Ok before I start its only fair to say that my daughter isn’t a teenager (she’s 4) and I’m really not a fan of Katy Perry at all. In fact I highly recommend NOT owning a single MP3, CD or whatever. But because Katy is a really talented singer who gets a lot of air time on the radio and I work with teenagers (and I can imagine my daughter being a teenager one day), I thought I would provide a little dad like perspective.
Here are five things I’d tell my daughter after hearing “Teenage Dream” on the radio…
1. You are beautiful just the way you are and I hope you find a man who accepts you for you… “without your make up on.”
You need to know that you are beautiful. Anybody can see that you don’t really need make-up… but I can understand you wearing it to make the other girls feel more confident about themselves. You are beautiful not only in appearance but in ways that really matter beyond how you fix your hair.
By the way there is nothing wrong with being beautiful. Your mom is the most beautiful woman I know. But just like your mom, your beauty goes beyond your appearance. Your real beauty shines when you are selfless and giving to others (I Timothy 2:9-10, I Peter 3:4).
Something you should know about guys your age is that some of them can talk a good game. Sometimes guys will say something like “your beautiful,” but they don’t always mean beautiful like a flower (that should be protected and put on display)… they mean beautiful like a good cut of meat (that should be cooked and eaten). My prayer is that God brings you a man who will appreciate your true beauty.
2. Sex is good and you will want to “go all the way.” But just because he seems like the right guy now, doesn’t mean that he is the right guy or that it is the right time. Wait for marriage.
God made men and women sexual beings. Adam said of Eve (before the fall), “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Being a woman is part of who you are and as a young woman it is only natural that you would have sexual desires. The key is not to ignore this fact, but to manage these new desires in a way that glorifies God. As a young woman who most likely won’t be married for several more years it is important to guard your purity and have control of your body.
Many guys are living life in transition and are mistaken in their feelings or they carry sinister motives and are trying to manipulate you. A young man worth your time will guard his words and will not lead you on. The woman pursued by Solomon in Song of Songs offers some wise advice here. She says, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Songs 2:7). Real love is patient and is evident in a young man’s actions long before it appears in his words.
3. Sex is not love. Inside of marriage it is an expression of love, but outside of marriage its an expression of impatience.
Adam speaks so gently about Eve his wife when he meets here for the first time. The first poem we have recorded is when Adam speaks to Eve and says, “She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23).
Marriage is the right place to enjoy the pleasures of sex to the glory of God and without shame. Sex in marriage can fuel intimacy, but sex outside of marriage will fuel frustration. At this point, after Adam says man shall leave his parents house for his “wife,” the Bible records, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).
4. Every Sexual sin is a sin against your body and you will carry scars for you your whole life.
Paul writes in the New Testament to, “Flee Sexual Immorality. Every other sin a person commits outside the body, but the sexual immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). We can do lots of things that will damage our body, but nothing is as personal as sex. When we engage in sexual acts outside of marriage they have a way of robbing us. Even if they are asexual acts (sexual acts that don’t involve physical contact with another person like viewing pornography, masturbation, etc…). We are to flee from even the temptation of these things. Sex was created as a means of intimacy inside of marriage, outside of marriage it tends to destroy. What was fun for a season causes people to become bitter, calloused, and hurt.
5. If you have ever crossed lines sexually (by or against your own will) please know that I love you and you can always come home.
When you were little I used to protect you from things that would hurt you. Sometimes I even had to make you angry in order to protect you from things you thought you could handle. Like when you 3 and wanted to use the meat cleaver to cut vegetables… You totally thought I didn’t get you or appreciate that you were just wanting to help. I knew you had the best of intentions, but I also knew that you were not ready… yet.
I knew that there would come a day when you would be fully able to chop vegetables on your own. My long term goal wasn’t to keep you from chopping vegetables, but to prepare you for it. If you had defied me and chosen to cut vegetables with a sharp knife you most likely would have cut yourself. If you had cut yourself I would have run to your rescue, held you tight in my arms and done my best to stop the damage.
In many ways as your dad I have set out to protect you. I have given you really unpopular rules not to keep you from an awesome relationship with a guy, but to prepare you for one. If you find that you have stepped beyond the rules or were forced beyond, and find yourself hurt… please know that as your dad my response will be to run to your rescue, hold you tight in my arms and to do my best to stop the damage.
This isn’t a get out of jail free card or an excuse to try somethings out. This is an honest plea from your dad to know that this conversation is not about sex, its about you. Katy Perry has an awesome voice, but the lyrics of her songs promise more than they can afford. When it comes to relationship advice, please listen to the old man who taught you how to read, tie your shoes, took you out for pancakes every Friday of your life and is still married to your mother… not Katy Perry.