What Are Teenagers Thinking?

Our oldest daughter brought her first boyfriend home recently.  He’s a great kid with a bunch of really likable qualities.  But when I asked my daughter what she liked most about him, the first thing that came to mind was how he drives to our house to pick her up, about 30 minutes away from his home.  I was flummoxed.  That seemed so insignificant to me.  I’ve been married 18 years and will still drive home 45 minutes from work to pick my wife up for a dinner event back in the city at night so that we can be together on the ride.  But my daughter lives in a different world.

You don’t understand, Dad.  None of my friends’ boyfriends pick them up.  If they want to go out together, they just meet up at the place they’re going,” she said.

What are these kids thinking?   Parents of teenagers have advised me that this is because of how our culture has changed.  Girls are raised to be more assertive, more in control, more independent.  Boys don’t get rewarded for chivalry any more.  I get that.  You won’t find many young women with stronger leadership qualities and purpose than my own two daughters.  But how does that preclude a generation of young men from also exercising those same qualities — to show purpose and leadership in pursuing the affection of young women?

I think something much more treacherous may be going on.  Could it be that the easy accessibility of pornography, coupled with the barrage of sexual images forced on young men at every turn, has stultified their collective libido?  It used to be that guys didn’t want to have to wait until marriage to have sex.  Now it seems like they don’t even want to wait for girls at all.

Best-selling author Shaka Senghor was asked by Daily Show host Trevor Noah about the first thing he did when he got out of prison after 19 years.  Noah quipped that the first thing he would have done would be to look at porn.  (See the 4:00 mark when you click here)

The late Chris Kyle, the legendary SEAL of American Sniper fame who was also a married father of two, writes in his autobiography that his time between travels in the war was spent watching porn and playing video games.  The voices of these men are heard and read by millions, and they act as if pornography is a completely normal and acceptable thing to do.

We are raising our son to see it as neither.  We urge him to see it as more dangerous to his health and soul than drugs and alcohol.  It may not be an easy trap to avoid, but with prayer and diligence, it can be—despite how much the world suggests otherwise.  If he successfully avoids this snare, I’m pretty sure he too will be driving to pick up his girlfriend for their dates, and his wife for theirs, with gratitude for a healthy marriage and a life well-lived.