Telling My Son about the Birds and the Bees

Well this is awkward . . . not talking to my son about the “birds and the bees” so much as it is writing about it. Before I go any farther, I suppose I should start with a warning: this article uses the words for male and female genitalia. There are no graphic descriptions, but if you are going to find this offensive, please do not continue reading. If, however, you’d like to read about what I consider to be a good way to help your son grow towards manhood, please read on.

Last year, my oldest son turned 13. I am now able to claim “father of a teenager” on my parenting resume and, of course, I became an overnight expert on teenagers (if only that were true!). My son has recently changed tremendously in terms of responsibility, and going through the stages of puberty. It has been somewhat humorous to watch him lead songs in church because it is clear his voice isn’t doing what he expects it to do. 

I had talked with my wife, and we agreed to do something special for his thirteenth birthday to commemorate this milestone as he moves out of childhood, into adolescence, and heads toward adulthood. We decided I would take a special trip with him, just the two of us. In a family of eight, one-on-one time is always special, particularly when it is more than just a few hours. As my son is quite the rockhound, I chose the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas as our destination (spoiler alert: we didn’t find any diamonds). It was a six and a half hour drive, and along the way we had “the talk.”

There are a lot of jokes and tension about talking with your children about matters of sex, puberty, and growing up. For myself, however, I really didn’t find it all that difficult. I think this may be for two reasons. First, my son has been used to me talking with him about important matters and teaching him individually . This is one of the many benefits we have had from my To Train Up a Knight program. We had actually already broached this topic earlier with him through a series of books called The Story of Me (which talk about conception and uses terms like “vagina” and “penis”). They were very awkward and shocking to read, but my wife and I wanted to make sure we taught our children about this before they heard it somewhere else. The second reason “the talk” was easier was that I enlisted help. I purchased a series of CDs (they still sell these things!) by James Dobson entitled Preparing for Adolescence

Dobson’s CDs talked about the inferiority and depression teens sometimes sink into, the need to stand against peer pressure, as well as sex, love, and some other topics. The CD’s were made in the 70’s and they sounded a bit dated, but for the most part, they were good. They certainly helped introduce these topics and start a good discussion between my son and I.

I must, however, add a couple of warnings about these CDs. First, on the CD about sex, James Dobson approves of masturbation for teen boys because, in his opinion, the sexual pressure is too great. I disagree with this view. Masturbation is usually accompanied by lust and as such would constitute adultery or pre-marital sex in the heart (cf. Matthew 5:27-30). This lust can lead to seeking out images to aid the imagination and thus into pornography. In addition, the Bible gives a solution for sexual pressure. In 1 Corinthians 7:9, Paul writes: “if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” The solution to burning is marriage, not masturbation. There is a need to control oneself until the time of marriage. Also, most who get into the habit of masturbating while single continue it into the marriage relationship. This creates problems of selfishness and lack of intimacy. Second, on the CD, Dobson talks about how to make decisions and discusses how to listen to the Spirit and let It speak in your heart. The Bible never describes the Holy Spirit guiding us this way. There is no promise given to all Christians to be guided this way and no indication that we are guided by the Holy Spirit other than through His sword, the word of God (cf. Ephesians 6:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:19-21). 2 Peter 1:3-4 indicates that the Apostles were given all things according to life and godliness which were recorded for us that we could be partakers of the divine knowledge. As such, there is no need for the Spirit to speak in our hearts, It has already told us what we need to know in His word. We listened to what Dobson said on the first point about masturbation, and I stopped the CD and explained what the Bible says. I chose this way of addressing the issue because I believe he will be tempted to masturbate, and the topic needs to be addressed in advance. When we he began talking about the Spirit we just skipped forward until Dobsonwas done. 

We listened and talked about these topics all the way to Hope, AR where we were going to stay the night. We hadn’t quite finished the CD’s, but we took a break that night and played some games together until it was well past time for bed. We set alarms to wake us up early so we would have plenty of time for hunting diamonds in the morning. 

After breakfast the next morning, we headed off to the Crater of Diamonds. It was about an hour drive, so we listened and talked some more. I won’t talk much about the State Park; we tried all of the techniques for diamond hunting available to us (top searching and wet sifting). It had rained heavily a few days earlier so it was very wet. We found lots of interesting rocks and gems, but no diamonds. Our shoes got stuck in the mud, my son fell over, and we laughed and had a good time. We headed off to dinner and finished the CD series, then, back to the hotel for more fun and games before going to sleep. 

I had more I wanted to teach my son more about being a man than the CDs covered, so after we got dressed, ready for the day, and ate breakfast, I taught him about Biblical Manhood. I talked some about the definition of manhood given in Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis and some depictions of manhood from the Bible. An outline of this lesson can be found at the end of the article.

All in all, my son and I had a good and productive time together. There were plenty of serious moments, but there was also much laughing and fun. I didn’t find it awkward, and am looking forward to similar experiences with my other sons. One down, four to go.

