Best-selling author and speaker Dennis Rainey talks honestly with parents about protecting their sons from overly aggressive girls.
Best-selling author and speaker Dennis Rainey talks honestly with parents about protecting their sons from overly aggressive girls.
Bob: Never said it to me! I don't know what the problem was! (Laughter)
Dennis: What I want to do, in the time that we have remaining—no kidding, here—is I want to equip moms and dads to protect their sons from aggressive girls. To do that, I'm going to go to the Book of Proverbs. If you've got a Bible, you might want to turn there. The Bible I'm going to read from is a paraphrase, done by Eugene Peterson, called The Message©. You can get a copy of The Message, if you have it, and read along; but before I get there, I want to give you six assumptions about training and educating your sons in how to handle aggressive girls.
First assumption—young boys are clueless. They are clueless. The question is, “When do you start preparing them?” And the answer is, “As they're boys, as they emerge through elementary school, you need to begin the process of helping them learn to make wise choices and not foolish choices. So when you get to this issue, and you start talking about the opposite sex at the age of 10, 11, 12, even before the hormones of puberty have hit, you've had the conversation numerous times.”
Second assumption—aggressive girls will likely occur in your son's life. They will make a play. It's going to happen. The problem is—most of us are not going to know it because teenage boys do what?
Bob: They don't talk about it.
Dennis: They don't talk about anything.
Bob: No, that's right.
Dennis: They mumble, they groan, they grunt, and occasionally speak in a complete sentence; but it could be taking place, and your son not let you know. So, we have to pursue them in the process.
Number three—as a parent, you need a proactive plan, which leads me to number four—that plan will involve both fathers and sons; but, “Yes, Mom, it's going to involve you and your son because you know how girls think.” You can help your son understand girls in ways that a father can't.
Assumption number five—with a son, this instruction, teaching, and call to accountability doesn't end with the adolescent years. It continues on into adulthood and, in my opinion, doesn't stop after they get married. “Why?” “Because there are women, who are still preying upon men who are married.” I think every young man needs an older man, in his life, asking him, "How are you doing? Remember those conversations we had, son? You're a married man now. That does not exempt you from temptation. How are you doing with that?”
And, finally, number six—ultimately, the call to a young man is to step up and become a noble man, a moral man, a spiritual man, God's man. You’re going to call your sons, as they move through adolescence, to step up to maturity and step up to real manhood. To do that, they need a mother and a father repetitively teaching over, and over, and over again the Scripture and encouraging them as they do take these steps toward maturity.
Bob: You’re really talking about helping a son or a daughter acquire wisdom; aren’t you?
Dennis: I really am. Proverbs 24:5 says, “A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man.” Our sons need to have knowledge and wisdom. Who should they get that from? I think primarily from their parents. Yes, the pastor, your youth pastor, godly mentors, coaches, Sunday school teachers along the way, youth group leaders are all going to put bricks on the wall; but I think the wall is primarily built by a parent.
I think one of the finest illustrations of this, Bob, is in Proverbs, Chapter 5 through Chapter 7. I don't think I've ever done this, here on FamilyLife Today; but what I'd like to do is read most of these three chapters and just make some comments, along the way, as to how we can equip our sons to know how to handle an aggressive girl when she enters his life.
I think the beginning point that you need to get in the Book of Proverbs is that a father takes the time to instruct his son, both formally and informally. In this case, the writer of the Book of Proverbs was reflecting back on conversations he had with his son. Over, and over, and over again, in the book he says, "Listen, my son. Hear my warnings. Know what I'm saying because I’m talking about wisdom versus foolishness. I'm talking about life versus death. Embrace what I say because it's important."
Bob: And again, you're reading from a paraphrase, from The Message by Eugene Peterson. I know there are some listeners who don't like paraphrases. I think they can be helpful as you read them alongside translations, but this is one writer's interpretation of these verses; right?
Dennis: It's a little different, at points; but you know what? It makes the point.
"Dear friend, pay close attention to this—my wisdom. Listen very closely to the way I see it. Then you will acquire a taste for good sense. What I tell you will keep you out of trouble.” You know, every father needs to turn to his son and say, "You know what, son? You can get in a lot of trouble with the opposite sex. What I am about to tell you will keep you out of that trouble."
And then what he does—is he has a very instructive statement. He goes on to follow this up, Bob, with a ton of consequences. Now, I want you to listen to the instruction, but then the warning of the consequences in this passage, because I think both what he says and how he goes about saying it are both important to fathers, as they instruct their sons.
