Posts tagged familylife today

Truett Cathy: Patriarch of more than the chicken sandwich



Truett Cathy is the father of the chicken sandwich and a man who set the bar for other fast food empires. On Monday, September 8, he left this world, and the restaurant kingdom he built, to go home to a better kingdom and be with his Heavenly Father.

Cathy invested his life in others. Nowhere is that more evident than through the testimony of his sons, Dan and Bubba, who carried on his values at home and in the corporation they manage.

Watch this segment from the Stepping Up video series. It was created to be a representation of what it means to be a patriarch. With Truett Cathy’s passing, it is a testimony to a life well-lived.

YouTube Preview Image

Truett Cathy was a patriarch. Not just of the chicken sandwich or Chick-fil-A, but in the more traditional sense of the wordin the best sense. He was married to Jeanette for 65 years. He passed on his business and family legacy to his two sons and one daughter. He taught adolescent boys’ Sunday School for 50 years because he knew the importance of older men investing in the lives of younger men.

Listen to a special broadcast of FamilyLife Today, “Truett Cathy: A Life Well-Lived,” which features an interview that Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine did several years ago with this patriarch.

© 2014 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just read the post, “Truett Cathy: Patriarch of more than the chicken sandwich” on the Stepping Up blog.

STEPThink - 10-point checklistWhat kind of legacy was left to you? What kind of legacy will you pass on to your children and to this world?

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistDennis Rainey wrote an article “Remembering Truett Cathy” which includes his personal reflections.

STEPPass - 10-point checklistIf you appreciate the legacy of Truett Cathy, share the blog post, video, or broadcast with a friend.

The Forgotten Commandment



The Forgotten CommandmentHow do you, as an adult, express honor to your parents? Even if it has been a difficult relationship — even if you’ve been estranged — what’s your responsibility to obey and to keep the fifth commandment?

“Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God has given you.”

FamilyLife has released a revised 20th anniversary edition of a book created to help you honor your parents by writing a living tribute to them. The Forgotten Commandment (previously titled The Tribute and the Promise, and The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents) will be in the warehouse this week.

Last week, FamilyLife Today® devoted two radio broadcasts to tributes guests have made to their parents. You can hear the broadcasts in their entirety by clicking on the links below, but we have included some excerpts.

Medley of Tributes, Part 1 – Featuring Bill McCartney,  Crawford Loritts, Alex Kendrick, Andrew (son of Luis) Palau, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jani (daughter of Ray and Anne) Ortlund, and Vicky Case.

Medley of Tributes, Part 2 – Robert Lewis, Max Lucado, R.V. Brown, and Sharon Jaynes.

Filmmaker Alex Kendrick to his father, Larry:

“I don’t ever and have never wanted to be anybody else’s son. I’m proud of my dad, Larry Kendrick. You are a gift to me — for teaching me to love God— for demonstrating that yourself … I learned that from you. So, every book that we have written and every movie that we have made would not have been made had you not taught us to walk with the Lord. Thank you, Dad. I’m proud of you, and I love you.”

Former prodigal Andrew Palau, to his world evangelist father, Luis and his mother, Pat:

“Dad and Mom, I love you. I am so grateful that you never gave up on me. I just thank you for persevering through the difficult days — for having the boldness and the love for me to take me for the walk, and to plant that seed, and help me to know the truth that God did love me, and that He had a plan for me, and that He had made a sacrifice on my behalf. I thank you for writing the letters that you wrote to keep that at my attention.”

Evangelist R.V. Brown to his father, Daddy Fish:

“I want to just tell you what an awesome leader you were.  With no education, Dad, you taught me. You educated me on how to love — Dad, thank you for teaching me to farm, to take care of the people, and share whatever I have with all the people. Dad, I’m the kind of man I am today because of who you are, Dad. Thank you for loving Mama. Thank you for the leadership and authority in which you raised us. Thank you for the discipline. Most of all, Father, I want to thank you for that hug, and that kiss, and that rub on my little round head, and saying, ‘You’re going to be okay, son.’ Dad, I love you.”

Men’s Fraternity creator Robert Lewis, to his parents, Thomas and Billie:

“Thanks, Daddy, for saying, “I’m sorry,” when you wrongfully hit me in anger one day. You don’t remember the incident, I know; but I do. It’s deep inside me now, and it comes back to me every time I need to say those words to my children and my wife. Seeing that day in my mind makes that humbling process easier.

I owe you both a thousand ‘Thank Yous.’ 

