"I got up in the middle of the nite and he was just sitting there on the couch, watching a scrambled TV channel" is what this single mother told me of her teenage son. This was the first indication that she had that her son may have had sexual compulsion issues.
Now, he was sitting in juvenile detention and she was trying to find a counselor to get help for her son. He had been picked up for entering his neighbors apartment without permission.
The neighbor had set a trap for him. She had been noticing that some of her underwear was missing. At first, the neighbor thought that her underwear disappeared in the dryer. However, some times, when she would come home from work, her underwear drawer was in disarray, different from what it was when she left for work in the morning. The police were notified and a hidden camera was in place. Upon reviewing the recording with the police, she identified this young man as the suspect. When the police picked him up, the young man seemed relieved that he was caught. He broke down and told his story.
His upbringing did not reflect anything out of the ordinary, just a father who was absent. After his parents divorced, his mother worked two jobs and his father came around for special occasions but otherwise did not have much contact with him. He wanted manly affection and wasn't getting it from his father. He wanted a mother's affection and she gave him love as she could but was so busy with work and raising him and his older sister.
The young man stated that he was viewing porn with some of his friends and there was one movie about a man who wore women's panties because he liked the way it felt against his genitals. This young man was looking to soothe himself because of the lack of affection he was getting from his family, so he started to get his sisters underwear and found it very sexually stimulating. Next, he was getting up late at nite to watch the Playboy channel on TV. Mom didn't pay for that channel but it still came in scrambled and sometimes he could make out pictures and could hear the sound. While sitting there watching this channel he would masturbate into his sister's panties.
Eventually, this got to be less stimulating so he started fantasizing about a sexual liaison with the neighbor. He found that there was a broken window that the landlord had not fixed that he could easily get into. So, on occasion, he would get into his neighbors apartment and take some underwear. Later, that nite, in front of the TV he would fantasize and masturbate.
You can imagine where this young man's sexual urges may have taken him had he not been stopped by the police. Nevertheless, he entered treatment for his sexual behavior which led to him committing crimes and it appears that a future life of crime was averted. This young man heavily invested himself in treatment.
There were a few things missing from this young man's life that could have helped him not get involved in criminal activity:
1. If his father had taken more of interest in him and spent time with him he may not have craved the affection he so desired
2. If his mother did not have to work two jobs to pay the bills she could have spent more time with him and also had a better handle on his activity
3. This young man was very introverted and did not participate in the social life of his school. If he could have joined sports, the arts, band, journalism, etc that could have helped develop his social skills and also given him interests that weren't so purient.
4. This young man was not involved in a church youth group. The parents of other teens could have served as pseudo-surrogate parents, or the youth pastor could have spent time with him.
These could have helped him develop in a healthy manner.
Ultimately, this young man's behavior is his responsibility. It is easy to blame parents, school, church or society and he came to realize that he was responsible for his own feelings, attitudes and actions. Nevertheless, if these four things had not been missing from his life, he would have had more opportunity to challenge some of his assumptions without having to be forced into treatment.
So, men, we have an important place in our society and our churches. Take the time to note those young men who are struggling and pray for opportunities to influence them.
BE A MAN.
Here is the deal. I am no parenting expert, and I do not have enough experience to teach a parenting class. This is simply in response to the questions I keep hearing about my philosophy. I seem to get a lot of comments about my son and his behavior that are very positive. This is not meant to shame anyone, but to give you all encouragement and perhaps some new ideas. Ultimately, God gave us our children to lead and to help to equip them to be who He created them to be. So, here are a few things I have observed concerning the behavior of my toddler….using my son as an example.
Over stimulation breeds tantrums
Through a process of elimination, we noticed that the more television our son watches, the worse his behavior. For a while, we would turn the TV on every time he asked to watch a movie and for different shows we knew he liked. When I got home from work, my wife would inform me that he was not listening, throwing things, and yelling a lot. When we strictly limited TV…his behavior got much better. We have also seen this in other instances…when he is over stimulated with so many activities, sounds, and visual input this type of result occurs.
Diet can be a contributing factor to behavior
For my son, we were able to find a link between irritability and gluten. Also, as every parent knows, when a child ingests too much sugar things can get interesting. Too much sugar for a young child can make them unable to concentrate and make them angry.
