Confession time. When I was in middle school, I was into sports (that's not the confession. Read on). I collected team hats, jerseys and considered being "knowledgeable about sports" a manhood rite of passage. So, my parents let me get a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Though my parents were diligent to screen the mail, I "happened" to visit the mailbox the day IT arrived. That's right, the annual swimsuit issue.
It didn't take me long to determine that these photos deserved to be on display on my bedroom wall (no, I was not very smart). I carefully removed each full page photo and taped them on the wall, just behind the door so they would be unseen when the door opened. I was well on my way to being a "real man." Until my mom came along. Who knew she would actually walk all the way into my room and look around?! It was either later that day or the next (I'm not totally sure), my mom opens the door and simply said, "Take the pictures down" and she left. A little surprised and honestly ashamed, I went about the task of removing each picture from the wall. For the record, I've never had another Sports Illustrated subscription since...maybe I'm not the sports fan I thought I was.
Well, here we are again a few decades later. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is out again. I do appreciate what Sports Illustrated does for sports, but frankly the swimsuit issue is too much for any man remotely concerned about his purity. Parents, take notes here. My mom did what any mom (or dad) should do - she expected more from me than to gawk at scantily clad women. She refused to allow me to become a man that treated women like sex objects. Parents, your job is no different today. You must be heads up. You must not take lightly things like the SI Swimsuit issue.
This is ultimately an issue of respect. We must train our children to have proper respect for themselves, others and, most importantly, Almighty God who made them and calls them to a life of honor. Who knows what the specific issue is going on in your home? I can assure you there is some issue that threatens the respect your kids have for God, others or self. This issue needs to be addressed quickly, clearly and firmly. Just the other day, I reached over and covered the eyes of my eight-year-old son because a Victoria's Secret commercial came on TV. I must physically guard his eyes in order to train him in what it takes to guard his own eyes. I must start now "carving a groove" of purity in my child's heart and mind that holds him accountable to being a respectful and honorable man.
Men, if you happen to take Sports Illustrated, I believe you can "opt out" of the swimsuit issue. I encourage you to. If you feel like you are less of a man if you opt out, you completely misunderstand manhood, in which case I encourage you to watch the Hero series I taught last summer.
Parents, be intentional...you've got 7000days®.
Feel free to share your comments to this post.
Follow Andy on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @makesense