Instilling Morals In Our Sons (And Daughters Too) -- Part 4
- David and Laurie Callihan Authors
- 2002 10 Jan
My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will rejoiceindeed, I myself;
Yes, my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak right things. (Proverbs 23:15-16 NKJV)
We are spending a few weeks discussing the issue of preparing a son for developing a relationship with a girl, and Dads role in the process. This is perhaps one of the most important personal struggles that parents face as their children move toward adulthood. It doesnt matter if you have a girl or boy.
The sexual revolution of our generation has led to an entirely misguided notion in many homes across our land that our children should be able to go after their sexual expressions without any direction or guidance. We obviously disagree. On the contrary, along with many Christian families, we believe that Biblical principle and parental control must be used to guide and protect our children as they develop their emotional and sexual drives.
As our son Josiah has been trying to convince Dad that he is ready for a serious relationship with a girl (whom we call Christiana, not her real name) at the age of 16, we have been requiring that he actively engage with Christianas dad to find out what her fathers opinion is of this intrusion into her life.
What are the principles here? There are several that we think need mentioning.
The first one is that every family is different. Their convictions should be respected. Although there are Biblical guidelines, we dont think that either a dating or courting approach solves all the problems inherent in this dynamic situation. The discussions available on these two issues definitely help. However, we believe that there are too many factors in any particular family to demand an absolute position on one right way to approach this issue. Each familys theology, ethnic and family background, culture, religious tradition, Christian understanding, and much more will affect how the dynamic works itself out in practice.
We want to err on the side of liberty of conscience in this discussion. By that, we mean that it is really up to the parents to determine how their children will be encouraged to approach sexual matters. We can give advice, but ultimately it is up to the father and mother to make the rules for their household.
Another principle is that the dad must be involved. This is not a mom and son issue. Its not a mom and daughter issue either. In both cases, it is important that Dad take the lead in controlling his kids hormones. He must deal with it (gently yet) firmly. It is said that President Harry Truman had a bronze paperweight on his desk in the Oval Office that read, The Buck Stops Here! In this situation, that motto must be every Dads as well.
Only when there is no father figure in the home, specifically in a single-mom family where she must take charge, should a mother have to deal with this situation. Even then, if a step-dad or the divorced dad is around, he should be the one to assume responsibility for the childrens well-being. The mother should be there in a supportive position to show that there is unity of thought and practice. The ultimate identification is with the sanctity of the institution of marriage. This should be so, even when the personal situation includes divorced parents. Just because the parents blew it, doesnt mean that the children should identify the institution of marriage with failure.
There is little doubt that a simple reading of Proverbs will validate this. Over 34 times in the Proverbs there is a statement of command by the father to his child (the son) to obey, heed, or listen to Dad. Paul does acknowledge that Timothy did well to listen to his mother and grandmother, but it can be easily argued that this was because of a lack of a father in that home. And it could be argued that Paul himself took Timothy under his arm and discipled this young man in the absence of a Christian father. A man cannot forego this responsibility and believe he is acting with moral and spiritual responsibility toward his child.
Next, the young man is the one who must have self-control in this situation. And, Dads, you need to put the weight of this responsibility squarely upon your son! He is the one who must control his emotions and consequently his actions in this case. In order to do this, Dad, you must spend time with your son. You have to communicate! There is no way around this. And David can attest that this is not an easy thing to do when you are balancing work and family. But you have to be involved with your sons (and daughters, too). If you dont, you will lose before you even begin.
There is even more to say on these principles for handling sexual decisions with our children, to be continued in the next segment. For more information on home schooling teens, consider our book, The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parents Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career and our web site, www.davidandlaurie.com.
The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Home School Students for College or Career To order a copy or see what else David and Laurie are up to, go to their web site at davidandlaurie.com. You can chat with David and Laurie live every Saturday night in HomeSchool Chat!