Quality time improves behavior
This one is hard for me to talk about without getting a little teary-eyed. The fact is…when I put more emphasis on my work, meetings, and time away from home than my time with my kids…behavior worsens. Quality and quantity are important. Enough said here…I am feeling too convicted.
Physical touch can neutralize
Hugs. Wrestling. Etc. Sometimes my son just wants me to embrace him. Sometimes sweaty boy play time cures a lot of issues.
Talk to your child…not in their vicinity.
I read a statistic the other day that said the average parent only spends 9 minutes or seconds (can’t remember which one) a day talking to their child directly with eye contact. There needs to be more of this in my opinion.
Say no….and mean it.
Sometimes I say no just because I like seeing my son whimper…JUST KIDDING. But I do think it is important to say NO, and be consistent with the consequences and follow up. It is a respect issue.
From time to time…make a fool of yourself
I love playing with my toddler…like a toddler would play. With silly thoughts…imagination and made up settings. It is therapeutic for me, and during play time, my son gets to be leader and invite me into his world.
I love being a Daddy.This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2013/08/24/my-observations-as-a-parent/
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
You would think that a church would be a place where a man could be kind. However, in this "modern" age, even at church one must be vigilant. One group of people that have reason to be vigilant are single mothers. Sexual predators tend to target these women. Hence, I decided to ask a single mother about how she responds to men who talks to her and her children in church. I was a bit surprised (positively) with her response.
"I like when all people pay attention to me and my children at church as this is a 'safe' place. I assume most people have the best intentions, therefore, I'm not hugely suspicious and take them at face value. I want my children to be in the company of strong Christian men of all ages and stages. I appreciate the ones that come alone probably more so as they are not coming to church 'for a woman', be it a girlfriend or a mother, but on their own accord. I want my boys to have a personal relationship with God, not vicariously through others, including a woman (me included!). I don't frequent singles groups at church so I haven't experienced many instances of 'creepiness'. Maybe I'm naïve, but any man praising God in His house is welcome to speak to me and my children.
I guess it depends on what they say too...Don't compliment anything on my person or any physical attribute. Do, however, compliment me on how impressed you are by my children, and say it where they can hear and can benefit from it as well."
A few conclusions I draw from her comments:
- Maybe some of my paranoia that my intentions would be misunderstood are unfounded
- This mother appreciates it when men take the time to recognize her children and comment positively on their behavior, noting that she wants her children to overhear such complements
- Men who praise God and come to church because they want to are the kinds of men that she wants to influence her children
BE A MAN.
When I was a youth pastor, parents called me all the time to talk about their teens. In some cases, these teens had special needs so we would develop a plan of action to address their particular circumstance. I remember one phone call in particular that caused me to really reflect on my role as a pastor. This call was a more general one that didn’t necessarily pertain to this mother’s son, but to all the teens as a whole.
“Pastor Landon, I have a concern that I would like to talk to you about.” Even as a fairly new pastor, I knew that this phrase usually led to a discussion that would immediately require a nap. “I have noticed that many of the teens have MySpace accounts (you can tell this conversation happened quite a while ago), and I don’t think that is a good idea.” I agreed in principle with this mother about how some of the teens have misused it, and how dangerous it could be. “I want you to talk to our teens about how they should stop using MySpace.”
This mother’s heart was in the right place. She wanted her son and her younger daughter to be protected. She confessed to me at the end of our talk that she has not talked to her kids about it because she didn’t think they would listen to her. As I thought about this conversation later, however, something did not sit right with me. Requesting this of a pastor begins to encroach on the purpose and mission of the pastoral office. The fact is this type of conversation is one that needs to be addressed in the home.
Ok…I will just say it out loud and allow the hate mail to pour in…The Church should not be raising your children. God gave that privilege to parents. The Church should be a resource. Pastors are called to help guide, teach, and equip the people in their congregations. Don’t get me wrong….we must be able to address cultural toxins that are hurting people, but this needs to be emphasized in the home for greatest impact. Discipleship starts around the dining room table. For those who do not live in a God-fearing home, then the Church is called to serve, love, and be an example to that household.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. You can find the original post here: http://other-words.net/2013/06/03/pastor-as-surrogate-parent/
When my daughter was two years old she ran away from home. It wasn’t exactly a pre-meditated fleeing. Truth is, someone (most likely me) left the back fence gate unlatched. So while my wife stepped inside to answer the phone, our little (evil) Yorkshire terrier made a break for it, taking our sweet little toddler as an accomplice on her cross-neighborhood joy-run.
