This is kind of a controversial article and I truly don’t mean to stir up strife. When I read that the average age that a boy sees pornography is age 11, I’m troubled. When I read that Junior High boys have naked pictures of their girlfriends on their phone, I’m sickened. When I read how rampant pornography is, I can’t stand it. Somewhere around 60% of teens have had sex before leaving high school. This has been a personal exploration to learn how I can raise my boys to not fall into the trap of pornography and lust.
Men and boys are bombarded with sensual images everywhere they turn. Images, images, images- how can they even escape them? Magazines at checkout lanes, the newspaper advertisements that are delivered to our home, all the other mail we receive, the billboards and signs along the roads. Then we have all the advertisements and products in plain view while we’re innocently walking through the grocery store. Then there are also the ladies who are shopping there, our cashier, our waitress, even ladies at our own church wearing short skirts and low cut tops.
How do I raise my sons to be virtuous men who keep their thoughts and their hearts pure?
There’s even a problem in children’s media. You’d think our little ones would only see harlot-like women in adult tv shows and adult movies. Not so! Even children’s cartoons are filled with fairies and princesses that are dressed like harlots. In the name of “Disney,” immodest dress is perfectly acceptable. Little Tinker Bell and Ariel the Mermaid (among others) have gained a place even in Christian homes. Their little revealing bikini tops are sold as cute and adorable outfits for little girls. These fictional characters almost become idols because girls fall in love with them and want to look and act like them (that’s what I call an idol). The girls’ toys and dolls are saying “Look how skinny and beautiful I am. Look how cute I am with my thin belly and shapely figure.”
Recently, my children were invited to a birthday party for a little girl (yes, boys are often invited to girls parties when they’re under age 4). We showed up to learn that “Tinker Bell” was the theme for the 3-year-old’s party. My boys were given goodie bags mid-way through. I was flabbergasted, because the goodie bag had Tinker Bell and her friends in bikini tops standing in provocative poses with their bare shapely thighs, right on the outside of the bag. Inside were little trinkets and plastic items, all with Tinker Bell characters who glamorously showed off their bare midrifs and bikini-top chests. Even if it’s Tinker Bell, or another cartoon, or any other harlot-dressed woman, I don’t want my boys to see girls dressed like that! The worst part was when we saw a portion of the Tinker Bell movie playing on their TV. A very sexually provocative Tinker Bell flew down from the top of the screen with the camera angle behind her bare thighs. Her little skirt was so short that it was nearly unable to hide her female parts, revealing her perfectly toned and shapely thighs. The scene showed two boy characters in the distance who were watching her and their glasses burst out, because they were so taken by what they saw. Yes, it’s all animation, but good grief, that scene was much too sexually charged for even an adult man! Is this really acceptable for children?
So what can we Mama’s do to raise our boys to be godly men?
We can teach our boys to have respect for ladies. “Hold the door for your Mama and sister.” “Let ladies go first.“ “Proper etiquette is to pull ladies’ chairs out for them at the table, then help her push the chair into place to prepare to eat.” “Carry all the groceries in, lift heavy things for your Mama and sister.” Do you see the benefits in teaching young men to respect women so that once they’re a little older, they’ll have that respect instilled in them? Boys that are taught to respect ladies won’t be the same boys thinking about how they can take advantage of females.
Another thing we can do is to teach our boys to look away. Whenever there is nakedness (bare thighs, too much chest showing, etc), I tell my boys to look away. I tell them it’s not good for their heart if their eyes see that. I teach them to turn away from nakedness. I turn away also when I’m able. I use the word “defrauding” from the Bible and describe how it harms our hearts to see that. I explain to them that we need to keep our hearts pure and guard against seeing things that aren’t good for us. I know my boys are still too young to understand, but it’s habit forming. Nakedness is not a good thing, that was the first thing Adam & Eve figured out after they sinned. Thus the reason they went and covered up right away.
I love warm weather, but I also cringe because with warmer weather, comes short shorts, exposed cleavage, and bathing suits that reveal all. Ahhh, it makes me want to shield my family by staying inside for these 7 months of the year!!
I’m not judgmental against ladies who dress in ways that I wouldn’t necessarily approve of. I used to dress that way myself (and still need to be attentive to the issue) because I just didn’t realize how extremely visual men are. My goal was to look cute and look good. I didn’t really even think about the Christian men who might cross my path that day that might take a second look while his wife was completely unaware. When I was around 22 years old, I read the book “Every Man’s Battle” and I walked away thinking “Ugh, men are such creeps.” I learned that men actually turn their heads after an immodestly dressed girl walks past them so they can get a second look. I was so grossed out by the thoughts men have when they see women. After reading that book, I didn’t want to be the object of their filthy looks any longer.
But now I see God made men visual for a reason and inside the marriage relationship, it’s a good thing. Outside of marriage, the man needs to learn and practice extreme self-control. Wives play a huge part in helping him do this. It’s not fair to say that the men need self-control and the ladies can dress however they want.
Ladies can start to understand this subject a tiny little bit if they think about their feelings towards “chocolate.” If you were really “hungry,” as men get sometimes, and only you and a luscious chocolate cake were alone in the room, wouldn’t you want to at least get a small smidgun of the icing? How long would you last hour after hour, day after day, without taking a little taste? Maybe you’d leave the house to get it out of your mind, but you’d notice that there’s sugary treats everywhere you turn. Even at your exercise class (church), where all temptations should be removed, you find yourself confronted with the chocolate all around. Now multiply that times ten to understand how hard it is for a man to seek righteousness so much that he’s willing to deny his own pleasure at every turn.
I realize that I don’t know the full extent of what men struggle with day in and day out concerning lustful images and immodestly dressed women. But I do know quite a bit, because my husband shares openly with me and I’ve read plenty of resources on the topic.
My husband has asked other men, even “good Christian men” if they have internet on their phone and how they safeguard themselves from temptations. (My husband chooses not to have internet on his phone). Most of these men very naively (and maybe even lying) say “Oh, that’s never been a problem.” What?! You mean you have the full internet right in your hand, without any fear of getting caught, and at any time you can pull up any website your heart desires, and lustful images are not a problem for you? Do you have a pulse?!
We have to safeguard ourselves, our husbands, and our children. We have to teach our boys from a young age that they’re to avoid looking upon the nakedness of women until they marry their wife- and then only her nakedness is permitted. If young boys learn to respect and cherish ladies (his mother and sisters in particular), that’s a great step in the right direction.
We have to teach our young girls to honor their future husbands, by not allowing any other males to look at their body- it needs to be completely saved for that special mate that God has for them. We need to actually teach our girls to dress modestly (cover their thighs, cover their chests- even if they’re not developed yet). Little girls (as young as 2) are dressing like mini-20-year-old models… bikini’s, mini skirts, chest accentuating tops. It’s not cute. It’s defrauding.
Young ladies, honor your future husband by doing everything in your power to prevent a young man from looking at your body lustfully. Don’t be shortsighted and only think of the here and now. Look 10 years, 15 years down the road.
Young men, it’s a fight that’s worth it. Learn to GUARD YOUR HEART. Look away, flee, respect respectable ladies. What you see, what you hear, and what you read affects your heart more than you know.
Grown women, don’t be a stumbling block for someone else’s husband. Get your self-worth from reading God’s immense love story for you, the Bible, instead of men’s lustful approval of how you look on the outside. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God loves you so much more than you can imagine. You don’t need to try and look good to gain man’s approval. You don’t.