It Ain’t My Fault

It-Ain't-My-FaultOxford Dictionary just released their brand new “word of the year” for 2016, and it should serve as a sobering slap in the face as to exactly how irrational and foolish we’ve become.

The word is post-truth.

The definition is basically this: who cares what’s true. It’s only what “feels right” that matters (see Romans 1:18 for an expanded definition).

We just posted our brand new Youth Culture Window article, Who Needs Truth?, about this dangerous mindset and how today’s young people are adopting this convenient morality. I encourage you to read the article and pass it onto others.

The timing is funny (funny intriguing, not funny ha ha). Last week I posted an article about the unprecedented rise in STDs in America (up to 19% in one year). Experts are frantically looking at who to blame (landing on legislation and social media as their two primary culprits). It’s almost humorous to read these headlines side by side:

The world adopts post-truth as its mantra

Unprecedented rise in STDs

What are you gonna tell the young girl who just got her blood test back? “Don’t worry, chlamydia is only true if it’s true for you. Oh… and sorry, but you can’t have children.”

How nonsensical have we become?

We’re raising our kids to believe nothing is really true other than what “feels right at the moment.” There is no right or wrong, so just “let it go” and act on your feelings instead. We’re hitting em’ young with this philosophy:

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!
Let it go, let it go

As they get older they begin to simmer in more explicit versions of this kind of thinking… messages about casual sex, indulging in alcohol, and getting high… all behaviors that are presented without apparent consequences. These messages tell us, “I can’t stop,” or “I don’t gotta think about nothing…” (I give countless examples at the bottom half of last week’s post.)

I can’t help but think of Zara Larsson’s hit (currently in the Billboard Hot 100), Ain’t My Fault:

It ain’t my fault you keep turning me on
It ain’t my fault you got, got me so gone
It ain’t my fault I’m not leaving alone…

So if I put your hands where my eyes can’t see
Then you’re the one who’s got a hold on me
No, I can’t be responsible, responsible
It ain’t my fault…

Here’s where we need Dr. Phil to sit Zara Larsson down and ask her, “How’s that working for you?”

You can argue post-truth all you want… until you are one of the one-in-four girls sexually victimized or raped after an episode of binge drinking their first semester in college…. one of those nights where they took the advice to “let it go”… “drink it up”… or “lose control.”

So what can we do to conquer this mindset?

When we were doing research for our Youth Culture Window article last weekend, I contacted my friend Sean McDowell for his expertise. Sean has written several books underlining the need to teach our kids truth in a “post-truth” world. Sean chimed in on that article, encouraging parents and youth workers to teach today’s young people to recognize and value truth.

This is great advice. But what does this actually look like day to day?

Here’s three ways to teach truth in a “post-truth” world:

1. Look for everyday opportunities to talk about truth. This doesn’t mean turning everything into a teaching moment (“The twelve pepperonis on this pizza are much like the twelve disciples…”), at the same time don’t steer clear of opportune moments to engage in meaningful dialogue. I’ve witnessed far too many parents who sweep tough questions under the rug, rationalizing, “my kids aren’t ready for this yet.” Those kids often turn to friends, celebrities and Google for their answers. Where would you like your kids to find answers to these questions? And don’t worry. You won’t have to bring up these subjects. The world brings up issues all the time. We just need to be ready to…

2. Use questions to convert monologue to dialogue. Don’t catch yourself ranting, lecturing or giving sermons. Ask questions and then resist the urge to talk. If you hear Zara Larsson singing “it ain’t me fault…”, simply ask, “Is she right?” If you’re reading a passage of scripture with your kids, after a few verses ask, “How does that apply to you this week?” After all…

3. In a world of post-truth, it’s of vital importance to point them towards the source of unchanging truth. Get them into God’s word. And if you don’t know where to start, don’t be scared to use some ready-made devotions that guide young people through scripture. Here’s some guides parents and youth workers have found very helpful for teens and tweens:

Posted in Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, News, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

why STDs are at an unprecedented high

Do-You-Wanna-Know-the-TruthThe CDC posted a press release last month revealing STDs are at an unprecedented high in the U.S. In fact, “despite recent declines, 2015 was the second year in a row in which increases were seen in all three nationally reported STDs.” It will be interesting to see where these numbers come in at the end of 2016. The increases from just 2014 to 2015 ranged from a 5.9% increase of chlamydia to a 19.0% increase of P&S syphilis.