I guess, if I were offered one wish, it would be for one crisp fall evening, with the smell of burning leaves, and the Bearcat game in the air. I would be outside enjoying the bliss of youthful innocence. Mom, you would be frying those oysters; and Daddy, you would be calling out for my pet dog, Toddy. So here’s to my imperfect family — one that fell short in many respects, but one whose love makes the shortcomings easy to forget. Here’s to the family that never had it all together — but one just perfect enough for me.”

If you haven’t written a tribute to your parents, we’d encourage you to do it while you still can.

If you’ve given your parents a tribute that you’d like to share with the readers of Stepping Up, we’d love to hear about it. Whether it’s something you’ve written or recorded on audio or video, just Contact Us here.

What makes a leader?



In creating the Stepping Up men’s video series, FamilyLife interviewed men in the New Orleans French Quarter, asking the following question:

“What makes a leader?”
YouTube Preview Image

Some of the guys in the video were on target with their answers, others were a bit off. Below, we’ve pulled some quotes, not from just any guy on the street, but from some men who have been intentional about their leadership.

. . .

“If you look in Ephesians, Chapter 5, and you look at the list of qualifications, really, for a husband — you look at this picture of what it means to be a Christ-like leader — basically, to lead a wife as Christ leads the church. You find that the picture is not just about a guy who pounds his chest and says, ‘Me man; you woman — me speak; you do.’ He’s to lead in love. He’s to lead in the Word. He’s to lead in righteousness. He’s to lead in selflessness, and he is to lead in intimacy.

“Most guys don’t understand servant-leadership from that perspective. So, it’s very important that when we talk about the way a husband is supposed to lead, we don’t just take the culture’s definition of leadership and superimpose that on the Scriptures. We have to get into the Word of God to determine what biblical leadership in the home looks like; and then look for an individual who understands that, as opposed to just the cultural norm.”

– Voddie Baucham, from “Discovering Biblical Leadership,”  FamilyLife Today® radio broadcast

“The statue is of William Leftwich. It is a statue of a man, with one arm pointed to his left — his rifle is in that arm — his body is clearly running in the direction of his outstretched rifle. His right arm is crooked; and it is beckoning those who, although unseen, are behind him. His head is pointed back at them. You can tell he’s yelling something. Below that statue, it says simply, ‘Follow me!’

“And that, I think, is a phenomenal picture of leadership. It is: ‘If you want to know where to go, watch me. Follow me because I will be doing what I ask you to do, and I will be leading the way toward a mission that is worthy of being accomplished.’ This man, ultimately, died in Viet Nam because he went on every rescue mission for the Reconnaissance Marines that he sent out. One day, on the rescue mission of the men he commanded, his helicopter was shot down and he died. He was doing exactly what he asked his men to do. When he said, “’Follow me!’ they listened.”

– Donovan Campbell, author of The Leader’s Code, from “Characteristics of a Leader,” FamilyLife Today radio broadcast

“Two words — serve and lead — may seem like a contradiction, but they are inseparable according to Scripture. While the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:23 that ‘the husband is the head of the wife,’ he quickly puts to rest any notions that this leadership allows any form of selfish male dominance. He completes the sentence with ‘as Christ also is the head of the church.’ Then the passage goes on to say that husbands should love their wives ‘just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her’ (verse 25).

“This paints a picture of leadership that is contrary to how the world views it. A man is called to be a servant-leader — to take responsibility for his wife and children and to put their needs ahead of his own. He is called to demonstrate selfless, sacrificial love — the type of love we see in God toward his children.”

– Dennis Rainey, “5 Ways Men Need to Step Up”

Broadcasts for men (and their wives)



Recently the FamilyLife Today radio program featured a solid week of broadcasts about Stepping Up to Manhood.  On the first three days Dennis Rainey spoke to men, and on the final two days Barbara Rainey told women five right and five wrong ways to help their husbands step up.

These powerful broadcasts for men (and their wives) are worth listening to.  Here are the titles, descriptions, and links:

Broadcasts for men - Dennis Rainey - FamilyLife TodayThe Power of a Father’s InfluenceThere is confusion today about the meaning of manhood. Dennis calls men to step up and be real men — strong, purposeful, and spiritual. Hear Dennis tell how a father’s influence can be the compass that points a boy to true masculinity.

Defining the Search for ManhoodThere’s something in a man that inspires him to be a warrior. Hear Dennis encourage men to give their sons a vision of manhood.

Taking the Journey Up the Steps to ManhoodDennis talks about the four steps that need to be applied to help a boy develop into a man.

Broadcasts for men - Barbara Rainey - FamilyLife TodayBarbara Shares “The Wrong Way” Women Can Help – Barbara Rainey, talks frankly to women about the five things that hinder manly development.

