The Magazine in My Mailbox

I like to read my mail over lunch, just as I like the newspaper with breakfast. But if either arrives past mealtime I typically just throw it on the table to look at or discard later.

This was the case yesterday with the mail, but as I set the stack of catalogs and ValPak coupons on the table something else caught my eye and I froze.IMG_6085

Why was Maxim magazine being delivered to my house?                                                And why did the label have my 13-year-old son’s name on it?

I quickly opened my laptop and entered the subscription number and our zipcode to discover a year’s subscription, started in August with no charge.

No charge? On one hand that eased my mind, on the other it scared me to death. I mean, businessess are in business to make money so the only reason a product would be given away for free is a marketing ploy to pull in new customers.

This meant my son should not be unequivocally accused of ordering this subscription. But the fact savvy marketers have access to so much information to know we have a teenage son in the house is disturbing.

How brilliant to target him at this susceptible age of raging hormones to become addicted now!                                                                                                                How bold to think they have the right to send their unsolicited product!

Even though I immediately canceled this ‘complimentary’ subscription, the sad reality is my son will still see sexually-charged photographs and pornography. It is everywhere and hard to escape.

Scary fact is revenues for the pornography industry at its peak were greater than the combined worth of top technology companies: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink! The latest statistics show revenues have dramatically shrunk. But don’t get excited – the only reason for this is simply all the FREE porn accessible now online.

You can find all sorts of other frightening statistics on various websites. CovenantEyes is where I learned “35% of teen boys say they have viewed porn videos ‘too many times to count'” and that “more than 7 out of 10 teens hide their online behavior from their parents in some way.”

So, parents:

  • Does this mean we cast all blame on the industry?
  • Does this mean we think regulating cell phone and computer usage will keep it out?
  • Does this mean if we’ve warned our kids (it is not just boys viewing porn) about it we’ve done all we can?

No! We can come up with the most rigid of rules and talk about how bad it is and all the negative implications (which are many) until we are blue in the face and still not stop the desire going on in our kids’ hearts. It is only by God’s intervening grace their hearts can be turned from pornographic and sexual temptations.

So what then should we do?

Besides prayer, we must parent to their hearts and not just lay down “law.”  We need to identify with them in their struggles. Help them to see there is no shame in the temptation because God wired us to be exactly as we are, which includes males’ response to sight.

But in our temptations we are weak and that is why we need a Savior. He is the only One who was tempted and without sin.  My child needs to hear that.  My child needs to know I am for him and understand the struggle – even though it’s not my own struggle I know what it is like to struggle. I know what it’s like to be tempted and to give in to sin. And I know that if not by grace I would always give in to sin.

With that foundation my hope and prayer is my child will be more likely to come to me and not hide. That he can come confidently knowing I am not going to condemn him for his struggle, but instead can pray for and with him.

You may think that sounds idealistic, but my take on the reason our children hide their struggles and sin is the same reason we hide our own: we fear being judged and condemned.

Jesus Himself calls us to Come Boldly to His throne of grace. He offers unlimited forgiveness and grace and clothes us in His righteousness. He came not for those who think they are without sin, but for those of us who know we need a Savior. That is the truth I want my son to feast his eyes on!

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