Yikes!

This is where everyone begins tossing theories around. Some blame budget cuts for education, and others blame social media. They’re actually calling it the “Tinder Effect,” blaming dating apps that encourage casual sex.

The consequences of casual sex are only magnified by yet another new CDC report comparing the overall physical and mental health of both sexually active heterosexual and LGBTQ young people with virgins and concluding, “students who had no sexual contact have a much lower prevalence of most health-risk behaviors.” Yes, you read that correctly. The CDC just published a report revealing virgins are less likely to smoke, drink, use drugs, feel depressed, attempt suicide, and engage in over a dozen different risky behaviors. (We’ve began seeing quite a few articles highlighting these vast differences.)

Hmmmmmm. Could it be that some people are actually noticing sex matters?

Those who are engaging in casual sex are paying a big price. So what is the cause behind this unprecedented increase in STDs?

As a guy who has my eyes on these articles every day, I wouldn’t dare suggest one specific cause of this increase in STDs. It’s probably a little messier than that. Sadly, I see numerous sources providing misinformation about sexual activity:

12yrgirlipadDon’t take my word for it; just take a listen to the messages young people are listening to day in and day out. For example: Common Sense Media revealed teens average almost 2 hours per day just listening to music (out of their 9-hours per day entertainment media diet).

Is music a big part of this misinformation?

I’ll let you decide.

Here’s a sample of some of those lyrics from the top of the Billboard charts right now:

Closer, by The Chainsmokers (No. 2 on the charts)
Now you’re looking pretty in a hotel bar
And I can’t stop
No, I can’t stop
So baby pull me closer in the backseat of your Rover…

24K Magic, by Bruno Mars (No. 4 on the charts)
Oh sh*t, I’m a dangerous man with some money in my pocket (keep up)
So many pretty girls around me and they waking up the rocket (keep up)…

Side to Side, by Ariana Grande (No. 6 on the charts)
Feeling like I wanna rock with your body
And we don’t gotta think ’bout nothin’
I’m comin’ at ya
‘Cause I know you got a bad reputation
Doesn’t matter, ’cause you give me temptation…
Wrist icicle, ride d**k bicycle…

Broccoli, by D.R.A.M. (No. 9 on the charts)
Whispered in my ear she trying to leave with me (She wanna f**k)
Said that I can get that p**sy easily (I’m gonna f**k)

Caroline, by Amine (No. 12 on the charts)
Don’t wanna talk it out, can we f**k it out?
Cause we gon’ be up all night, f**k a decaf
You say I’m a tall thug, guess I’m a G-raffe
If ya want safe-sex, baby use the knee pads
Freaky with the sticky icky…

Starving, by Hailee Steinfeld (No. 13 on the charts)
I didn’t know that I was starving ’til I tasted you
Don’t need no butterflies when you give me the whole d*mn zoo
By the way, right away you do things to my body
I didn’t know that I was starving ’til I tasted you…

OOOUUU, by Young M.A. (No. 22 on the charts)
We got liquor by the boatload (That Henny)
Disrespect the Lyfe that’s a no-no (That’s a no-no)
All my niggas dressed in that rojo (Redlyfe)
I ride for my guys, that’s the bro code (That’s the bro code)
Baby gave me head, that’s a low blow (That’s a low blow)
D*mn, she make me weak when she deepthroat (When she deepthroat)
I need a rich b**ch, not a cheap hoe (Not a cheap hoe)…

Do you Mind, by KJ Khaled (No. 27 on the charts)
Girl I know your body, know where every curve at
We be going all night till the early
Know you, know you wanna take off when you on my runway
We ain’t got to talk bodies conversate
Baby by the way I touch you you know what I’m saying…

Bad Things, by Machine Gun Kelly (No. 28 on the charts)
Nothing’s that bad
If it feels good…
And we’re both wild
And the night’s young
And you’re my drug…
Nails scratchin’ my back tatt
Eyes closed while you scream out
And you keep me in with those hips
While my teeth sink in those lips
While your body’s giving me life…

X, by 21 Savage (No. 36 on the charts)
I got model b**ches wanna lick me like some candy
And them drugs come in handy
Last name Savage b**ch, but no I’m not Randy
Hit her with no condom, had to make her eat a plan B
And I’m sippin’ on that Codeine, not Brandy…

Needed Me, by Rihanna (No. 38 on the charts)
You was good on the low for a faded f**k, on some faded love
S**t, what the f**k you complaining for?
Feeling jaded, huh?
Used to trip off that s**t I was kickin’ to you
Had some fun on the run though I give it to you…

I think you’re probably starting to get the picture:

“I can’t stop”

“don’t gotta think about nothing”

“nothing’s that bad if it feels good”

“hit her with no condom”

If I were to summarize the messages flowing through every Wi-Fi signal and dancing across every screen, it might be this: I can’t help it. Go with what feels good at the moment! No consequences!

