In November of this past year, 2011, I attended Timothy Eldred’s pre-conference seminar on youth-led ministry at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta. Since that time I have dealt with the ideas, concepts and challenges that Tim offered to us as we listened and talked. What is the purpose of Youth Ministry and the Youth Minister/Pastor? What is it that should be the goal of each? I can not say, not yet anyway, that I know all that I should be doing, but I will say that what I have been doing is not the answer.
Hooked: New Science On How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children by Drs. Joe S. McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush explores the data that has emerged in the area of neuroscience and the effect of sex on young people. While the book is based on some very “heady” scientific information, the book is written in a clear and accessible manner.
The book covers the effects of two chemicals that are released in the brain when sexual contact has occurred. Oxytocin is released in the female brain. It’s primary function is to bond a mother to her child. But, the studies conducted and consulted by the authors reveal that this is also the same chemical that is released when a woman interacts with a potential mate. Vasopressin is the chemical released in the male brain that has a similar effect in men. The primary function of the chemical is to bond the male parent with their offspring. However, vasopressin also has the added function of bonding the man with potential mates.
The authors do a good job of describing the processes involved in the release of the chemical and in their effects. And, while the majority of the book covers the scientific realities of these chemical releases, they do draw some conclusions from sociological-psychological sources that point to the connected effects of engaging in physical contact with persons of the opposite sex.
Probably the most interesting conclusion that the authors draw is that the science appears to validate many of the religious convictions regarding relationships, particularly that of abstinence and monogamy. What makes this so interesting is that they are making these claims strictly drawing from scientific studies and statistics. Other areas that are addressed are the increased risk to emotional health, psychological stability, financial gain, social engagement, professional advancement and overall happiness when young people engage in the practices of casual sex, serial-partnerships and co-habitation.
One of the more stunning statistics cited related to the total number of sexual partners. Continue reading Book Review | Hooked: New Science On How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children
An interesting reality check. I came across these statistics and was more than a little surprised. One of the fundamental roles that a parent has is in helping their child or children develop healthy sexual lives. If you have kids that can be such a daunting idea.
A 2011 study revealed a surprising source for teenagers to learn about sexuality—their parents. Here are some of the results of the research:
- 45 percent of teenagers rely most heavily on their parents for information about sexuality.
- 32 percent of those surveyed relied on guidance from friends.
- 15 percent relied on what celebrities thought about sexuality.
The study also revealed another interesting statistic: 78 percent of parents assumed that their teenagers would turn to other sources (besides parents) for advice about sexual issues. Based on these statistics, the study’s lead researcher concluded, “Parents are more important than they think. It’s the role of the teen to be autonomous and turn away, but it is the role of the parent to remain a role model.”
If you have kids it can be such a daunting idea to have these conversations. But, what do we want our young people to know? The more we communicate the clearer the message. We should not be so naive as to think that we are not communicating, especially on this subject. Having two daughters does not make this subject all that much easier. What I have been resolving within myself is that, as a family, this should not be a “private” matter. Something to be discovered and learned about by accident. I am not completely sure how it will all play out, but I am thinking about it and working to be prepared.
“Don’t become so enamored by the world’s agenda of success that you miss the spiritual growth and ministry appointments in your family’s everyday life. Then you’ll realize you’re not busy doing life, but busy doing ministry.” – Jack Fiscus in MORF Magazine (Issue no. 1, Fall 2011, p. 5)
*MORF Magazine is a free magazine for youth workers. You can subscribe on their site.