To anyone who knows me personally, I can imagine them laughing out loud at the notion of me comparing myself to professional athletes. Our common denominator lies not in our physique, but in our values when it comes to saving sex for marriage. There are some fantastic ways in which we can use all the media hype regarding these incredibly talented athletes as teaching tools for our kids.
1. Set them up as heros or role models, not idols. We all are desperate for strong, virtueous, ethical Christian role models for our kids. And there seem to be so few of them in society, that we often go overboard when we do find someone. Hopefully many of us learned this lesson with the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus a few years ago. They were put on ridiculously high pedestals, as the ultimate ideal of what a pure teen should be, or look for in a spouse. It sounds crazy to say that now, but many of us as parents were part of this. Many were ultimately disappointed in the choices they made. Let me say the unthinkable: what if, someone like Tebow were to make unfortunate lifestyle choices in the future? Would your son or daughter be crushed, and discouraged in thinking that if he failed, so will they? Now, I am not suggesting that you don’t highlight the virtuous character of Tim Tebow to your sports crazy son. Absolutely cheer Tim on, but don’t set him up as an idol.
2. State very clearly how you may agree/disagree with their choices, in a way that doesn’t suggest “holier than thou”. For example, while I applauded Lola Jones for her strong stance in saving her virginity for marriage, I also let my kids know I never wanted to see them pose partially nude for ESPN as she did. On a different note, I thought it was fantastic that Jennifer Nichols not only is saving sex for marriage, but she took it a step further by saving her first kiss for her fiancé. Bravo!
3. Don’t even joke about “setting them up”. We all want our kids to have great, pure spouses. But it does NOT help your child’s emotional purity to suggest she would look great with Tim Tebow.
No matter how tempting, don’t use the cool “pure” celebrity as the motivation for your children to live a pure lifestyle. The motivation needs to be first and foremost to be pure before God, and to have a deeper relationship with Him – any other motivation is sure to set them up for disappointment.