FamilyLife Today®

Properly Protecting the Next Generation

with Dennis Rainey | March 28, 2008
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What should a young man do with his desire?
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  • What should a young man do with his desire? Find out today on the broadcast when Dennis Rainey explains how parents can help their son flee from youthful lusts and embrace righteousness instead.

What should a young man do with his desire?

Properly Protecting the Next Generation

With Dennis Rainey
March 28, 2008
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[music from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat"]

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.  Have you ever heard that before?

Dennis: I think so.

Bob: Yeah, that's from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," and I don't know if you've ever thought about Genesis 39 and Joseph and Potiphar and – of course, I don't know what Potiphar's wife looked like, right?  I don't know whether – when she said to Joseph, "Hey, Joe," I don't know whether Joseph was going, "I'm not interested," or whether Joseph went "Whoa."

Dennis: Whoa.

Bob: You know?

Dennis: I've got a feeling because of the drama in the story, Bob, that she was attractive.

Bob: Well, and you have to think whether she was attractive or not, if this royal official's wife gave me the order of the day would I have run out of the room?

Dennis: Yeah, you just wonder.  I mean, the pressure was on, and I think what makes the story most powerful was obviously Joseph's response, and it's interesting, Bob, as many times as I've read that story, the explanation for why he did what he did was really found earlier in a life that was committed to following God and being obedient to God so when he faced a moral compromise, it was a natural response for him.

Bob: Well, our sons, growing up today, at some point are likely to face maybe not the royal official's wife but somebody in class or somebody a few grades up from them or somebody at the mall.  They are likely to face a young woman who comes and says, "Hey, you're kinda cute."

Dennis: Yeah, like the mom who wrote me, and she wrote in response to "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date," when I wrote that book.  Well, let me just read this.  She says, "I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive, 15-year-old son."  She's a mom, hey, you know, she's going to think that.

"I have been literally chasing the girls away from the door ever since the seventh grade.  The phone calls identified by caller ID were left for the answering machine to answer.  The aggressiveness and promiscuity of young girls nowadays is beyond words.  Their dress is so alluring and inviting to a young man, what's a guy to do?  Moreover, what's a mom to do?"

Bob: That's the question.

Dennis: And that's what she was wanting help on, and that's why we've been talking about all this week how we equip our sons to be able to handle sexually aggressive young ladies.

Bob: The Scriptures do speak to this subject.  We've looked at Proverbs 5, 6, and 7 this week, which give a father instruction on what he ought to pass along to his son as it relates to this.  There are other passages of Scripture that address this subject, aren't there?

Dennis: There are.  For instance, one of the key questions I think a father needs to address with his son is what a young man does with his desire, his desire for sex.  I mean, the wires get connected somewhere between year 11, 12, 13 or 14, and, all of a sudden, what once was a boy is now an electrified, I mean, he is fully wired in ways that were unimagineable even months before.  And, all of a sudden, the young lady who was not on his radar screen, who maybe was being friendly to him six months ago, all of a sudden, that friendliness feels really nice.  In fact, it's feeding something with him that a father uniquely understands and needs to have a conversation with him about.

Bob: So what does a dad say to his son about what he ought to do with those desires?

Dennis: I think you've got to talk openly and honestly about what a young man is feeling, what he's going through in his body, what's happening, and I think physiologically.  I think he has to talk about sexual matters that get explicit and are embarrassing, but if you have these conversations with a young man as a woman appeals to those desires, a father will have already had the conversation with his son about what those desires are and will be able to plug into his life and say, "Now, let me give you some sound teaching, son.  Let me give you some good advice.  Let me warn you about how you should handle those desires," and one of the passages I'd have a young man memorize would be 2 Timothy 2:22 – "Flee youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."

Bob: So when a son is experiencing those desires, they may need to have some passages of Scripture committed to memory.

Dennis: No doubt about it.

Bob: And that's what weight lifting and long-distance running is for, right.  It really is, son.  And, you know, I'm saying that almost half tongue-in-cheek.  A lot of times if a young man will get busy about other stuff, that will help deal with some of those passions.

Dennis: You know, you took me to a place I've been wanting to talk about here – I think our sons need to have jobs.  When they're 14 years old, it's legal for them to work.  Now, they need to have jobs before then – all the way through elementary school at home, and they need to be helpers to Daddy and Mommy around the house, but I think it's good for every young man at the age of 14 to begin to develop his resume.

