Ask Jonathots… June 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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When should children be told about sex? What do you think is the right age for a woman or a man to first have sex? Do you think couples should wait until they’re married? In other words, what constitutes a healthy attitude about sex?

Normally it would be difficult to answer three questions.

But let’s be candid–sex is about choice. The more choice you can involve in your sexual experience, the better off you are. Unfortunately, the present system, which is overly promiscuous in its entertainment and puritan in its educational approach, actually fails to teach the joy of choice.

For example, because children are not monitored well or instructed about their bodies, they often have their first sexual encounter by “playing doctor” or being abused by a relative.

Likewise, high school, which is really just a glorified bar scene, with people looking for ways to hook up and have an affair, leaves most students pressured to do things they have not selected.

So by the time people enter the adult world, they are either so confused or over-sexed that they don’t feel the compulsion for romantic encounters with their mate.

So in one way we revere sexuality, focusing on childish concepts by giggling and pointing, and on the other side we fail to realize the deep emotional and even physical pleasures of the experience because we were not taught how to make intelligent decisions.

I believe that children should be told about sexuality just as soon as their friends start tattling about it. I think the discussion should fall into three categories:

A. This is how your body works.

B. This is what you want to get off of the experience.

C. Therefore, these are the choices available.

As to your second question, it is rather doubtful that people will wait until they get married to have sex. That would be the ultimate choice made by a very mature individual who had selected a profile of virginity for his or her own advantage.

In other words, you will not hold back the burst dam of hormones simply by quoting scriptures or signing a pledge card. In that case people stumble into having “accidental” sex, which can be interpreted to mean more than it actually should.

Concerning a right age for having sex, we are all over the spectrum on this issue.

For instance, we have decided that a person is old enough to drive at sixteen, to vote at eighteen, and to drink at twenty-one. But the likelihood that they will involve themselves in sex before sixteen is very high.

So which one is actually more involved? Driving at fourteen, voting at fourteen, drinking at fourteen or having sex at fourteen?

When I raised my sons, I assumed that they were going to be pushed into sexual awareness by about fourteen or fifteen years of age. That does not mean this is the ideal age to have sex–but it does mean that every parent should be aware when the pressure mounts.

To have a healthy sexual attitude at any age, three things need to be in place:

  1. Wisdom about your own body
  2. Wisdom about your own choices
  3. Wisdom about all consequences

If those are in order, the door is opened for people to choose their romantic encounters, instead of being coerced into them by peer pressure, church regulation or just too much chance.

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Untotaled: Stepping 28 (September 14th, 1966) Cindy Kerns… August 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2330)

(Transcript)

Fat boy, locker room, peer pressure, fear of inadequacy, dirty jokes, girl talk, not enough information.

This was my life on September 14th. I was in search of bragging rights. Very simply, I needed a girlfriend.

Even though I was just a kid, I had reached an age where if I didn’t get some experience with the girl crowd very soon, I would be considered queer in every way.

So I picked Cindy Kerns. She was a year older than me, from another school and attended my church. The best way to describe her is to tell you that her mother called her a “flower.” The pastor’s wife referred to her as a “late bloomer.” But I knew the guys on my football team would think she was stink weed.

(All the terms have a botanical source, but certainly different interpretations.)

I knew I could get Cindy interested in me. I was no expert with girls, but because she followed me around and swooned a little bit when I was present, I figured she was interested. She was sweet.

So here was my plan: make my boast after showering, tell them about Cindy, and then acquire a picture from Cindy of one of her other friends from school–a cheerleader–which I could show to my friends instead of the real picture of my actual girlfriend. Then I could make lots of claims and look cool.

Amazingly enough, it came off without a hitch.

I don’t know why Cindy didn’t get suspicious about me requesting pictures of other girls from her school. I guess she just thought I was interested in her friends. She only asked for one picture–mine.

It made me feel bad, but not as bad as I would feel if I had to show my friends a picture of Cindy instead of some unknown beauty from down the road.

Once football season was over and I didn’t have to deal with these guys with their macho jargon on an everyday basis, I dumped Cindy.

But in that brief two-and-a-half month period, I grew to like her. I learned when to kiss, how to kiss and things to say to a woman at just the right times.

Adolescence is a terrible time to try to be a human being. In an attempt to become something that you probably will never be, you can really hurt other people from becoming what they could be.

So I would like to apologize to Cindy (who I am sure by now wouldn’t even remember who I am). And I would also like to apologize to the girl whose picture I used to impress my friends.

After all, it’s unfair to carry on a relationship with a stranger by photograph.