Barbara Shares “The Right Way” Women Can Help – Barbara gives wives five suggestions for encouraging their husbands toward manhood.

What makes a distinctively Christian marriage?



(as first submitted via an article found at FamilyLife.com)

Years ago, when I was a single college student and a young follower of Christ, I traveled with some buddies to Southern California.  One of my friends knew a family in Pasadena who offered us a place to stay.

I will never forget walking into this home in Pasadena.  Almost immediately I noticed that there was just something different in the atmosphere.

I had never met these people before, but within 20 minutes I felt like I‘d known them all my life. They displayed genuine hospitality, care, love, and graciousness that I had never seen in a home before.

Steppin Up FamilyLife - Bob Lepine Christian Marriages

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 we read, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  That’s what I could smell in that house — the fragrance of Christ in the lives of these people who had been transformed by Him.  I’ve never forgotten what it was like to walk into that kind of environment.

Now the question for us is: What does it smell like in our homes?  If folks walked into our houses, would the fragrance of Christ be present?  Do people look at our marriages and see and smell the aroma of Christ?

I believe there are two factors that give a marriage the fragrance of Christ — that make it distinctively Christian.  And both are impossible without the transforming grace of God.

1.  A uniquely Christian marriage has a different kind of purpose.

When asked why they get married, most people will say something like, “Well, we’re just in love.”  But behind that statement are a number of other reasons for marriage:

  • They’ve dated long enough, and marriage is the next step.
  • There are economic benefits from combining incomes into one household.
  • They want sex without guilt.
  • They are adults, and marriage is what’s expected.  (They want to get their parents off their backs.)
  • They want someone to take care of them.
  • They are lonely and need the companionship.
  • They want to escape a bad situation — abusive parents, pregnancy, etc.
  • Their biological clock is ticking, and they figure it’s time to start a family.

At the heart of most of these reasons for marriage is the big me.  People are getting married for self-centered reasons, not God-centered purposes.  That describes me as well.

In fact, that‘s the universal human condition. We are self-centered; and so our self-centered tendency, carried into marriage, creates two self-centered people trying to negotiate enough good out of this deal so that they can co-exist.

But there’s another, higher purpose for marriage that is stated well in Psalm 34:3:  “Oh, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!”  A friend of mine actually used that verse when he proposed.  I think he saw beyond his own natural selfishness to a greater goal for his life.

When you focus your marriage on exalting and glorifying God together, your relationship will become a vehicle through which people can smell the aroma of Christ.  It will be a demonstration of the gospel to the world — you will show God’s grace, His compassion, His forgiveness.

Now, is there companionship that comes along with it? Yes. Is there love and intimacy that comes into the deal? Yes, and I‘m glad for these things. But when you magnify the Lord together you will both say, “This isn‘t about us. This is about putting the gospel on display to a watching world.”

When you truly understand that purpose, it changes everything. I like how Paul Tripp puts it: 

“We were made to live upward and outward, but most of us live inward. When we can quit living inward and start living upward and outward, life changes.” When our marriage can be about upward and outward, things change.

2.  A uniquely Christian marriage has a different kind of love.

What does this distinctively different kind of love look like? Well, again, it starts with being God-centered instead of self-centered. It’s upward and outward instead of being inward.

To be more specific, Christian love is self-sacrificing, not self-serving love.  In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul writes:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

That kind of love is different than what the world knows.  It is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not insisting on its own way, not irritable or resentful, not rejoicing in wrongdoing, but instead rejoicing in the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Another way that our love should be distinct is that it should be a forgiving love, not a hard-hearted love. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

How many of you would say, “What I really want for my life is to be in a concerted partnership with the devil”? But that’s what you’re doing when you hang on to anger, resentment, and bitterness.

And then read verse 32 in Ephesians 4: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

A third way our love should be different is that it should be controlled by the Spirit and not by the flesh.  You can’t do this in your own power.  Regard your spouse as more important than yourself?  Forgive your spouse just as God has forgiven you?  Love your spouse by showing patience, kindness, and not insisting on your own way?  Try doing this consistently in the flesh for more than a day or so.

The only way we can have a different kind of love — and purpose — in marriage is to experience a true transformation in our lives. Here are the words that always come back to me as I think about the gospel and what God has done for us in Christ: He took those of us who were weighed down by sin and took the weight off.  He forgave us and freed us.  As we walk in that forgiveness and freedom day by day, He is transforming us more and more into the image of His Son. And in the process He gives us a hope that we never knew before we were saved by Christ.