And it's been proven, up to a maximum of 10, 11, 12 hours a week, that their grades don't suffer.  And I think young men today do need distractions like work, like athletics, like hunting, fishing, sports, that burn off some of that excess energy as those electrical circuits get connected, and they enter into adolescence.

Not only should you train your son in knowing what to do with his desire, we also need to talk with him about what he does with his imagination, which can quickly move into fantasy.  And so helping your son knowing how to discipline his thought life and how to train his mind to think about the right things.

Philippians, chapter 4, verses 8 and 9, would be another great passage for your son to commit to memory, and maybe, as a father, you join him because these words – well, I've not outgrown them, and I'm in my 60s now – "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there be anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

A young man is going to be attracted to a young lady – that's back to the desire.  His eyes are going to reflect that desire, and so when a young lady walks by, his eyes can track with that young lady.  What a father needs to do with his son is train his son to bounce his eyes from a young lady's body and look elsewhere – to discipline his mind not to go there, not to linger there.  But instead of keeping on looking or looking to get a better look, instead he trains his mind to think about those things that are pure and lovely.

Bob: And he can close his eyes and still be thinking about things he's not seen, but that's where the imagination comes in, that's where you train him to divert his thinking and to dwell on other things, to apply Philippians 4:8 and think on things that are pure and lovely, and he may say, "Well, I'm thinking about something that's lovely right now."  No, that's not what we're talking about, son.

Dennis: Yeah, exactly, exactly.  You know, Jesus warned that if a man looks at a woman and lusts after her, he commits adultery, and that also is a good passage in Matthew, chapter 5, verses 27 through 30, to talk about with your son.

There is one other area, Bob, and it's so simple we can overlook it, but I think we have to talk with our sons about attraction, and we need to give them a wholesome view of attraction.  It's easy for Christian parents who are well meaning who want to guard their children or their sons against sexual sin to create a little bit of a no-no or a dirty feel to sexual attraction.  Instead, we need to be very careful that we talk about this God-given attraction that all started out when God made them male and female, and that God said that was very good, and that attraction is okay.  It's when that attraction is used wrongly outside of marriage that it can become a problem.  And this is important when a young lady is being aggressive with a young man because if a young man doesn't know what to do with his attraction, he's not going to know how to turn away from evil.

Bob: Well, all of that stuff is stuff that a young man is going to experience, I mean, he's going to experience desire and attraction and his eyes are going to notice things.  You said that's normal, and that's natural, but if you're in the ninth grade, in the tenth grade, and there are cute girls, and those cute girls are just coming up to you – you're sitting alone at the lunchroom, you know what I’m saying?

Dennis: I do.

Bob: You're sitting right there in the cafeteria, and you're having your lunch, minding your own business, and this cute girl comes an plops her tray right down next to you, and she says, "Ooh, that looks good," and she starts eating her lunch, and you may think to yourself, "Well, she's an awfully friendly girl.  She's a nice friendly girl."

Dennis: But then it happens for three days in a row.

Bob: How does a young man know what's the difference between a friendly girl and a girl who is really starting to be aggressive, and then what does he do when he thinks this one is crossing the line?

Dennis: Well, you know, it's hard to know exactly how to tell your son what is crossing the line, but if a girl is calling, texting, sitting down over lunch, pursuing him, he needs to realize that he may need to send a signal, and what he wants to do is send a signal and communicate to her that she needs to back off, or he needs to back away and be left alone.  But he needs to do it in such a way that respects her and is polite but, at the same time, lets her know that he's not available.

Bob: So you don't text a message that says, "Hey, back off?"  That's not what you're saying?

Dennis: Maybe ultimately, but I think what some of our sons need is permission from their parents and empowerment to say no and to say, you know what? It's okay for a young man to say to a young lady, "I'm not interested.  I have other interests right now," and then give him some tools, some practical training, and talk with him about how he might say that and do that in a diplomatic way.

You could say, you know, "I like you, but right now I'm just not interested in going out with anybody."

Bob: Or "I think you're a nice girl," or "I like being friends with you."  You can say all of those things if those are true.

