I was overjoyed to be able to share, last Wednesday, to a group of public high school students here in the Tucson area. My job; talk to the freshman boys about the problem with disrespecting there fellow female classmates. I find it so ironic, that I get to do this. All I can remember as a young boy was listening to heavy metal and thinking of how to get closer to the girls I was infatuated with at the time. I was horrible, I think, from what I can remember. I wrote nasty letters at times, and certainly had potty brain. You know what that is right? It’s when a young man’s brain can’t stop thinking about bad things with his female classmates. So you can see how odd it was for me to share with the class. But that was 30 years or so ago now. Much has changed, and the 23 years of marriage I have experienced has been such a joy!
I was very excited to share my stories with the young men. But first I needed to get them off on the right footing. Many don’t know about the women’s suffrage movement in North America or the lack of respect for women world wide that takes place today. Statistics tell us that 1 out of 3 women in the world face violence or sexual violence at least once in there lifetime. Even if the statistic was 1 out of 6, it’s horrible. In the U.S. intimate partner violence between ages 16 and 24 experience the highest rage of violence, triple of the national average! Campus assault studies estimate 1 our of 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years. Way, way, way too much. A study reported in New York Times that 1 in 5 adolescent girls become the victims of physical or sexual violence, or both, in a dating relationship! Insane!
So as the world becomes more tolerant of many lifestyles, we still have a big problem with our hearts. They suck. They did years ago, and they still do.
So I asked these students what they thought it would be like to grow up in a culture where the odd’s are somewhat against them. Many girls will be hit or sexually abused. Don’t be too quick to blame things like porn for this. For starters, porn has always been in the world. Second, today’s technology maybe more to blame for the porn then anything else. The young men could see the predicament girls are in. It’s tough to be a young woman today, or any time in history!
As a kid I can recall some moments that my family is not too proud of, where violence happened. We learned from it and are stronger people today. But in the moment when watching violence against a mom, sister or girlfriend can be hard core traumatic. Too many girls are vulnerable to this assault.
We learn from our families, friends, and entertainment culture don’t we. I challenged the students where they get there ideas of girls from, and what ideas do these cultural teachers teach them! What do we learn from our parents relationships. Many do not enjoy one another. And some even detest the other. Even worse is when they show it through verbal assaults in public.
It was interesting to share with them what I had seen amongst friends in High School dating relationships. Some were downright toxic. So I wondered, “do the students that I was talking to have friends in toxic relationships as well?” More than likely, a percentage do.
To challenge the kids on our culture, I read off a bit of Queen Latifah’s famous lyrics to U.N.I.T.Y.
Instinct leads me to another flow
Everytime I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho
Trying to make a sister feel low
Many of the young men knew who she was. Of course, they think of her as an actress and not so much as a rapper, like in my youth. But they got the picture; Queen Latifah had a message and it was if you disrespect me, I’m going to respond! She was tough. And I only wish that toughness was in more young ladies.
What many did not understand, was that lust is a form of disrespect. Q.L. got it, but many young men don’t. They think it’s OK to see a girl walking down the hall of there school and shout out what they want to do to them. I understand, I did it too. But what was wrong with me, was a heart issue, and that is what I shared with them is revealed in the young men who say what they say to the girl walking in the hall. So it was my joy to let them know that when you disrespect a young woman, what you are declaring to the world is that you have an issue with your heart. It’s corrupt, it’s evil, it is non-loving, it is selfish to it’s core and in order to change it, the first thing you need to do is see it for what it is.
My heart for these youth was that they understand the real danger underlying the disrespect of female students in there school or lives. The real danger is that you can’t just turn off dis-respect. Selfish Lust in the human heart will not just go away when they find someone they really love! There is no easy switch to turn it off or on, it is a learned behavior through family, friends, and culture that will not just vanish when you find someone you love. One day I really wanted to love a person. She was awesome, sweet, loyal, loving, kind, but I didn’t know how to be those things. I wanted to be, but there was too much time of being educated in the ways of dis-respect that I was admittingly unable to go a different direction. For me it took breaking up with her, and having to leave the state, just to be taught a different way for a time. I needed to re-learn, a new education, and a new teacher.
I commend the school for having the opportunity for someone (let alone me) to share with the students. This topic is so important. When I have had the opportunity to go into the Jr. High schools, young ladies tell me that they are asked for nudes by there fellow boy classmates. This is a regular trend. Lust has always been the human condition, but technology has made young men bold to ask. Sexting it is called. It is easy to do. Snap a picture and send it. Done.
What technology has done is made it very easy to fulfill lust in the heart. Also, create a less risky condition that tempts us to give it a try. For me to ask a girl for a picture of her nude in 1985 would have meant she needed to go find a camera, take a picture, go to get the film from a market and then hide it, and give it to me. Way to risky for most, even with the lustful influences in our lives.
We are in constant growing pains with the technology today. So fast does it come out that we can’t seem to socially figure out how to manage it before it takes it’s toll. We have a human condition and a multitude of ways to express it.
Lastly, I shared that there is something that is forfeited when we give into lustful, dis-respecting inclinations. It’s love. And that is profound. Because love is the best thing on this planet to experience and few experience it or much of it. Too many do not know Love. What examples of love do they have? I encouraged them to find it, search for love. It will be the best treasure hunt they will ever be on. And if they do just that it will run them to no other person than Jesus, from the little country of Israel. It did for me! A love that is so compelling, so complete, so intense that I couldn’t rap my head around such love.
If we were all more like Him.