The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Appendix A

A Note to Parents and Teachers

            It may be tempting to just give this book to your teenager and say "Here, read this." However, unless your teenager is different from those I know, it won't work. The book will never be read. After all a grown-up thinks this is good for him and we all know how boring other "good for you" books like Shakespeare and Longfellow turned out to be. Another bad tactic is to stress how much the book will teach him about things he doesn't already know. Most teenagers are inflicted with the disease of thinking they know everything. Reading the book would be admitting that they don't know everything about sex. I strongly recommend sitting down for a hour or so a day and studying the material with your child. This is the only way you can guarantee that the Scriptures are read and understood. If you insist on having your child study the material on his own, the best suggestion that I heard is to sit down in the evenings and read the material where your son can see you and then leave the book out on the coffee table. After a few days, his curiosity will lead him to look inside and I hope the book will be interesting enough to hold his attention. Don't mention the book until you know he has been reading it for a few days. I would then suggest asking what happened to the book and begin talking to him about the contents.

            I have a few suggestions for using this book as part of a class, whether in church or at home with your own children. When the boys have reached puberty, around the age of 13 for most children, place them in a separate class to teach them this material. Both the students and the teacher will find the material in this book embarrassing - too embarrassing to talk about in detail if women are a part of the class. Another book is available that addresses the same topics and Scriptures from the female point of view. Please use the other series in a separate class for the girls when they reach puberty.

            The material in this book assumes that the boys have already reached puberty. Many of the things talked about will not make sense to a boy who has not yet experienced an erection. This book will answer many questions every boy has when they find out they are changing into men.

            I urge you not to postpone the material too long. The public school system, television shows, and peers will be teaching the boys many things that would be best to straighten out early. We also know that many children begin experimenting with sex shortly after they are capable. The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior published in 1993 found that 19% of all men reported having had sex before the age of 14! In addition 74% of all men reported having sex before the age of 18! Even more disturbing is that these numbers are rising over the years. It is better to prevent a sin than to restore someone from that sin. By the way, the region with the worse statistics is the South where 82% of all men reported having had sex before the age of 18!

            When teaching the material, have the students take turns reading each passage aloud. Don't trust that these verses will be read at home. After each reading, explain the meaning of the phrases that may be confusing to the students. Most boys don't recognize the terminology dealing with sex; they have just become fully aware that sex exists and is relevant to them.

            Don't count on long class discussions. If you think this material is embarrassing, the boys will find it even more so. I have found that the students will tend to answer direct questions in as few words as possible. Although I encourage the boys to ask any question that they may have, and I give them frequent opportunities to ask those questions, they are too embarrassed to put their questions in verbal form. Watch their body language to see if they understand the material.

            Expect a good bit of squirming in class. Talking about sex will cause the students to have frequent erections, which are both uncomfortable for young men and a cause of embarrassment. Also, expect some interruptions during class for visiting the restroom. Becoming aroused tightens muscle around the bladder and will cause a boy to feel the need to urinate.