Dennis: Right, and if the girls still pursues, I'd find myself another table or I'd find some guys to surround my sons with over lunch and tell him to set it up so there's no room for her to sit down.  And it's another form of 2 Timothy 2:22, fleeing immorality, not going near an aggressive girl who is trying to hit on your son.

Bob: It's the Joseph syndrome.  You see it coming, and you just run out of the room, right?

Dennis: Right.  And there may be a time in your son's life when he needs to tell you, as a parent, that there are some things taking place, he doesn't know what to do, can't handle, and there's nothing shameful about that.  Coming to you, as a parent, you're part of the protection just like you'd protect your daughter, and at that point you're the one who is going to need to pray and ask God for wisdom as to how you ought to go about it, and that really leads to this next point that I've been looking forward to talking about.  It's pretty controversial.

I think we need to call on other parents and adults to fulfill their duty.  So it's not just a pocket of parents over in a corner that are engaged in their son or daughter's lives …

Bob: The lunatic fringe over there, do you think?

Dennis: Yeah, exactly, getting painted into a corner going, "You guys are kinda weird."

Bob: Overreacting?

Dennis: Yeah, well, truthfully, Barbara and I had some folks we went to church with, and they knew we interview dates, and I think we may have interviewed their son and, honestly, the signals I got from them, they were uncomfortable with that, with our involvement at that level.

And yet I think, today, with the issues being what they are, I think parents need to be empowering parents, parents need to be calling other parents to courageous involvement in their children's lives and, Bob, one of the ways – this is a little departure from what we're talking about here, but one of the ways would be to buy a box of "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date," and pass them out to all the parents in your kid's class at church, or at the Christian school where they go, or the home school association …

Bob: And even the public school.  You can go to the principal at your public school and say, "If I bought these, would you make them available to moms and dads?"

Dennis: We've had people doing that and, truthfully, it creates a bit of a buzz, and creates a climate that I think helps you, as a parent, as you move forward.

One mom that I wrote and asked for her opinion about this subject because she's raising a son, wrote me back a paragraph that I want to read here, and I'm going to protect her identity, and I'm going to call her "Susan."  She said, "Shame on adults who turn their heads from the behavior of sexually aggressive girls because they think to call a girl out on such behavior is impolite or questions the girl's virtue.  If a girl is acting inappropriately and dressing inappropriately, they need to be set straight."

Now, I want to stop there, because I don't want to become the clothing police in my kids' school.  I've got to be careful about becoming known as an inspector of modesty, or the judge of modesty.  So, as a parent, you've really got to be – you've got to be very wise about how you get involved here.  But this may mean that we call another parent and ask them to talk to their daughter and have a conversation with her.

She goes on, and she says, "Unfortunately, adults seem to treat the girl with the issues like she is innocent of what her dress and behavior is doing to boys.  I beg to differ.  She knows exactly what she is doing, and she's loving it.  Why not address adults on their responsibility to protect boys from aggressive girls?"

And the interesting thing about this, Bob, is this mom was a teacher at a Christian school and said she saw this behavior firsthand in those Christian schools.

Bob: Now, again, you want to make sure when you do call up these parents or talk to them about issues you see in their children that you're speaking the truth in love, you're speech is seasoned with grace, as the Scriptures talk about.

Dennis: You've got some kind of relationship with the parent, this wouldn't be a cold call.

Bob: You're not just calling up and blasting somebody, you've got to do it in a winsome way, but too many parents think, "Well, I can't do that, so I'll say nothing," and the time for saying nothing has got to be over, don't you think?

Dennis: I think it does, and I think that's why parents need to band together and I think call one another up to the duty to protect this generation of young people.

Bob: You know, in the book that you wrote, "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date," you made it real clear that a dad has a responsibility to be a protector of his daughter, and that interviewing the dates is part of the way you protect your daughter.  Is it different for a dad, how he protects a son?  Does he do that differently, do you think?

Dennis: Well, in some ways, it's the same, Bob, because I think a father should both love his son and daughter, build a relationship with them.  I think he should instruct in the moral decisions of life and spiritual decisions, both son and daughter the same.

But in many ways it's different because a father knows how a teenage young man thinks.

Bob: Because he's been one, right?

Dennis: He's been one, and he remembers those days.  They were, as we mentioned, they were electrifying, and to ignore that with a son – I can't know what it feels like to be a young lady going through adolescence.  My wife can.  She has that unique privilege with our daughters, but a father can identify with what's taking place, and I think, you know, we're talking about courage here that's not a smoky battlefield overseas, it's a different kind of battlefield but nonetheless demands courage to enter into these discussions.

