As a dad to four boys (ages 12, 12, 10, and 8), I’m always on the lookout for good books to help me parent better. I also look for books to read with my boys to help them navigate some of the challenges in front of them. I especially look for books that will help them think rightly about relationships, purity, and how to treat women. One of my biggest hopes is for their stories to look very different than my story of growing up.
I looked at porn for the first time when I was 7 or 8 years old. By the time I was a student in high school, I was full-on addicted to porn, and for many years, it just about ruined my life. As a result, I developed a distorted view of women, relationships, sex, and marriage. Again, I want my boys to live a different story.
A few years ago, my paths crossed with a guy named Barrett Johnson. Barrett, along with his wife Jennifer, started a ministry for families called Info For Families to help equip and resource regular people from Imperfect & Normal Families Only (INFO). Their ministry creates books, videos, and curricula to help young couples and to help parents best lead their kids.
Barrett just released a book called The Young Man’s Guide to Awesomeness: How to Guard Your Heart, Get the Girl and Save the World. I read an advanced copy and just ordered two copies for my twins for us to read together this summer. He’s excited about this book, and he should be! A few things I like about this book, and then I want you to hear directly from Barrett:
- Each chapter includes a story from the life of David, some action items, and great discussion questions.
- Straight talk to guys – he doesn’t shy away from tough topics like porn or masturbation.
- Bonus videos through a QR code that go along with each chapter.
- A challenge in each chapter of how to be different than the patterns of the world.
- Johnson deals with the heart issues, not just the behaviors.
10 Unpopular Truths You Must Teach Your Teenage Son, by Barrett Johnson
My boys are quickly becoming men. Sadly, I have to confess that I haven’t always known how to help them grow up. The culture they are living in certainly hasn’t helped. This means that I have to talk to them about a few unpopular truths.
This list of 10 things has served as the outline for my new book, “The Young Man’s Guide to Awesomeness: How to Guard Your Heart, Get the Girl, and Save the World.” It has been designed to help teenage guys like yours start thinking about what matters in their lives. It’s also the perfect way to “tee up” these important conversations with the young man in your life.
Here are some of the unpopular truths that your son needs to know:
1. The choices he makes now have the power to set the course for the rest of his life.
He can’t afford to make the “I’m just a teenager” excuse. He needs to know that his life has already started and that the trajectory of his life is being set right now.
2. Porn is just as addictive as any drug.
Most every man wants to look, but the internet has provided your son’s generation with unlimited accessibility. That’s why 60% of our teenage guys are now addicted.
3. Masturbation is a habit that has the power to undermine his future marriage.
Our guys need to know that sex is best when it is given, not when it is taken. Young men who have a habit of masturbation are training their bodies and brains to be selfish. And selfishness gets in the way of just about everything in marriage.
4. He probably doesn’t need a girlfriend just yet.
Most teen romantic relationships are characterized by selfishness and sexual temptation. If the relationship is not going to help him to be more of what God wants him to be, then he’s probably not ready.
5. Sexual activity should be saved for marriage.
He knows the big reasons why his sexuality is precious and worth guarding. (Hint: it has nothing to do with pregnancy or STDs.)
6. Practicing the long-lost art of chivalrous manhood will set him apart.
Most guys in our world are consumers of girls. He needs to learn how to be a young man who guards, protects, and honors the women in his life.
7. God’s plan for your son’s life might involve doing difficult things.
Instead of filling his days with video game adventures and entertainment, he needs to discover the calling that God has for his life. It might be hard, but it will be good.
8. Walking with God is the most important thing for him to learn.
Through his life, he will hear plenty of voices telling him what’s important. Only One voice truly matters. That’s why it’s so important for him to know God personally.
9. He’s going to screw up sometimes. And that’s okay.
Too many of our young men believe that when they blow it, God is mad at them. So they distance themselves further from Him. Your son desperately needs to know that God offers forgiveness and a fresh start. Every time.
10. Life is short and he can’t afford to waste his life.
He may not have it all figured out yet (who of us does?) but your son can start getting his life moving in the right direction now.
Start Teaching Your Son These Things
If one or more of these truths resonates with you, you’re not alone. In our work with families, we often hear the frustration of parents who want to train their teenagers to not just blend in with their peers. They want to call their young men to a higher standard. We talk to dads who want to have these “talks” but who feel ill-equipped to do so. They don’t know where to begin.
These very themes (and many more like them) make up the bulk of “The Young Man’s Guide to Awesomeness.” We created a book that guys would want to read and that would open up some meaningful conversations between parents and their kids.
If you are looking for a way to introduce these “unpopular truths” to your son, then we invite you to put “The Young Man’s Guide to Awesomeness” into his hands and see what happens.
Barrett Johnson is the founder of I.N.F.O. for Families, a ministry designed to help “Imperfect & Normal Families Only.” (That’s basically everybody.) The husband to Jenifer and the father of five kids, he is committed to helping young men live awesome lives and to successfully navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Find out more at www.INFOforFamilies.com.
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