We are wired to remember object lessons. It's basically all Jesus used when he preached. Many of the parables in the Bible are object lessons. So when I was asked to speak on pornography in our youth service at church, I used an object lesson to help the kids remember the point I was making. I preached that sermon nearly six years ago and I still will have teens who are now in their 20's tell me that of all the sermons they heard, the one that I preached on pornography they never forgot.
What I did is: I went to the local wig store and bought a styrofoam head that they use to display the wigs on. Then I got a branding iron. I wanted one with a "P" on it, but couldn't find it, so I settled for one with a "V" on it. As I spoke I had the lights set low. The kids did not know it, but while I was speaking I had a guy with a grill heating up the branding iron. He kept it in the coals until is was glowing red hot. When I signaled for him to come in, he came into the youth building carrying the glowing red hot "V" branding iron. I held up the branding iron in one hand and said, "This is pornography." I then held up the styrofoam head in the other hand, "This is your brain." Then I brought the two of them together and said, "This is your brain on pornography." When the branding iron came in contact with the styrofoam it smoked and put off a terrible smell. I also used the smell as an object lesson, telling them about how we as Christians carry with us the aroma of God, but pornography carries with it the hideous smell of death.
Then I explained to them that pornography sears your brain like a brand. When you look at pornographic images those images are seared on your brain forever. Because God created us as sexual beings our brains don’t function the same in the area of pornography. Why is it that when you study for a test, after you take that test two days later you can't remember what you studied, but with pornography, images that you have seen years ago you can still pull up in your brain? It's because pornography sears your brain and you can’t erase a sear on your brain, because once something is seared it is permanent.
I would like to challenge you parents with kids in the house ages 11 - 19 to do this object lesson with them. It just might be the most important lesson that you can ever teach them. Perhaps it will save them from years of misery, guilt, shame and remorse. Our kids are being inundated with adult content at younger and younger ages. If they are going to not just survive but thrive, we must TRAIN them up. Training takes TIME and INTENTIONALITY.
With this generation of teenagers you can't say: "JUST SAY NO!" It does NOT work. What this generation of teenagers want to know is WHY should I say "NO"? They want to know what's in it for me. How will saying "NO" benefit me? And I think they are right. It shows respect (which is the number one thing that teenagers crave) when you take the time to explain to them WHY they should say no, and how saying no benefits them. But you can't be a passive parent and be equipped with the answers your teenagers need. You have to stay up on what's happening in their world in order to know how to to relate to them. The way I did that was by serving as a youth deacon at my church for the past 14 years, as well as educating myself by listening to podcasts like "Boundless" (target audience 18 - 30), as well as Focus on the Family podcasts that deal with teen issues that are relevant to this generation.
For all you country music lovers out there, I would like to recommend a new CD by Guy Penrod, called "Breathe Deep". Song 1 is about marriage. Song 2 reminds us to "Pray about Everything". Song 3 "Young Enough to Know Better" is about abstinence. At first I just downloaded one song. After previewing several of the songs I bought the CD. I love it!
I highly recommend it. It's a great reminder to be intentional about our parenting goals and strategies.
Being a mom is the most important thing I have ever done,