In our CTFP Metro section I read this headline “Most County High Schoolers Have Had Sex, Survey Shows.” What is new? As I read the story it contained the same old lines that have been used over and over. They focused on some new program or “Parents talk to your kids.” Is this the best society can offer?
We need to understand where the problem started picking up speed. About 1960 and the feminist movement, society and women were told their only need for men was to produce sperm - other than that men really weren’t needed. Remember “I am woman, hear me roar.” It wasn’t fathers who told their daughters to burn their bras and do their thing. What did most men, husbands and fathers do? They backed off, left it alone and started living a type of single life.
No program or group has ever had the impact of a loving, involved father in the home. Daughters need the love, encouragement and presence of a loving and committed father. A friend of mine was asked why he was so involved in his daughters' lives. His answer was simple, “I am showing them the kind of man they should marry.”
Where to start has to be at the beginning. Boys and girls need the daily example of a godly man who shows them how a man loves and cherishes his wife and family and that no matter what happens he is the protector, encourager and defender of the family. It will take time for the stigma of years of being told and shown that he is not needed to change. This problem started in years past and our children have suffered greatly because of it. Maybe men should have taken control of the situation, but most just accepted it.
The examples the kids have had has come from Hollywood, TV and other forms of entertainment. It has reached a point that today anything goes and most people defend it. There are no boundaries. We can see it in our schools and even in our court system where it is easy to not have to face penalties most of the time.
One of the first places to start to change men is the church. I am 76 years old and have seen the church make no effort to grow men in the Word and daily living. It seems they are afraid we will get mad and quit coming. I believe deep in a man’s heart he desires to be a godly man as our Creator put it in our genes or DNA. We can’t make it on our own and many of us have failed our families, especially our children. I know I did.
When most examine the involvement in sex and gangs they find most are from homes without dads. But remember they are not needed. In the CTFP story no real mention of men or dads. Same old same old.
N.D. Kennedy Sr.
* * *
First, I want to say I agree wholeheartedly with your belief that “where to start has to be at the beginning” with our children. I also agree with the absolute necessity of having the “love, encouragement and presence of a loving and committed” person around. However, I do not agree only a two-parent household, or one with a father present, is absolutely necessary.
I grew up in a two-parent household, was taken to church every Sunday, and had a father present to teach me the important things in life (he’s 72 now). However, he also taught me that the “old-school” belief of commitment to his family (married 50 years next June) can make one miserable and sad. When I was old enough to realize the pain this man endured, and knowing he would never go back on his vows no matter how much he or his family suffered, I learned there must always be exceptions.
Despite the wonderful support and influence of my father, I still had sex as a teenager, and ended up a mother at 17. I raised this child on my own for nine years before marrying someone I believed could be a good father to her (he adopted her formally a year later). However, eight years and two children later, this man did a complete 180 change seeming bent on running our family into financial ruin. I thought long and hard, and did what I believed to be best for my children in the long run: I filed for divorce.
Six years later, my eldest has watched most of her friends from high school have children of their own (many as teens), but who says she knows how expensive it is to support herself and does not want to attempt supporting a child yet. She also takes the responsibility to set examples for her sisters, and reaches them on a level even I cannot match (“Don’t ever let a guy come between you and Mom. She is more important.”).
When in middle school, I learned of the vast number of religions throughout the world, and while I believe most underlying teachings of how to behave within society are extremely important, the rituals and unquestioning faith are more a support system for those who require those types of things. I teach my children the important values, to explore the available options, and to decide what works best for them. Attending church does not ensure outcome.
I teach them that love is the most important thing in life, and no matter what the world may throw at them, they will always have my love. I keep my expectations of them high, and encourage exploration to foster learning and growth. I support my children’s teachers and schools, and stress the importance of education both in and out of school.
Now, I have been encouraged by family and friends to “find a man to take care of me and the kids”; however, these last six years, I have been so busy managing a household, and raising my children, I have not had the time to even look for someone to date. I also believe it is probably better this way. I show my children what is important: they are.
It does indeed require the presence of someone committed to produce young adults beneficial to society. However, it can occur just as successfully with a single or adopted parent, or even a grandparent. To me, it merely takes an adult who is willing to dedicate themselves to actually raising successful children to the best of their ability, someone who sets a good example. I do not believe marriage, or the sometimes detrimental commitment to it, can solve the problems of today. Only the belief that our children and what they learn growing up carries the utmost importance, and the dedication to them both, will encourage any change.
Teenage sex happens. What is most important is ensuring teenagers understand the consequences of their decisions and are capable of taking responsibility for their actions. With few examples of this behavior in today’s society, all those raising children have the duty of providing that model.
* * *
The problem with teenage sex is that kids don't know who they are. They don't know that they were made to be sons and daughters of God in heaven. Kids don't know that Father God knew them before they were ever thought of in their mother's womb. They don't know that all of their days were written down in His book, before any of their days occurred (Psalm 139:16).
They don't know that Father God looked at them before they ever existed and loved them with an intense, heartbreaking love. His heart beat for them but He knew that their sin would separate them from Him forever, so He looked at the one Child He did have--Jesus Christ--and said, "You go buy them back!" It cost Jesus His life but He did buy them back.
The work of Christ on the cross changed everything. By accepting the free gift of access to Father God that Jesus bought for us with His own blood, every kid on the planet can suddenly have an identity. They can know that they are greatly beloved and dearly prized. They can know that their life can amount to something grand--something earthshaking--something significant. They can receive healing for the wounded hearts that propel them to search for love in the back seats of cars. They can know the true love of Daddy God, who is the Father that no father on earth can ever be, no matter how hard he may or may not have tried.
They can know that they were made for a purpose, with unique gifts and talents, to fill a place on earth that no other person could ever fill.
When kids learn who they are, they stop trying to become something they're not. They stop searching for love, and instead revel in the endless love of Daddy God. They don't need sex or drugs or gangs to fill the hole in their hearts. They just live in the constant companionship of Father God, in His comfort, in His arms, in His security.
It's all about love, you see. "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life" (John 3:16, The Message).