what’s going on around them rather than what they’re experiencing. However, you can use what’s going on around them to teach truth and get them to open up more.
  • Ask open ended questions.. Nothing that can be answered with Yes, or No.
  • Communication – When they’re ready to talk… drop everything.
  • Fathers: Show physical affection – “It’s the easiest thing to spot in girls, whether or not they have an active dad in their lives.” Distant dads tend to create girls who are drawn to guys who will show them affection while Domineering (overbearing) dads tend to create girls with addiction tendencies (it’s usually the one thing they can control).
  • Group Dynamics of Younger Students – Junior High students (5&6th also).. still very playful, still want to do everything in groups, very inclusive. However, socially a lot of times (especially if they’re in a dating relationship) this forces them to be exclusive and interact with one other person… They don’t know how yet. That’s why Junior High Guys will treat a Junior High Girl like they treat their guy friends. So if he likes her… he’ll punch her on the arm.

// Group Exercise

At the end we took parents through a group excerise that challenged them to ask open-ended questions. Here are the scenarios we discussed.

  1. You find your teen’s cell phone and it’s opened up to the last string of text messages. It is obvious that there is a plan in place for your teen and their ‘friend’ to meet up. Maybe it says something like, “Yeah my parents leave at 7pm so be here around 7:10pm… and don’t forget to bring You Know What.”
  2. You’ve noticed over the past several days, your teen has been posting suggestive images and comments to Facebook which included vocabulary you were not aware they knew.
  3. You overhear your teen talking to their friend and they make the statement, “Yeah they got caught but it’s O.K. because they weren’t having sex, they were just messing around.”

Hope to see you at our next Culture & Theology in May. Our Topic will be Internet Safety

Robert

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