Who knew a two year old with a saggy diaper could run so fast? In less than 60 seconds she was gone. Vanished. Completely out of sight.
A panicked call had me speeding home from the office while a band of concerned neighbors started the hunt. Thankfully, just as I was frantically screeching into our development, relief came. They’d found her (and unfortunately the dog, too) nearly three streets away and just a few yards short of a retention pond, completely oblivious to the chaos her devious curiosity had created.Here’s what I know…
I would have wrestled a bear to find my daughter that day (because, as you know, there is a burgeoning kodiak population here in suburban Indianapolis). Nothing else mattered. Meetings. Deadlines. Obligations. Life paused until she was back home safe where she belonged. We dropped everything to go and find her.
And that’s exactly the way God feels about you and me (but I fear we’re internally wired to think the opposite).
We see it from the very first chapters of the Bible:
“The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too. At once they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Late in the afternoon, when the breeze began to blow, the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. So they hid behind some trees.
The Lord God called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?”
When Adam & Eve sinned, they were the ones that covered up. They were the ones that ran and hid. God came looking for them.
And He’s been pursuing us ever since.
You see, we instinctively think we have to clean things up. That we’re the ones who right the wrongs. That we’re the ones who must do the work to fill the gap between our sinful selves and a holy God. That we’re the ones who have to pay the price. That we’re the ones sentenced to go looking for a God who has hidden Himself from our ugly screw-ups.
But let me remind you, Holiness came looking for sinfulness. Jesus chased you all the way to a cross. Not to destroy you, but to redeem you. And then to empower you, transform you, and call you to something greater.
He’s looking for you. Right where you’re at. No matter where you’re at. It’s time to stop hiding and let yourself to be found.
This post was written by Erik Cooper. For the original post, go to: http://beyondtherisk.com/2013/04/10/i-would-wrestle-a-bear/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
It is strangely ironic that the freedoms and affluence we enjoy in our society are the very things that stand to ruin our children if not addressed early and effectively.
The consumer-credit industry is doing all it can to get your kids to fall for the buy-now, pay-later lifestyle. If you do nothing to intervene, statistics indicate that your child is headed for a life that will be severely impacted not by credit—credit is not the problem here—but by the debt it can create.
When the following three characteristics occur at the same time in the heart and mind of a child, they create a kind of “perfect storm” that has all the likelihood of creating a disastrous situation:
For our debt-proofing purposes, “entitlement” is that demanding attitude that says, “I deserve it now even if I haven’t earned it or cannot pay for it.” Some call it the gimmes, others the I-wants. No matter what you call it, this attitude is running rampant, and not only among kids. Entitlement affects kids and adults alike.
- attitudes of entitlement
- financial ignorance
- glamour of easy spending
Entitlement is subtle. It creeps into our lives when we compare our lifestyles and possessions to those of the people we respect and want to be like. It shows up in new parents who throw all caution to the wind when it comes to nursery furnishings and “mandatory” equipment. It shows up in two-income families who, because they work so hard, feel they deserve to have nice things. It shows up in adults who feel compelled to conform to society’s relentless ratcheting up of standards.
Entitlement is the standard message of marketing and advertising. Look carefully at everything that shows up in your mailbox this week. The message to keep up is relentless. The push for conformity creates attitudes of dissatisfaction and entitlement.
At every turn it seems something or someone is fanning the flames of entitlement in our lives—and our children’s lives too.
Attitudes of entitlement, both yours and your children’s, are an enemy that, if not dealt with, will surely sabotage your efforts to develop financial confidence in your kids.
A frugal lifestyle, where you live below your means, is the best environment in which to raise kids. When children observe their parents consuming carefully, making wise spending decisions, choosing not to buy the biggest and the best, and not living on credit, they begin to assimilate those values.
By telling your children, “We don’t choose to spend our money on that,” you send a positive message that you have money but make intelligent choices about how to spend it.
Clearly, attitudes of entitlement are a serious problem. But they are not terminal. Diligent parents who are willing to be consistent examples and limit setters will find success in tearing down attitudes that have the potential to do great harm.
Excerpted from Raising Financially Confident Kids by Mary Hunt (Revell, 2012).
To go to this post on Mary Hunt's site, click here.
BE A MAN.
