Parenting

An Open Letter to Teen Boys

Hi, guys.

I bet it’s not very often you start to read a blog … and if you do, it probably isn’t addressed to you as a teen boy.  I wrote an open letter to teen girls a few weeks back and that got me thinking about what I might say to you all.  I’m going to keep this to the point.  I plan to speak plainly and cover some topics most people might not want to touch with a ten foot pole.  I also want to share some secrets you may not know about girls and then I am going to issue you a challenge.

So, let’s jump right into it.

You used to be the little boy climbing trees, building with Legos, digging in the dirt and not knowing much about what goes on in the world.  Thoughts of girls barely entered your mind, and when they did, you may have even thought, “yuck!”  Maybe some of you had girls as friends and have sisters as well.  You never noticed they were girls in the way you do now.  Then, without you voting on it, the tide turned and all of a sudden you became a teenager.  The Legos sit catching dust for the most part and the thoughts of girls come to the front and center of your mind.  Hanging out with your guy friends is the best part of your life, but your mind entertains thoughts about girls like it has been taken over by an invasion.  This is normal.  Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.

teens on slip n slide

The trouble is, you don’t know how to manage your thought life – and nowadays all you have to do is turn on a computer or pick up your iPhone and your sidebar has images of girls in bikinis or something else that lures you to go searching to see more.  You go to Target and girls are dressed in cut off shorts and your mind starts taking a trip, thinking about things that you would never tell your mom.  What’s a guy to do?

The way I see it is that there are basically two paths you can choose.  One is to see women and girls as something to attain – an object to be had and something to use for your own pleasure.  The other, deeper calling is to see women and girls as human beings  who need your support and protection, as well as someone who can pour richly into your life one day.

Teen on tree

I’m not sure if you are aware of the rape case on Stanford’s campus where a young woman was visiting her sister and ended up being violated behind a dumpster.  I recently read the letter she wrote her attacker.   In it she talks about these two Swedish guys who rode up on bicycles and saw what had been done to her.  They chased after the guy who raped her, and they caught him.  They are heroes.  One of the young men was so moved with compassion for the girl that he came to tears.  This true and tragic story shines a light on the two heart attitudes guys can take towards girls.  Either you want what you want and are going to take it and use a girl in the process, or you are going to be the kind of guy who stands up against other guys when they are out of line – one who feels for women when they are abused or when someone takes advantage of them.

Let me ask you a few questions:

Which guy do you respect more: the friend telling you dirty jokes and sending you pictures of girls, or the one standing strong in the face of temptation?

Teen with headphones

Which guy will the girl you want to end up with respect more?  Will she want to be with a guy who takes advantage of girls and looks at pornography, or will she want to be with someone who wanted to protect and cherish her enough to guard himself and fight the hard fight to stay strong in the face of temptation?

Inside, you may have both types of young men.  One side of you lusts and wants to get what you can for your own satisfaction.  You may have fallen into looking at pornography without thinking about the fact that these are real human beings, often girls who have been kidnapped, drugged and forced into a lifestyle of being used.  You may have another side of yourself that fights the urge to watch porn.  You wish you could say, “no,” but you sneak it one more time.  You don’t talk about this with your guy friends, or maybe you do.  This quiet battle consumes your days once you are in it.  The curiosity that starts this habit is so normal.  The giving in to the urges is so easy and common.  I’ll tell you plainly, it is too much to battle on your own.  You don’t like hearing it, I know.  The average guy wants to do things himself and not be told.  You pride yourself in your own strength.  You loathe being taken over by something, so you fight on alone.  The fact of the matter is, you’ll keep falling into temptation until you get accountability and support.

teen group on road

You may not have caved to this temptation yet.  If so, I commend you.  You have a lot to offer other young men who are struggling.  They need you and the hope you offer.  Don’t ever see yourself as better than guys who have fallen into lust.  That will divide you and make you useless.  Men who can resist this temptation can be a strong support to those who are struggling, but only if they admit that they have their own struggles – maybe even a struggle with pride over their own purity.

If you have given in, your path isn’t hopeless.  You can turn around.  You have to decide you want to and then you will have to shore up your areas of weakness.  As in any battle, your enemy lies in wait, baiting you and going after you at the spots where you are vulnerable.

You are going to need to seek accountability and support from friends you trust and young men in your church who have wrestled with this struggle and overcome it.  It’s not called every young man’s battle for nothing.  In battles in ancient times, the soldiers had a shield in front of them that was about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  The shield was slightly curved.  When an enemy came to attack, the soldiers would stand in a line called a phalanx and put their shields together.  No one could penetrate this unified line.  Together with other men, you can stand against the temptations that assail you.  Alone, you are one soldier.  Together you become an impenetrable force to be reckoned with.  There are also great online supports like XXXChurch.com or CovenantEyes.com where you can have an email sent to your accountability partners each week telling them which sites on the internet you visited.

Teen with Iphone

Another key protection is to see girls in groups and not be alone with a girl.  If you have friends who are standing strong and choosing well, being with them when you are with girls will be a protection for both of you.

Now for the secrets about girls and women.  Do you know what we really want and crave more than anything else in the world?  We want to be safe.  We want to be cherished.  We want to have a man who loves us as we are and doesn’t see us as a body.  Though we want a guy to think we are beautiful, we want him to want us for who we are, not what we look like.  Girls who throw themselves out there for sex before marriage are not looking for sex.  They are broken and hurting.  They want love and affirmation and they are willing to give themselves away because for a few brief moments they can feel connected and wanted and they feel you care.  When you toss them aside after being intimate with them, they end up with deeper hurts.

Now let me ask you: which girl will you respect more: the one who gave herself away or the one who waited?  Don’t you want to wait for her and have her waiting for you?  This isn’t fairy tale stuff.  I know guys and girls who are standing strong and making the harder choice.  Are you up for it?

teen girl for teen boy post

It’s a greater challenge to stay pure than to cave.  Will you hold out and be strong or will you be swept along in the current of your generation?  If you’ve decided to resist and practice the hard discipline of purity, it’s a lot like an extreme workout or a difficult level on a video game.  You have to go through the pain to get the gain.  I dare you to stay pure.  I challenge you to swim upstream.  The world needs more young men who will stand strong and be defenders of girls and women. 

Will you be one of them?

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