Biblical Manhood

Introduction:

  • There are different views on what it means to be a man in this world. The world’s view and the Bible’s views are very different.
    1. In the worldly view of men as seen on T.V., men are. . .
      • tall and muscle bound
      • boastful and arrogant
      • hanging out in bars, drinking and swearing
      • good at sports (an obsessed with them)
      • chasing after women with sex as a quest
      • often quite dumb
    2. The Bible presents man quite differently. In the Bible men are. . .
      • God’s chosen leaders in the family and in the Church
      • Providers for their family not only physically, but emotionally, and spiritually as well
      • Caring and nurturing
      • Teachers who will bring their children up in the admonition of the Lord
      • humble, diligent, and in control of themselves
  • We are going to look at some different descriptions on what it means to be a Biblical man and some examples in the Bible.

I. Definition of Manhood from Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis

  • A real man rejects passivity (I rephrased this to: “is Proactive”).
    1. A real man doesn’t stand around and simply react to life. A real man decides how he is going to act and plans ahead in order to know what should be done.
    2. In order to live as Christian, we have to decide what we are going to do before we are put into temptation, before tragedy strikes. We don’t wait for these things to happen, we decide now the right course of action so we will know what to do.
  • Accepts Responsibility
    1. A real man doesn’t make excuses or avoid responsibilities.
  • Leads Courageously
    1. It is easier to follow than to lead. It takes courage to lead properly. Some decisions will be made that will be unpopular and you have to be able to stick to your guns.
    2. As Christian men, we are called to be leaders. Leaders in worship, leaders in the church, and leaders in our families. We must lead courageously.
  • Expects the Greater Reward (I rephrased this to Keeps His focus on the things above)
    1. A real man shouldn’t be distracted by the temporary things of this world. Careers, cars, sports, and hobbies must not get in the way of our spiritual goal.
    2. When all is said and done success and failure in this life will depend on whether or not we have pleased God; whether or not we enter into heaven.

II. Paul’s description of “Manhood” in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

  • These verses embrace the essence of the epistle
    1. All that Paul has said, every instruction and admonition, can be found in these five commands. 
    2. They are not directly targeted towards men, but to all Christians. These five commands, however, must be followed by every Christian man.
  • Be on the alert (cf. Matthew 24:42, 1 Peter 5:8)
    1. The charge has a military background: a call to watch out for enemies. 
    2. The church often has enemies and we need to be watching for them.
    3. We don’t want our enemies to sneak up on us.
    4. We need to be alert to internal and external foes.
  • Stand firm in the faith (cf. Ephesians 3:16, 6:10; Colossians 1:11).
    1. Also has a military background describing a soldier who will not give up his ground.
    2. Means developing a stubborn, hard-headed stance; be immovable (cf. 15:58).
    3. But be stubborn and take a stand for what is right–The Faith!
  • Act like men–a call to strength and maturity.
    1. Strong in their faith and God’s ways
    2. Mature–doesn’t always have to have their way, can look at situations from different angles and make wise decisions.
    3. Focused on what is important-the Lord’s work
  • Be strong–means to be mighty, to gain the upper hand (cf. Psalm 31:24, Ephesians 6:10). 
    1. Strength comes from God.
    2. It is a choice, but also requires preparation–spiritual workouts (cf. 9:24-27)
  • Let all be done in love
    1. Returns to an areas in which the Corinthians church had its biggest problem
    2. All needs to be done in love–no exceptions

III. Examples of Masculinity in the Bible

  • Job (Job 1:1, 5, 8)
    1. Upright 
    2. Blameless
    3. Feared God 
    4. Shunned evil
    5. Provided for his family spiritually (1:5)
  • Moses (Acts 7:22, Hebrews 11:24-28, Numbers 
    1. One of the best educated men in the Old Testament, Acts 7:22
    2. Placed a greater value on God and God’s people than the things of this world, Hebrews 11:24-28
    3. A very humble man, Numbers 12:3
  • Joshua led his family decisively, Joshua 24:15
  • David
    1. 1 Kings 2:1-3, in his final charge to Solomon the very first thing he teaches his son is how to be strong and prove himself to be a man:
      • by keeping God’s charge
      • by walking in God’s ways
      • by keeping God’s statutes, commands, judgments, and testimonies as they were written in His word.
    2. He pointed Solomon towards the reward by telling him he will prosper and God will fulfill His promises. 
  • In Ezra 7:10, Ezra had set his heart to
    1. To seek the Law of the Lord
    2. To do it
    3. To teach God’s statutes and ordinances
  • Ezekiel was a man willing to stand in the gap and proclaim God’s word in a morally destitute land, Ezekiel 22:24-31.

Conclusion:

  • Biblical masculinity is very different from what the world says and views as masculine.
  • As men, God wants us:
    1. To make Him the first priority in our lives
    2. To be active, alert, and steadfast
    3. To be caring and concerned for others
    4. To lead courageously and humbly, especially in spiritual matters. 

by Jeremy Sprouse

Jeremy Sprouse has been married to Erynn since 1999. They have six children. Jeremy preaches for the Patrick St. Church of Christ in Dublin, TX and is the author of To Train Up a Knight.

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