This past weekend I was invited to be the weekend speaker for the Oregon Conference Youth Bible Camp. It was held at the Young Life Washington Family Ranch in the middle of nowhere Oregon. The nearest town is Antelope (Population 46). The Young Life campus sits on over 100 square miles and was once owned by the crazy red wearing cult known as the Rajneesh.
I’d never been to the camp before and was surprised when my GPS said I still had an hour drive after I reached the middle of nowhere. So I drove down this lonely road. It was an amazing drive and I stopped several times to take pictures. I eventually reached the camp and was stunned at the oasis for youth that Young Life built. When planning to leave, I asked if there was an easier way to get to civilization. The answer, “one way in, one way out”. There was a back way but it was closed because it wasn’t safe anymore…and, it went in the opposite direction from civilization.
As I traveled out on Sunday, following a parade of buses, it reminded me that certain key destinations in parenting also don’t have shortcuts. The long way is the only way.
I had the privileged of meeting and sharing our seminar on technology with Dr. Mark Lasser, President and Director of Faithful & True. I asked where Project Patch should focus in helping parents in the area of protecting their kids from pornography and it came down to two things.
- Parent needs to have their own healthy sexual boundaries.
- Parents need to be in a close relationship with their kids.
Without these two things in place, no amount of monitoring, education or discipline will help stem the tide of the pornography plague. There aren’t any shortcuts to a parent’s purity. It requires work, time, focus and a lot of attention. There also aren’t any shortcuts to having a close relationship with your child. It takes time to build trust, gain understanding and be able to communicate clearly. It takes what Emerson Eggerichs calls “Face to Face” time and a lot of “Shoulder to Shoulder” time. Face to face time is that intense conversation that most women crave. It is discussion and feedback eye to eye. Most men crave shoulder to shoulder time in which you are more focused on doing and togetherness rather than talking. There is no shortcut to talking with your kids without distraction and also doing things and being together.
I’m not writing this to discourage you, because the good news is that now is the best time to start to journey. Stop looking for shortcuts and start driving. I’ve spent hours trying to search for shortcuts that don’t exists. Once I finally do the job the long way, I discover that it wasn’t that long and I should have just done it that way in the first place. So get going, put time on our schedule for both shoulder to shoulder time as well as time for face to face conversation. Also, if you are needing help with your own purity, take a look at the resources that Dr. Mark Lasser has available.
Get going, you won’t regret the trip.