These two unique aspects of a Christian marriage — a different purpose and a different love — are something we cannot manufacture by ourselves.  They are impossible apart from the transforming grace of God in our lives.  And when we experience this transformation, the world will notice something very different in our relationships.

 

Copyright ©2013 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

 

 

How women can help awake ‘the sleeping giant’



Following is the transcript from a recent FamilyLife Today radio program with guest, Kenny Luck, Men’s Pastor at Saddleback Church.  This is the 2nd of 2 programs that aired with Kenny Luck as the guest.  Bob=Bob Lepine, CoHost; Kenny=Kenny Luck; Dennis=Dennis Rainey, Host  (Note this is a transcript and has not been edited so it might read a little strangely in some areas)

Air date: January 8, 2013

Kenny Luck

Bob: Have you heard women around you bashing their man? What do you do when that happens? Here’s advice from Kenny Luck.

Kenny: Those of you who have a good, strong, godly man instead of when you’re at tennis club, or the coffee shop, or connecting with the toddlers—jumping on the band wagon of man-bashing, as the failed brand, you can step in and say, “You know what? I don’t know what you’re talking about. My guy — he prays with my kids. He loves and cherishes me. He honors me.” You know what your friends will say? “You know, I have a sister. Does he have a brother?”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, January 8th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today about men being men and about how women can help them be the men God wants them to be. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I’m thinking ahead. It’s about three weeks — three-and-a-half weeks — before the Super Bowl. You know, on Super Bowl Sunday, on the day of the game, you can pretty much count on the fact that most guys are going to want to kind of have that time blocked out and they’re going to want to watch the game. They are not going to be available to do a whole lot of “Honey, do” stuff around the house that afternoon; right?

Dennis: That’s correct. That’s correct.

Bob: So, I’m thinking of a wife who is planning for that weekend. She’s got the option of either her husband, on Saturday, doing all the projects around the house so that he can watch the game on Sunday; or she can send him to the Stepping Up® Super Saturday event, down at the church, that’s happening in their community. We’ve got hundreds of churches that are participating in this; but she’s not going to get any “Honey, do” lists done that day. What would your counsel to her be, Dennis?

Dennis: Give up the “Honey, do” list for a day.

Bob: How did I know that was what you would suggest?

Dennis: Give it up! I’m not trying to be a guy who is abdicating responsibility. I’m actually—I’m actually encouraging you, as a wife, to look beyond the “Honey, do” list and beyond to making an investment in your husband’s life—to encourage him, not discourage him— but encourage him to become the man God made him to be. If you send him down to the Stepping Up Super Saturday event—I can’t guarantee this because he’s got a choice—he’s got a real choice, and some guys don’t make it; but a lot will. I’d encourage you to send him down here and find out more information. They can go to FamilyLifeToday.com.

Bob: And by the way, as I said, there are hundreds of churches participating in the Super Saturday event; but there is still an opportunity for a guy to say, “Our church isn’t doing this, but I’d like for our church to do it.” You can still sign up.

Dennis: Exactly, Bob. Don’t wait for your pastor to sign your church up. Maybe, as a man, you grab the baton and take it to your pastor and say, “Let’s do this thing! Let’s make this happen in our community.”

I’m looking across the table, and there’s a guy asking for the microphone and the soapbox. Kenny Luck joins us. He’s the Men’s Pastor at Saddleback Church. He’s written a book called Sleeping Giant. He’s all over the issue of men stepping up. You believe women are important if men are going to step up; don’t you?

Kenny: Oh, my goodness, Dennis! When you guys were talking about —

Dennis: You were having a hard time being quiet.

Kenny: I was just saying — the hall pass — “Ladies, here’s the deal. When you do give permission for a desired activity — but more importantly, when you encourage your man to take ownership of his life — spiritually, relationally, maritally — in the context of other men, that’s when you get a solid result versus hinting, hoping, nagging. It’s just something where he feels that he needs to make that decision on his own — in consideration of you — but in the presence of other men, as an individual man. It’s that ownership-thing, where it is: “This is my decision, and I want to own it — apart from being in your presence — even though I love you — and apart from being connected to you as a husband and father, who has many shortcomings — I want to make this decision myself.”

So, when you were talking about “Hey, let him go. Ladies, let him go! It will be so encouraging to him,” — that’s the first point.

Second point was, I think, when we talk about waking the sleeping giant — when we talk about getting guys in and healthy, and what that means for the women and children — not just in our country, but worldwide — I think that women are going to be the accelerator of that. My feedback — thousands of emails from men — tells me that, many times, when they make a strong step toward health and God — that is met with cynicism, skepticism, or just ambivalence — maybe because of the past — maybe because of failed promises —

Dennis: Right.