In testimony that shocked Florida legislators, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood explained that “her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion and her abortion doctor.” But what else should we expect from an organization that has made countless millions of dollars off the killing of unborn babies?
As reported March 29, 2012 by the Weekly Standard, these legislators were “considering a bill to require abortionists to provide medical care to an infant who survives an abortion,” similar to the Born Alive Protection Act that Barack Obama voted against four times before he was president.
Rep. Jim Boyd was so taken aback by the testimony of Alisa LaPolt Snow, the Planned Parenthood lobbyist, that he said to her, “So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief. If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”
She replied, “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”
What? The baby survives an abortion in a Planned Parenthood clinic and is fighting for its life, and Planned Parenthood isn’t willing to say, “Yes, we want to see the baby’s life saved”? Of course not. If it was up to the mother and doctor to terminate the baby’s life inside the womb, why not continue the barbaric act outside the womb?
Rep. Jose Oliva, also incredulous, asked Snow, “You stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you’re saying?”
Snow replied, “That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider,” to which Oliva rightly countered, “I think that at that point the patient would be the child struggling on the table, wouldn’t you agree?”
Snow was obviously caught off guard and could only reply, “That’s a very good question. I really don’t know how to answer that. I would be glad to have some more conversations with you about this.”
In other words, even I can’t pretend to defend my own ridiculous position here.This post was written by Michael Brown. For the original post, go to: http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2013/04/01/planned-parenthood-confirms-its-babykiller-status-n1554041BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I was giving the little girls a bath and wanted to capture an incredibly sweet moment that included two soapy, naked posteriors, but I hesitated. My smartphone was sitting next to me but I was reluctant to take the picture. Even though I knew it would put a smile on my mom’s face I struggled with the thought of texting it. During those few seconds of internal dialogue the moment passed, the girls resumed splashing about, and I felt tremendously cheated.
Why had I hesitated? Because I don’t want CPS banging on my door accusing me of taking pornographic pictures of my children. Because the world, hyper-sexualed and without boundaries, now judges the motivations of parents who take innocent photos of their own children.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. What we have allowed in the name of freedom has now become our unraveling. As a society we have compromised our principles for social acceptance and political correctness and I fear we have lost the spirit of liberty which prompted us to freedom so many years ago. We are steeped in a quagmire, shackled and enslaved to an ideology that freedom includes anything that is morally corrupt-even if it means we become morally bankrupt.
At some point we, as a society, decided that pornography was acceptable and went so far as to label it part of the feminist movement. Women made the choice to take their clothes off for magazines under the guise of empowerment. The game became redefining pornography to promote sexuality, power and control in an effort to demonstrate that women were on equal footing with men. Instead of balking at the blatant objectification of young girls and women, a generation brazenly celebrated by mass producing pornographic material resulting in an unstoppable billion dollar industry. And eventually, like sin does, it permeates and creeps into the culture. It spreads like cancer, quietly at first until one day you open a magazine to find perfume advertised by a barely clothed, underaged model and provocative, sexually explicit commercials on the television. Pornographic images have been so quickly ingrained in the fabric of our society that we only flinch when it is egregious or an insult to our normally tolerant sensibilities. The line has been crossed so frequently that what was once immodest is now mainstream-all in the name of progress. And the ugliest side of porn, besides the world wide degradation of women, is the rampant, surging subculture of child pornography. While not new, child pornography, with the help of technology, flourished right alongside Hustler, Penthouse and Playboy.
I believe we are so desensitized to our overtly sexual world that we have forgotten why there were social boundaries in the first place. For the life of me I can’t understand how a woman ever came to believe that becoming the object of a man’s lustful and fleshly desires somehow made her life more equal or fair. That an entire generation decided that taking on the supposed promiscuous behavior of the opposite sex thinking it would create an environment of liberation is lunacy.
Pornography is steeped in sin. It is ugly, it is degrading and it destroys families. It doesn’t just affect the reader, watcher or partaker. It perpetuates an emotional disconnect. It feeds escapism and burdens the soul with reckless addiction. Pornography, whether splashed on a billboard advertisement or on the movie screen, has helped drown our nation in darkness.