"The lips of a seductive woman are oh, so sweet. Her soft words are oh, so smooth. But it won't be long before she's gravel in your mouth, a pain in your gut, a wound in your heart. She's dancing down the primrose path to death. She is headed straight for hell and taking you with her. She hasn't got a clue about real life, about who she is, or where she's going. So, my friend, listen closely. Don't treat my words casually. Keep your distance from such a woman.”
Well, if you want to know how to instruct your son to avoid aggressive women, note what this father said to his son. First of all, he said, "Be careful about the seductive woman. “You can spot her, son. You'll see her by the way she looks; but, most importantly, by what she says. Her sweet lips and sweet words—they'll take you down to death.” He warns, with all these powerful words, about what can happen to a young man who listens to her words, instead of turning them.
The warning, “to not go near her” is a stern warning—to keep your distance. As you talk to your sons about how you handle an aggressive woman, you train them to spot the behavior, spot the words, and then turn and flee. Remember Second Timothy 2:22? "Flee youthful lusts." It's great advice. Every young man ought to have those verses committed to memory.
We have all the rhymes of our childhood committed to memory. We know about The Three Little Pigs, Mother Goose, and Humpty Dumpty. What better than to memorize a piece of Proverbs 5 or Second Timothy 2:22. Instruct your son in what to do and then warn him about the consequences.
Bob: You know, I don't know that I've ever talked to my sons about the catnip of flattery and help them understand that—if someone comes along and starts flattering them, and talking about how handsome they are, or how smart they are, or how brave they are, any of those things—that can reduce a young man to putty in a young girl's hands. He just—we crave, as men, hearing those kinds of things—
Dennis: We do.
Bob: And we'll do all kind of things just to keep hearing it; won't we?
Dennis: A woman is powerful in a young man's life. Let me move on to Chapter 6. "Dear friend, follow your father's good advice. Don't wander off from your mother's teachings."
Now, I'm going to stop right there, Bob, because that one verse, in Chapter 6, assumes that a father has intentionally led his son into these conversations. It assumes that a mother has also taught. You've got the dynamic duo of parents, coming into a young man's life, giving him a moral and spiritual standard—and then the challenge to him—“Don't leave it. Don't wander off from it.” Then listen to how he describes what happens to a young man who heeds the protection of his mother and father. Listen to this—
"Wrap yourself in them from head to foot"—it’s like a body of armor. "Wear them like a scarf around your neck. Wherever you walk, they'll guide you. Whenever you rest, they'll guard you. When you wake up, they'll tell you what's next. For sound advice is a beacon. Good teaching is a light. Moral discipline is a life path."
What a phenomenal opportunity a father and a mother have to provide the armor, the protection, when they sleep—the spiritual beacon to guide their way so that a young man, as he navigates life and goes along, and his path crosses a young lady who may not have that same teaching—perhaps, who has come from maybe a home where she's not had that relationship with her father or her mother. She doesn't know what she's after; but she just knows she's missing something, and she's going after your son.
Well, you know what? If your son has that teaching, it will protect him. The writer of Proverbs goes on, "They'll protect you from wanton women, from the seductive talk of some temptress. Don't lustfully fantasize on her beauty nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes." Isn't that a great description?
I just want to stop there for a second because he's warning his son about seductive talk. He's warning a son about his own inclination to fantasize. You know, I don't know that I ever had this conversation with my sons; but I think I would have talked to them about fantasy because, as you kick into gear as a young boy into adolescence, the hormones are raging. The mind has to rein in the lustful fantasy thoughts that can occur in a teenage boy's mind.
Bob: You're talking about just letting your imagination go where you shouldn't let it go; right?
Dennis: Exactly. With the internet, and with immodest dress, and television, and movies—
Bob: There's a lot to supplement your imagination; isn't there?
Dennis: Yes. It is being fed, almost on a daily basis; but here is a father who goes, "What are you doing with your fantasies, son? Be careful about what you do with your imagination. It's a powerful thing, but don't let your fantasy feast on her beauty or her bedroom eyes.”
It goes on, "You can buy an hour with a whore for a loaf of bread, but a wanton woman may well eat you alive. Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants? Can you walk barefoot on the coals and not get blisters? In the same way, you have sex with your neighbor's wife, touch her, and you'll pay for it. Son, there's no excuses."