Kenny: — in the past. I think, once men feel and hear from their bride — their sisters-in-Christ — encouragement — and also, women-to-women — where instead of — as you’re at tennis, or the coffee shop, or connecting with the toddlers — jumping on the band wagon of man-bashing, as the failed brand. Those of you who have a good, strong, godly man, you can step in and say, “You know what? I don’t know what you’re talking about. My guy — he prays with my kids. He loves and cherishes me. He honors me.” You know what your friends will say? “Does he — I have a sister. Does he have a brother?” You know? That’s what women are looking for. So, ladies, I just want to encourage you to, as we talk about this movement of men — healthy men — we need your voice because when we talk about it, it kind of falls flat.

Bob: You talk about the fact that the men’s culture in America is a broken culture. Do you think it’s always been that way? Do you think it’s true in other cultures? I’m just wondering — I mean we live in a broken world. So, at some level, everything is broken. But has there ever been a time when you’ve looked back and say, “They understood masculinity, back there, or over here, … you know?

To listen to the entire broadcast, click How women can help awake ‘the sleeping giant’

TO CONTINUE READING THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT, CLICK HERE

Men Stepping Up - Super Saturday Event
Copyright © 2013 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

www.FamilyLife.com

Protecting Your son from aggressive girls (part 3)



Aggressive girls and clueless boys. A dangerous combination. What should we do as parents? Dennis Rainey shares some insight.

Note: This is the third piece in a series of blog posts related to the growing cultural issue of girls becoming much more aggressive toward boys when it comes to relationships and sexual activity.  Yesterday, I outlined things you need to be aware of and some of the reasons we have come to this place in boy/girl relationships and how to protect your sons from aggressive girls.  Whenever I discuss this issue, parents ask me, “How do we address this issue with our daughters?”  That’s what I focus on today.

If you are raising a daughter, there are at least four things you should consider:

1)  Equip your daughter with a biblical, healthy, God-centered perspective of her sexuality. She needs to understand how her clothes and her behavior affect boys.  When girls are too flirty or too friendly with the opposite sex, they need to be told. If you witness this kind of behavior, rehearse it and relive it later on and talk about what it does to guys.  Explain what is appropriate in terms of a friendly relationship between a young lady and a young man. This needs to be done without being rude, but we cannot let our daughters get away with being overly friendly or overly aggressive.

2)  Moms, model what you teach to your daughters. You need to dress appropriately, the way you would want your teenage daughters to dress when they’ve matured. There is a mixed signal that is sent when a mom is telling her daughter to dress conservatively, but her own clothes call too much attention to her body.

3)  Dads, actively love your daughters.  Give your daughter words of affection, warm hugs, and gentle kisses that let her know that she’s sweet, you’re her daddy, and that no matter how big she gets and how mature she is, you’re never going to stop giving her those words and those hugs. No matter how threatening that may be as your daughter matures, you need to let her know that there’s a wholesome love through words and affection that occurs within a God-centered family.

4)  Appropriately correct inappropriate behavior.   Pray about how you should instruct her, help her, and correct her.  Then begin to train her as to what is appropriate and what isn’t. This could be everything from how she looks at guys, to the makeup she wears, to the clothing she wears.

One of the most important things I did with our daughters was to go shopping with them.  It was important for two reasons:  It showed me how difficult it was for them to find appropriate clothing that is modest and fashionable; and secondly, it allowed me to give my approval or disapproval before the purchase was made.

Whether you’re a mom or dad, and whether you’re raising boys or girls, your children need your love and guidance as never before.  They need to be loved when they don’t believe in themselves.  They need to be clothed in wisdom that morally protects them like armor.

What do you think about the nature of aggressive girls in relationships?  What have you done to prepare your sons, talk to your daughters and raise them both to honor God and His word when it comes to dating and relationships?

Check out this FamilyLife Today series on Aggressive Girls.

Protecting your son from aggressive girls (part 2)



Aggressive girls and clueless boys. A dangerous combination. What should we do as parents? Dennis Rainey shares some insight.

Note: As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog post, “Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys,” here’s another article that shares more help about how to protect boys from aggressive girls. This is not a crusade against young girls; rather we are dealing with a relatively new cultural phenomenon that many parents didn’t experience growing up and may not be adequately prepared to educate and help their children to face.