So what have we done about it-this plague infecting our children, marriages and our families? We’ve turned around and pointed the finger at innocence. We demonize and scream in disgust at breastfeeding in public and naked pictures of babies because everything has become tarnished by sex. Instead of denouncing pornography we hold everything to it’s standard. We have actually begun using pornography as a litmus test for what is truly innocent or pure. You take a picture of your one year old in her birthday suit and a conclusion can be drawn that the picture is too sexual in nature. Why? Because we’ve lost our perspective on the beautiful creation of the human body and it’s function. We can not see past our sexualized filter even though families have been needlessly ripped apart for such things.
So, yeah. Pornography pisses me off. It’s warped our perspective and it stopped me from capturing a moment that was sweet and meant to be cherished. We may have freedom of speech in this country but we also have the freedom to refuse to patronize any industry, product or organization that promotes, sells or distributes porn. We have a responsibility to our children to unequivocally reject pornography.
Decency needs to be taught, it needs to be valued and it needs to trump perversion. The next generation depends on it…This post is written by April Cao. You can find this post on her blog here: http://theconservativeparent.com/why-pornography-pisses-me-off/
Just like children, teenagers have motivations. Research indicates that there are essentially 11 goals of teenagers. To understand these goals makes you a proactive parent. If you figure out a teen's goal you will know how to handle it:
1. Superiority - these teens must be the best at everything
2. Conformity - Living up completely to the standards of established society
3. Popularity - these teens accumulate as many friends and social contacts as possible.
4. Defiance - these teens want to be in control or at least not controlled by adults
5. Sexual promiscuity - these teens are highly active and defiant about their sexual behavior
6. Inadequacy - these teens enjoy the victim role and seek consolation for their shortcomings
7. Charm - these teens use smooth talk and pleasing manners
8. Physical beauty or strength - these teenagers rely completely on their good looks, physical strength or abilities
9. Sexism - these teens become overly stereotypical masculine or feminine
10. Intellectuality - these teens value intelligence and study, read or discuss ideas most of the time
11. Hyperreligiosity - these teens immerse themselves in religious ideas and activities. All they talk about are religious ideas.
The overarching goal for teenagers is to make the adult in charge look stupid. Therefore, it is important to not be sucked into this game. Power struggles rarely work in interactions with teenagers. Teenagers will challenge and if you respond in an authoritarian manner, it won't work.
A key sentence to remember in dealing with teenagers is this:
RULES WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP LEADS TO REBELLION
What teenagers need more than anything from their parents is an honest, loving relationship. To just mete out punishment for infractions won't go far in building a relationship with them.
Let me ask you a few questions:1. Do you spend time alone with your teenager doing something that s/he wants to do?
2. Do you show an interest in things that interest him/her?
3. Are the consequences of behavior logical? For example, when caught speeding, does s/he lose car privileges or do you ban him/her from the computer? The consequences of behavior need to be logical. In other words, the consequences need to relate to the infraction.
4. Most importantly, are you a consistent Christian? Teens can spot phoniness a mile away. If you say one thing and do another, they will be turned off. If you have "hidden" behaviors, they know it. If they don't know it and then find out later, your integrity is down the tubes.
5. Do you live a life of openness and humility? Do they see you apologize to people when you are clearly wrong?
6. Do they see you respect everyone no matter who they are?
7. Do they see you love their mother?
These are just some simple steps to get you on your right foot with your teenager. Think about these seven questions.
BE A MAN.
To properly parent, it is important to know what motivates children. If you can figure out a child's goal, then you can figure out how to best help them. If you can identify the goals of a child you can plan your corrective action much more intelligently
Research indicates that there are four basic goals for kids:
1. Attention - Children want attention be it negative or positive. Negative attention is better than no attention.
2. Power - Children can openly rebel or be quietly stubborn
3. Revenge - lying, stealing, or hurting others
4. Inadequacy - This passive child relays the message, "Don't expect anything from me because I don't have anything to give."
CORRECTIVE ACTION - Four steps can help you to be proactive in your parenting. These four steps can be remembered easily with the acronym CARE.
C - Catch yourself - don't yell, talk too much or preach. Make action, not
words, the principal means of conveying intentions.
A - Assess the child's goals - What goals are being served by the behavior?
R - Respond with consequences and encouragement - Consequences
need to be logical and natural.
E - Execute with consistency, friendliness, and respect - Remember
that rules without relationship leads to rebellion.
As Christian fathers, we are to discipline and instruct our children in a godly manner, to not exasperate them or provoke them to anger.
BE A MAN.