At the beginning of my teaching career (august or so) I learned about a unit that was done in February called purity week. Not really knowing what that meant, I just kind of looked over it and decided I would figure it out when the time came. Little did I know that it would turn into one of the best two weeks of the school year we have had.
“Please don’t show that Ted Bundy video again” one of my students commented when I mentioned that we were getting ready to start purity week. This video brings back haunting memories to all of the 8th graders last year. Apparently it was a “Focus on the Family” video (I would be scarred too) that interviewed Ted Bundy and talked about how he watched pornography which led him to kill people. After hearing this, I knew that I was going to be up against a challenge.
Having this challenge in front of me, I decided to follow what I was learning in Men’s Fraternity and talk about mans sinful nature and the state of manhood today. It started out slow but picked up some steam towards the end.
The hard thing about teaching this touchy subject is the parents. I had to kind of tip-toe around some issues that I wanted to talk about, the parents said that a 22 yr old doesn’t know anything and he is not talking to my child about purity.
With this problem in front of me I decided to start what I called a “man lunch.” With their parents permission students could attend a more “in-depth” time of discussion. This time turned out to be the best part of man week. Questions were submitted and answers were attempted. We had great discussions about girls and dating, life as a man, and other sensitive material.
We ended man week with a ceremonial lunch. Gathering all the parents and 7/8th grade guys together for a “last supper” style lunch. I handed out certificates that had the definition of manhood on it: 1) reject passivity 2) accepts responsibility 3) leads courageously 4) expects a reward, God’s reward. As well it had some symbols on it. First it had a cross, saying that we had to die to ourselves and our sinful nature. Second, it had the word “oath” on there saying that we were taking an oath that we will pursue authentic manhood. Finally, it had the word “calling” and an arrow pointing up, symbolizing the calling up that they were being called to. At the bottom of the certificate it said “Hold the Line,” meaning that they need to stand together in their pursuit of manhood.
If you want to see the certificate, click here.
The ceremony went great, the week went great. This was one of the most beneficial times for me as well as the guys. I love discussing issues that we as guys face and how we can conintue to work through them.
There were some things I learned from man week:
1) There is a wide view on how old “kids” should be to talk about this stuff.
I understand that they are the parents and I am not. And I also understand that they know more about their son then I do. But I heard wide varieties of what they thought was appropriate and not appropriate for their little sons. I would ask them what age they thought it would be good to talk about this? “Probably 16” one parent told me. Kids are developing younger and younger and hitting pre-pubescence around age 8 or 9. I have found that students have questions, and are looking for answers. If not answered by their parents they move to somewhere else to find the answers. I don’t have any kids (that i know of, kidding) so I am not speaking from experience, just what I have seen. I feel like we need to give them a Godly perspective on what God has given us.
2) Any time you talk about Girls, guys listen
It was amazing, you could hear a pin drop in the classroom. I have never heard these guys that quiet before. Most of them wanted to talk about it for the rest of the year.
3) We need a new definition of what being a man really is
I found that a lot of guys thought that being a man happened when you got married or had kids (or did the thing you have to do to have kids….SEX). What I found was that they were highly confused as to who they were. Am I a kid, a teenager, a young man, a man? Who am I? With this issue being pressing, I realized that it was important to look at two men in the Bible, the first Adam and the second Adam (Jesus) and see how they were men and what they displayed as being a man. We contrasted their actions with our definition and then came up with a plan on how each one of us can live this out. I have also found that not only girls have identity crisis, but guys do as well. When these two get together, they create a huge problem.
4) Guys are the remedy for the future
I love that word remedy (probably because of David Crowder) but I really do believe that if guys followed what was taught in the Bible about manhood things would fall in line. I have a huge heart for girls and ministry. Probably because I have two younger sisters and I want them to have what is best. But there is one problem, I am not a girl (no comments please) and so for me to work with girls is really hard and inappropriate, I wont be affective. But I know that if I can work with guys, girls will follow. Guys are the problem and guys can be the remedy (with Jesus in their heart). Seeing the affect of not having a father through the statistics of many men, and even seeing the affects of having a father but having an absent father. I have realized that the hope of the world (besides Jesus) is guys. I am not pumping up guys egos here. Actually I am putting them down a little. I am putting pressure on all guys shoulders to lead and be men that God has called them to be. I am excited about the possibilites that are to come.
The week was awesome. The guys seemed to really step up and take the challenge and watch what they say around girls and how their actions affect girls. I hope that they will continue to “Hold the Line” and be a Man.