One of my primary responsibilities as the father of four daughters was to help protect them from losing their innocence, especially as they approached the adolescent years.  As part of this effort, I met and talked with nearly every young man who wanted to go out with my girls. I asked specific questions and challenged these young men to a high standard of purity.

These experiences led to my book, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date, which was published in 2007.  I received a lot of positive feedback from appreciative dads, but I also got something that I didn’t expect.  Quite a few parents contacted me to say, “I really appreciate the helpful advice for raising daughters, but we need something to help our sons deal with aggressive girls in this sexually-saturated culture.”

Read this mother’s frustration:

I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive 15-year-old son.  I have literally been 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?

Another mother wrote after hearing the FamilyLife Today™ broadcast we did on my book:

After listening to yourInterviewing Your Daughter’s Date program today, I’m wondering if you have been on a high school or junior high campus recently. While I agree with your points today, I have a seventh grade son. Let me tell you that the girls are relentless. So aggressive. He’s at a Christian school, and this is a problem. I can only imagine what it may be like elsewhere. Please address this issue.

Back when I was growing up, there were some girls who were called “boy crazy,” but very few were as forward and aggressive as what we’re seeing today.  Based on my conversation with parents, and what I’ve seen through research on the Internet, I think parents are facing some serious challenges.  We’re seeing more girls taking the initiative with guys at younger and younger ages, and aggressively attempting to lure them into sexual activity.  As I’ve done research on the issue, parents are telling me about groups of girls getting together and targeting young men.

Of course, I’m not talking about all young ladies.  But the situation has changed enough in recent years that we need to ask: How can we prepare our teenage sons for dealing with the attention and temptation being thrown at them by some sexually aggressive girls?

What in the world is happening?

What is going on in the hearts of some young girls that causes them to be so assertive?  I think there are several reasons for what we are seeing:

First, the culture is supporting it.  Movies, television shows, commercials, magazines, books … they all glamorize sex and intimacy and the right of young women to go after whatever it is they think will make them happy.

Second, we have a whole generation of young men who are confused in their own sexual identity. Are they supposed to be sensitive or aggressive? Leaders or helpers?  Many young men today are not being taught how to treat a young lady with nobility, dignity, and respect. Many are growing up without a father or male figure to provide guidance.  As a result, some of these young men have no idea how they should expect to be treated by a real young lady.

Third, the breakdown of the family has resulted in a whole generation of daughters who have been abandoned. And in the absence of a healthy, emotional attachment to their fathers and mothers, they’re trying to fill their emotional gas tanks with the opposite sex.

Finally, there’s little or no preparation for adolescence occurring among parents of preteens or early teens.  This may be the core problem.  When you ask parents of preteens how many of them would like their children to have the same experience they had in adolescence, there aren’t many hands that go up.  But those same parents often become increasingly detached as their children move into the adolescent years.

Teenagers need training to understand the culture, peer pressure, what’s happening internally with their hormones, and what’s happening with the opposite sex. That’s why we have resources like Passport2Purity® to help parents ground their children in the Scripture that anchors their hearts to withstand the winds of culture and peer pressure.

Protecting your boys

There are six assumptions you need to make in training and educating your sons in how to handle aggressive girls:

Assumption #1: Young boys are clueless to a lot of what is going on around them.  They need to be prepared for the reality of today’s world, and this preparation needs to start while they are still boys. This is why I’d suggest that mothers and fathers talk with their 10- to 12-year-old sons about how they relate to the opposite sex before they face the temptation.  There’s a much greater probability of success if you can have these conversations before the hormones hit.

Assumption #2: Aggressive girls will likely come into your son’s life.   The problem is that most parents won’t know it, because teenage boys don’t talk about anything. But it could be taking place in your son’s life and he’s just not letting you know, so you have to pursue him in the process.

Assumption #3: You, as a parent, need a proactive plan. That plan will involve fathers and sons, but …

Assumption #4: Moms, that plan needs to involve you. You know how girls think and you can help your son understand girls in ways that a father can’t.

Assumption #5: 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, it doesn’t stop after they get married.) Why? Because there are women who are still preying upon men who are married, and every man needs an older man in his life who is asking him, “Remember those conversations we had, Son? You’re a married man now, but that does not exempt you from temptation. How are you doing with that?”

Assumption #6: Your son needs a call to manhood.  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. And to do that, they need a mother and a father repetitively teaching Scripture and encouraging them as they do take these steps toward maturity.

I think one of the finest illustrations of this is in Proverbs, chapters 5-7. In this passage, the writer was reflecting back on conversations he had with his son about aggressive women. And over and over he basically says, “Listen, my son. Hear my warnings. Embrace what I say, because it’s important.”