And I think, too, as a mature older man who has battled lust and has made his own mistakes and has achieved manhood, hopefully, I think he is in the unique role to call a son to step on up out of adolescence, and to become the man God created him to be.

And in that regard, yes, a father can challenge a young lady to become a woman, but it's different.  Looking at a son, knowing what he's thinking – having been there, it's different.

Bob: So are you going to write a book on this, too?  I mean, you wrote this "Interviewing Your Daughter's Date," are you going to write a book for parents on how to protect your sons from aggressive girls?

Dennis: We'll see what our listeners think about this series and see how they respond.  I just have a heart for equipping both moms and dads to properly protect the next generation because, Bob, we're giving the next generation of young people way too much freedom in the midst of a very dangerous culture.  And a teenager today, Bob, needs a mom and a dad as never before to be in his life, battling with him in some perilous days, and they need to be loved when they don't believe in themselves, they need to be cared for, they need to be morally protected with wisdom as we talked about earlier, that clothes them like armor. 

And young men need to know that mom and dad are in this battle with him and are going to help him achieve maturity.

Bob: And you're in favor of the electric fence around the house, too, right?  Something that would also block cell phone signals, jam the cell phone signals.

Dennis: You know, that would not be a bad invention.  It would not be a bad invention.

Bob: I'm afraid we don't have a link on our website at to the manufacturer of that kind of technology, although I did see it.  It's on the island on "Lost," they got that there, but we don't have that technology available here.

What we do have, however, are resources to help parents deal with these kinds of issues.  We've go the CDs of all we've talked about this week, and we've been suggesting that a dad get those CDs and listen to them along with his son as you drive around town, and just say, "Son, I want you to listen.  I was listening to this radio program.  I want you to hear this, and tell me if you're dealing with any of these kinds of things."

You can order the CDs from us here at FamilyLife by going to our website,, and clicking the box on the right side of the home page that says "Today's Broadcast."  It will take you to an area of the site where there is more information about these CDs.  There is also information about the Passport to Purity resource that we've created so that parents of preteens can begin to engage on this subject before the teenage years arrive.

You can start training your sons to know how to respond if a young lady is pursuing him, and you can start training your daughters on how to respond if a young man is pursuing here.  Again, the resources we've got available are on our website,  Click the box on the right side of the home page that says "Today's Broadcast."  That will take you to an area of the site where there is more information about these resources.  Or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY to request them – 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and when you call, someone on our team will make arrangements to have the resources you need sent out to you.

We are getting close to the time of year when there are a lot of weddings that take place, and if you know somebody who is getting married soon, you might want to consider getting them a copy of the new FamilyLife Marriage Bible.  This is a Bible that Dennis and his wife, Barbara, have worked on for more than a year combining devotions for couples, articles, parenting tips, information about romance – there's a lot in this Bible that's designed to help equip a couple to have a strong, Christ-centered marriage and to raise spiritual healthy kids.

This month we are making copies of this Bible available to our listeners.  If you call to make a donation of any amount for the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we will send you a copy of the FamilyLife Marriage Bible upon your request.  If you're donating online at, when you come to the keycode box on the donation form, just type in the word "Bible" and we'll know to send a copy of the Bible out to you, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, and simply request a copy of the FamilyLife Marriage Bible when you make a donation, again, of any amount.

We appreciate your financial partnership with us.  We're listener-supported, and without those donations this program could not continue to be heard on this station or on other stations around the country.  So thanks for joining with us, and we appreciate your support.

And, with that, we're going to have to wrap things up for this week.  I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you and your family will be able to worship in church together this weekend, and I hope you can be back with us on Monday when we're going to have a couple of moms on call in the studio with us.  Two women who are nurses are going to talk with us about things every new mom needs to know when she brings her baby home from the hospital.  We'll talk about that on Monday, I hope you can be back with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  Have a great weekend, and we'll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas – help for today, hope for tomorrow. 


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Episodes in this Series

Raising Boys Day 1
Aggressive Girls: A New Phenomenon or An Old Problem?
with Dennis Rainey March 25, 2008
More and more parents are expressing concern about the number of young women actively pursing their sons.
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