A couple of weeks ago I conducted an assembly with 200+ high school junior and senior guys. About 15-20 minutes into the presentation, a young man raised his hand and asked the following question, “Are you telling us that we shouldn’t have sex?” He wasn’t trying to be confrontational. He was genuinely shocked by the possibility that I could be making such a statement. The look of confusion on his face was proof that this was a message he had never heard before.
I wish I could say I was surprised by this young man’s question, but I wasn’t. Young men in classes often tell me that I am the first adult to ever tell them that sex is not a good choice to make.
My parents, and family in general, seem to disagree with the opinion that children should remain abstinent in high school, but I have to thank you for reinforcing that thought in my head.
In a day of STD rates at epidemic level proportions among teens, not to mention teen pregnancy/fatherlessness issues, how could it be possible that some teen boys are not being told that sex is not a good choice? I think it is because many parents and adults have bought into the notion that “Boys will be boys!”
When you hear the statement, “Boys will be boys!” what comes to mind for you? When thinking of a boy over the age of 12, many adults would hear that statement and imagine a young man with raging hormones, possibly stringing along multiple girls at the same time. These are often the same people who believe that teen sex is inevitable, so why bother trying to stop it?
I’ll tell you why I bother. Because boys get it! And truth be told, many times they “get it” even before the girls do. It’s the adults in their lives who won’t give them any credit for being capable of rising up to higher standards/expectations. In fact, I regularly receive letters from teen boys who are either virgins or making a decision to abstain after hearing a message that challenges them to live their BEST lives.
I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for over three years and I have engaged in no sexual contact whatsoever. The most I have ever done is kiss her, and no one seems to appreciate that I am a gentleman first and a boyfriend second. My relationship with her is real and based on love rather than fake and based on an activity I can do with anyone.
Wow! Imagine if whenever we heard the statement “Boys will be boys,” we immediately thought of young men like the one who wrote this letter, instead of out of control, sex-starved teens? We could raise up generations of “gentlemen first and boyfriends second,” if we would only raise our expectations and stop selling our young men short.
So, the next time you hear someone say, "Boys will be boys!" please challenge them to join the movement that is changing what that statement actually means.