The writer concludes the whole passage by saying in 7:24-27, “Don’t fool around with her, Son. Don’t go near her. Because she runs a halfway house to hell, and she has your grave clothes and your coffin, Son. Heads up. This is dangerous stuff we’re talking about here” (my paraphrase).

One other Scripture your son should be familiar with, and commit to memory, is 2 Timothy 2:22: “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

That passage is equally helpful for young men and young women. And while we’re on the subject, what if you have daughters — how do you keep them from being drawn into this culture of aggressive girls?  (Come back tomorrow to learn the answer.)

Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys (part 1)



Aggressive girls and clueless boys. A dangerous combination. What should we do as parents? Dennis Rainey shares some insight.

It was just a routine check. When Susan and Tom gave 13-year-old Josh his first cell phone, they told him that they would occasionally look through his text messages. But Susan was completely unprepared for what she found that Saturday morning.

She waded through a couple hundred short, inane messages, more than slightly confused by the shorthand that kids use when texting. She was struck by the fact that Josh and his friends seemed to text each other more than they actually talked. And then something different popped up. There was no confusion about this message: “If you could have sex with me, would you?”

Her mind spinning in disbelief, Susan continued looking through the texts. And a story began to emerge: While hanging out with some friends a couple of weeks earlier, Josh had met a girl from another school. They began texting each other the next day, and it was clear that she had quickly begun pursuing him sexually. With suggestive language, she talked about what she wanted to do with him, and within a few days she lured him into sneaking out of his house in the middle of the night so they could meet for sex at a relative’s empty apartment. “I’m wearing a thong,” she wrote. “Can you sneak out tonight?”

Susan was so stunned that she could hardly breathe. Josh has never had a girlfriend, never even kissed a girl, she thought. We’ve raised him in a good home. How could this happen?

In a daze, she found her husband and filled him in. He was just as shocked. They knew they would someday need to talk with Josh’s younger sisters about how to handle boys who wanted sex, but they never expected this.

A shift in our culture

Sex among teenagers is old news, unfortunately, as are the trends of aggressive boys pursuing girls, men pursuing women, and adult women pursuing adult men. But a growing number of parents like Tom and Susan are learning that something has shifted in our culture over the last few decades.

Increasingly, girls are aggressively pursuing boys — in high school, middle school, and even earlier — in numbers we never saw in the past. The rules have changed, and many parents are asking for help in how to protect their young sons. This shift has caught them by surprise, and they don’t know what to do. (Check out this story from the New York Times written back in 2002) here’s an excerpt from the piece: “Many girls attributed their forwardness with boys to the gains of feminism, which promotes parity between boys and girls in fields like sports and education. The message of empowerment has been translated by 15-year-old girls into the worlds of dating and sex, and while many girls approve, some of their elders are skeptical.”)

A few years ago, I wrote a book entitled Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. I challenged dads to man up and take steps to protect the purity of their daughters. Interviewing a young man who wants to date your daughter is a good way to filter out the undesirables, so to speak, and call young men to treat a young lady’s sexuality with respect and nobility.

After that book was published, I heard stories about fathers who stepped up and had some great heart-to-heart conversations with young men. But what I didn’t expect were the messages from readers and FamilyLifeToday® radio listeners asking for help in protecting their sons from aggressive girls. Here is a sample:

“We have three grown daughters and a 16-year-old son. You would think our family would have experienced plenty of aggressive behavior from boys toward our daughters, but nothing compares with what I see our son going through.”

“I have a 14-year-old son. He is contacted by girls all the time on Facebook and texts. One went so far as to take pictures of herself in scant clothing (in my opinion) and send them to him. This occurred without the knowledge of her parents and when my son was in seventh grade.”

“My 10-year-old son was enticed by another fifth grade girl via e-mail to open another e-mail account so that I couldn’t monitor it. But I found it and canceled it. She is sending e-mail messages and e-cards to him and two of his friends in a love quadrangle that she’s brilliantly orchestrated.”

“I have two sons who attend public school. Recently, they were talking at the dinner table about the girls that grab their butts in the hallways. My husband and I were shocked. They said, ‘Welcome to public school, Mom!'”

“I have a 13-year-old boy, an 11-year-old boy, and a 7-year-old boy. All of them have been pursued by girls. I think what shocks me the most is the encouragement from the parents of the girls who mistakenly think it is ‘cute.'”

“We recently were hunting for a church nearer to our home. We found a good one, except that girls in the youth group zeroed in on our son like heat-seeking missiles.”