Bob: Pretty straightforward advice there; isn't it?
Dennis: Again, I want fathers to listen to how the teacher of Proverbs did it. He gave a principle, and then he warned them about the consequences. In this case, the illustrations are painful, very painful. In fact, later on, at the end of Chapter 6, he says, “Adultery is a brainless act, soul-destroying, self-destructive. Expect a bloody nose, a black eye, and a reputation ruined for good.”
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 7, verse 1, says, "A good name is better than precious ointment." I think somewhere in the Proverbs it talks about it's better than great riches. “You know, your reputation, son, is really, really important. It's hard to get a good reputation but very easy to lose it.”
Chapter 7 is just full of practical advice. Instead of reading it—what I'm going to do is—I'm going to list all of the practical areas that he helps protect a young man in. Dads, as you listen to this, just think about having this conversation with your son and maybe reading this chapter, over breakfast with him.
In Chapter 7, he challenges his son to not be clueless but to be wise, to not lack sense but to gain wisdom, and to anticipate that temptation is going to be there. He warns him about the dark and what occurs in the dark. He talks to him straight about a woman initiating, how she has a plan, how she's aggressive, and how she can pursue a young man.
He talks to his son about a girl kissing him, not just with any kind of kiss, but a passionate kiss—a passionate kiss that is coupled with words that promise an alluring, mysterious experience. He warns him about smells and perfume. Remember, Bob, in high school, having your head turned as you walked down the hall by a nice-looking young lady who was wearing some perfume, that you just caught just a little bit of the scent.
Bob: I'm just not going to let my imagination go there.
Dennis: There you go; there you go. He concludes by warning his son, "She'll promise you that you won't get caught, and her speech is like honey. But you, my son, are going to be like an ox to the slaughter; a stag to an ambush; a bird flying into a net, whose flying life is over."
He concludes the whole passage by saying, "Don't fool around with her, son. Don't go near her because the ultimate consequence is she runs a halfway house to hell. She has your grave clothes and your coffin, son. Heads up! This is dangerous stuff we're talking about here."
Bob: And this is a sober conversation for a father to have with a son. I think most dads feel a little awkward, having it with their son. They either think the son is going to go, "Oh, Dad, you're obsessing over something that's not that big a deal;" or it is just going to be uncomfortable.
Dennis: Yes, Bob; and some fathers, who are listening to us right now, didn't have a dad who had this conversation with them. When they're calling it up, on the screen of their mind, picturing how they should do this—it's a lot like interviewing your daughter's date. You don't know what it looks like. You're edging out into territory that—well, you just don't know how to do it; but you know what? Here is where you need to lean upon God.
He has given you the Holy Spirit. He has given you the Word. You know what? You just can't go wrong with just reading this book. Get a copy of your favorite Bible. It doesn't have to be Eugene Peterson's, The Message—but the ESV, the New King James—open it up and read Chapter 5 to your son.
Go out and have breakfast with him. Meet him early, and go have some fun, and get some good food. A young man always likes to go eat good food. Don't be afraid of silence; and begin the conversation of, “What do you think is taking place here, son? What's he warning his son about in this passage?” Begin the dialog and the discussion.
Bob, a part of what we're talking about here is developing a vocabulary with your son so that later on, when an aggressive young lady does come into his life, maybe, just maybe, he'll tell you. You'll be able to further coach him in how to handle it.
Bob: The book that you’ve written is coaching for us on how we can coach our sons. It helps with the vocabulary. It helps with how we can engage our sons. In fact, the book is called Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys; and the subtitle is 7 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son. Those seven conversations are outlined in the book. You’re really helping us, as dads, know how we can have this kind of engagement.
We’re anxious to get this book in the hands of as many parents as possible. That’s why, this week, if you make a donation to help support FamilyLife Today, we’ll send you a copy of the book. We’ll also include a copy of your previous book, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. Whether you have teenage sons or teenage daughters, these are two very practical books to help you navigate what can be some dangerous waters, as your kids go through adolescence.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. That’s our website: FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I Care”. When you make a donation online, we’ll know to send you copies of both of these books, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, and Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. All you have to do is click the button that says, “I Care”; and make an online donation.
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Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear more of what moms and dads have been telling us about what their sons are experiencing, as they face the onslaught of aggressive girls on the school campus, both high school and college, and actually down into middle school, these days. That’s coming up tomorrow. Hope you can be with us.
I want to thank our engineer today—his name is Keith Lynch—and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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