I remember, during a reunion with college friends, a conversation when they were telling me how appalled they were to see two very young teens just fresh out of puberty making-out in the movie theater. According to my friends, those two were just all over each other like you wouldn’t believe, and they were maybe 12 or 13 years old.
They were telling me that teens today are way out of control. Well, teens needed to put on the brakes during my day as well, not just today. Hey, I became a dad at a very young age, so I should know. And how easy for my friends to forget that they were teens once, and maybe they had their own struggles in this area, and not just in movie theatres. Heck, some of them still need someone to put the brakes on them today, but that’s another story.
But, yeah, I agree with my friends in that we feel technology and media has made teens today less disciplined in keeping their hands, lips, and other parts to themselves than in previous generations.
However, all is not lost.
One girl my church’s high school youth ministry has promised her dad that the first kiss she will ever have will be with her husband on the altar. Her “you may now kiss the bride” will be kiss #1.
Another teen girl in the same church, who lives apart from her parents, told them “I will not give my heart to any man until you give me your approval.”
Another girl, also living apart from her parents, not only is choosing to wait, but has gone on and mentored her dorm-mates who have fallen to pieces because of relationships they shouldn’t have had.
These are just three of many such breath-of-fresh-air statements; both made a few years ago but today are kept as strong as if they were said yesterday. By the way, these are not girls who have faces only their mothers could love. All three girls are actually very pretty, with looks and personalities that would attract any guy.
Oh, and don’t think it’s only the girls who are making a stand like they are. My favorite testimony of all time in this topic is from a teen guy. I wish I could tell it here, but as of the time this is published, I failed to ask his permission to share his (quite personal) story…and it’s such a beautiful story of conviction, wisdom, patience, and, I believe, genuine affection (How much did he love her? He loved her so much that he chose not to pursue…man, it’s sooo nice).
Anyway, so what is the difference between the out of control, newly post-pubescent pair liplocking at the movie theatre and the examples I mentioned? I saw two common denominators.
One, all of the teens I mentioned had fathers who were willing to mentor them in walking the right path, especially in this area. I know so, because I know their fathers quite well, and I know what kind of men they are. These men know that their first disciples are their families, and they take to raising their children very seriously. I look up to all of them very much and I hope I can parent my two daughters and youngest boy as well as they did their own children.
Second, and this is just as important in my opinion, is that all these teens were part of a youth ministry. These activities are true gems in not only molding a teen’s character, but in getting together like minded young people, with the result being some fantastic camaraderie and mutual growth that cannot be achieved when alone (a lone ranger is a dead ranger).
It also gives them a big brother/sister role model that they could look up to and emulate. My wife and I had the pleasure of playing that role for all of the teens mentioned above except for the 2nd, who goes to the same church but in a different city.
I remember, when my students were still doing Alex Lacson’s book (see my previous blog on a BUY PINOY experiment), my final project was for them to submit their very own “12 Little Things Every Filipino TEEN Can Do For Our Country.” A great number of them included joining a youth ministry as part of their 12 things. I couldn’t agree more, especially if said ministry has the guts to tackle this topic head on.
And there are so many great churches with great youth ministries to choose from.
The church that I go to, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) has T.E.E.N.S. for high school youth and T.O.U.C.H. College for the college youth. To tackle sex and relationships, they just had their “Love Dare” event to great success and they will launch “True Love Waits” very soon.
(2012 note: CCF's youth ministry is now called JZONE ELEVATE)
Some of the most ministry-oriented and active Christian students in the school I teach in belong to GCAF’s Inside Out. It is a fantastic youth group where, if my students are any indication, young people are molded really, really well. They also do “True Love Waits”.
So readers, if you really care about your child’s purity (in both body and mind), I feel that you need to be a real mentor to your child, especially in sensitive areas like love and sex; and you need to get them in an environment where they can grow socially and spiritually, so that it partners with you in your parenting journey. Pick any of the youth groups above for that. In CDO, these three are among the best.
Well, this was a long one, but I hope you got a lot out of it. Now, I’m gonna ask those Lifebox guys if they have any spare kwek-kwek left. I love me some kwek-kwek!