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Recess… November 8, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2061)

children playgroundThe bell rang. Time for recess.

I looked around the room into the faces of twenty-nine other young souls like myself, in Mrs. Arnold’s third grade class and realized that the ringing meant different things to each and every one.

Some were smiling, wiggling in anticipation. Others seemed resigned, as if bored with the prospect. And there were those who were terrified–fully aware that in a few short minutes they would be out on the playground with their peers, trying to compete and falling short of the glory of childhood acceptance.

  • There would be interaction.
  • There would be competition.
  • There would be challenges.
  • There would be ridicule.

It is part of the process. And as we pursue a much-needed campaign against the brutality of bullying, we must be careful not to hamper the interaction among younger folks when they are separated from grown-ups–an exposure that brings about the necessary evolution toward character, confidence and realization.

For when you discuss “peer,” there are three different categories. If you think that each and every time children fuss, argue and fight, it is wrong–bullying–you are disrupting the human jungle that DOES provide a great barometer for cleaning out abnormalities and setting apart better paths.

For instance, I failed to be called a “fat boy” enough in school to rid myself of obesity. I was TOO well-liked, too personable and in some ways, too talented to be challenged over a weakness that has now plagued me my whole life. It should have been taken care of by:

1. Peer presence.

This is just the blending of kids getting together to discover solutions on the best way to get along. It is characterized by talking. This is why sometimes it’s stupid in school, to tell kids to be quiet. They are trying to find a way to blend with each other. Not everything can be solved by an adult guidance counselor. We need our friends to talk with, to blend with and to discover solutions. And sometimes this leads to:

2. Peer pressure.

It is essential in the human race that we learn how to bend. We must discover our differences and even be willing to argue about them in order to produce adequate compromises. Too many teachers think that because kids are arguing, it’s a sign of severe difficulty. The truth is, peer pressure teaches us to bend, acknowledge our differences, and if necessary, fuss our way through them.

I certainly agree that peer pressure can go too far and can lead to the promotion of violent behavior. But I will also tell you there is no person who appears to the youngster to be old, who can intervene and produce the results that they can hammer out, on their own, together.

When you live in the adult world, the only power you have over the young is to teach them right, wrong, manners and gentleness. Then they must go out in the midst of peer pressure and work out the specifics. Occasionally this can get carried away and lead to:

3. Peer persecution.

Some kids feel compelled to bind other children by bullying them.  How can you identify what’s bullying and what is viable peer pressure?

Bullying is when the arguing stops, one person ceases to speak and becomes the target of the other one, who dominates.

That’s right. If two kids are arguing, give them a chance to work it out. But if you come across two kids and only one of them is yelling, ridiculing the other child, who is standing there, without speech, just taking it–you have just come across bullying.

It is a mistake for people who are no longer in school, no longer youthful and no longer understand the playground, to try to come in and make things right for everybody by keeping things calm and on an even keel. You are just making matters worse. Learn the difference.

  • The young students in our country need peer presence. They must be given a human mixer to blend, discovering solutions.
  • Sometimes this leads to peer pressure, where kids will argue, trying to bend to one another’s inclinations, and in the process, uncover differences which eventually are included in the flow.
  • But we should never let it go into peer persecution, where one kid binds another one up with bullying. This is easily identified by the absence of the persecuted child offering any verbal defense.

I recently heard about a young man who felt he was being bullied, so he committed suicide. Here’s my problem with that: why wasn’t there a climate where this young man could express to his parents, family or teachers his need for assistance?

And why are we attacking the very delicate procedure of peer interaction, trying to eliminate anything WE would consider negative, just because in this case, the system failed one young man?

I am saddened by his death, but alerted to the fact that the problem here was not just bullying. It was a fellow who didn’t think he could argue back to the peer pressure, and also did not feel that anybody outside the playground would either hear or have the power to change his circumstances.

We need peer presence. Students must learn to blend.

I think we need some peer pressure, to bend, where kids have the chance to produce some of their own solutions through argument.

What we do need to stop is peer persecution, binding, where one person is silenced as the others continue to rail against him or her.

Can we make these distinctions? If we can’t, we need to stop calling ourselves parents, teachers and leaders.

Our society is overwrought. Some things are necessary to create the cultural revolution in each generation that progresses the idea of humanity instead of trying to keep everything calm, but stalled.

I know it is possible. I did it with all six of the sons I raised. I let them blend and I let them bend. Only when they began to bind each other with persecution did I step in. Because of that, I think each one of them has grown up with a better understanding of who he is and how he fits in.

Bullying–it’s when one person stops talking and runs for cover, only to be chased by an assailant.

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