There have always been girls who are flirty and crazy about boys, even some girls who could be labeled as “bad girls.” You probably remember a few from your own days as a teenager. But now, the “bad girl” problem is becoming more commonplace. Over and over, parents are expressing the same concern: Girls are pursuing their sons more openly and relentlessly than ever before. They are calling, texting, sending suggestive photos, setting up romantic liaisons … and they’re doing these things at a younger age.

I want to make it very clear that I am not placing all the blame for teenage promiscuity on girls. I also understand that parents need to protect their daughters from aggressive boys, especially as those boys move into the latter years of high school and beyond. A shocking number of men and boys have, and continue to be, sexual predators. I make absolutely no excuses for them. But I’ve heard from enough parents to realize that we also have a growing problem with aggressive girls.  And most parents tell me they just aren’t prepared for it.

The need for a plan

The fact is that many parents just don’t realize how little training they are giving their adolescent and pre-adolescent sons in how to relate to the opposite sex. I’m not just talking about sex education; our boys need to learn what to expect in adolescence — and beyond — and how to handle it. Temptation, lust, and sexual attraction are bearing down on them. They need to be prepared. You need to prepare them.

I wrote my recent book, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, to offer time-tested counsel to empower you to teach and equip your son to understand a biblical perspective of sex and how to protect himself from seductive girls who would do him harm. I write about three commitments you need to make as a parent that will keep you engaged in your son’s life as he moves through the years of high hormonal temptation.

And I discuss seven conversations you must have with your son. Six of these are founded on passages from the book of Proverbs and focus on helping your son understand what God says in the Bible about maintaining sexual purity. These conversations are intensely practical and will help you establish boundaries for your son and also prepare him for specific situations he will face with aggressive girls both now and later in adulthood. Each of these chapters ends with a suggested step-by-step guide for directing the conversation with your son.

They thought they had more time

Tom and Susan, the parents in the story at the beginning of this article, found themselves dropped in the middle of a minefield. Their son, Josh, had never even been on a date, so they were shocked to find that he had become sexually active. When they met with Josh and told him that they knew what was going on, he tried to deny the extent of his involvement. But the evidence was clear, and he finally admitted what he had done.

Tom and Susan immediately took away Josh’s cell phone, shut down his Facebook page, and grounded him from going out with friends for a period of time. They made sure he kept busy with school and sports, so that he wouldn’t have idle time. And they moved him out of his downstairs bedroom into a room upstairs with his little brother.

The wounds were still fresh when Susan related the story. “Josh knows this isn’t what God wants for him.” But the future seems unclear. How do you restore a child to a path of purity after he’s already lost his virginity … at age 13? They are praying that God will use the experience for good in Josh’s life.

“I wish we had known these things were going on,” Susan said. “I think we would have been more prepared.”

 

Adapted by permission from Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, by Dennis Rainey with David Boehi.  ©2012 by Dennis Rainey.  FamilyLife Publishing.

Check out this FamilyLife Today series on Aggressive Girls.

 

A tribute to Daddy Fish



I believe the battle for the family today begins with how men behave.  As men step up and man up, they will have an incredible impact on their wives and on their children.  And that impact will be felt for many years to come.  We need a movement of men stepping up.

A number of years ago on FamilyLife Today, we interviewed RV Brown, who heads up an outreach to youth.  RV was one of 17 children, and at the end of our interview I asked him to give a tribute to his father — to honor him for what he had done well.

RV-Brown-Sunday

I’ll never forget what he said to his dad, Willie Fish:

“Daddy Fish, I just want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, first of all, for loving my Mama, and then secondly, for loving me, and kissing me, and rubbing my little round head, and telling me to go to school, and everything was going to be okay.  And then, Dad, I want to thank you for taking me fishing — July the sixth, 1959, for the first time.  

“And Dad, I want to just tell you what an awesome leader you was.  With no education, Dad, you taught me.  You educated me how to love.  Dad, thank you!  I’m the kind of man I am today because of who you are.  Thank you for loving Mama.  Thank you for the leadership and authority in which you raised us.  Thank you for the discipline; and most of all, father, I want to thank you for that hug and that kiss, and that little rub on my little, round head, and you’d say, ‘You’re going to be okay, son.’  Dad, I love you.”

What a great illustration of a man who was courageous in stepping up to love and lead his family.

It doesn’t get much better than this.  This is the type of impact we long to have as men.  Men Stepping Up means a culture that will begin to change for the better.

Men Stepping Up

To listen to the FamilyLife Today program where RV Brown’s tribute is shared, click below:

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.