The sad fact is… there are consequences.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-father-son-jetty-sat-image31379935CDC reveals that young men and bisexual men are at the greatest risk. Somewhere, somehow, we’re failing to provide young males with truth… or young males aren’t interested in hearing it. We need to be proactive about creating a climate of continual conversations with young men (which is why I wrote a book specifically to guys about becoming a man).

But young women are the ones facing the most serious long-term health consequences, a big one being infertility. STD’s cause infertility to more than 20,000 women each year.

In a world so full of misinformation… how can you provide good information?

Are you having these discussions?

Do your kids know sex matters?

Posted in Entertainment Media, Music, News, Parenting, Sexuality, Social Media, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Guy’s Guide” a Cyber-Monday Hit

Amazon BooksIt’s always interesting to see which resources are a hit during that key shopping weekend Black-Friday through Cyber-Monday. And this year… it’s a bold little devotional for young men!

It’s crazy to watch which books Amazon move. Amazon ranks the books hourly so anyone can see how books are ranking among books in a certain category… or among ALL BOOKS EVER! And this weekend my candid little book for guys is going gangbusters!
Continue reading ““Guy’s Guide” a Cyber-Monday Hit” »

Posted in Books, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A quick clip

Most of you already heard that today I’m the guest on Focus on Family’s daily radio broadcast. Here’s a fun video clip Jim Daly, president of Focus on Family, posted on his Facebook page… the three of us talking about using technology to connect with tech-obsessed kids:

You can catch the entire broadcast online HERE. (And the book is on sale for just $9 HERE.)

Posted in Books, Entertainment Media, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones | Leave a comment

On Focus on Family This Wednesday

Focus-Jim-Daly-Jonathan-McKeeThis Wednesday I’ll be on Focus on the Family’s daily broadcast with Jim Daly talking about how to connect with your tech-absorbed kid, and my new book on the subject.

So pop on your local Christian radio station wherever you are Wednesday (in the car driving to Mom and Dad’s for Thanksgiving), and tune in. (You can listen online HERE once the broadcast airs.)
Continue reading “On Focus on Family This Wednesday” »

Posted in Books, Family, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Netflix Discussions Page

new-Netflix-Discussions-pageA few years ago we launched TheSource4Parents.com as a sister page to TheSource4YM.com with similar FREE resources, but specifically for parents who want to build into their kids. That page features unique resources (like our Parenting Help articles)…

…and we just added a brand new one that I’m REALLY excited about!

NETFLIX DISCUSSIONS

This new FREE resource for parents features questions and Biblical discussions of popular Netflix shows, both TV and movies.
Continue reading “New Netflix Discussions Page” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Movies, Parenting, TV | 1 Comment

Finalized Cover

Last week my publisher sent me the final cover for my brand new parenting book coming out this January. I love the way it turned out!

ParentingDoOver-FULL-COVER

I got a peek at the inside layout, and it looks really sharp as well. These babies will be heading to the printer soon! (And I noticed that Amazon is STILL doing some crazy pre-sale price of $4.99 for now… which is amazing since this thing retails for $12.99 and will be selling for over $10 in January! So don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you buy it from Amazon instead of me. That’s like cost. Grab it.)

Thanks to so many of you who gave me input in the writing of this book. I polled literally hundreds of parents doing research for this project, asking them the “one thing” they would change in hindsight. Fascinating stuff!

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

The 30 Most Influential Teens

Time-Most-Influencial-Teens

Time has released their annual list of the 30 most influential teens of 2016, and it’s intriguing to see the personalities who are resonating with today’s young people.

When you read through the list you’ll probably discover some common denominators. Most are TV and music stars, a few Olympians, some entrepreneurs, and then another prominent category… LGBTQ.

Here are some of my observations about this year’s list:
Continue reading “The 30 Most Influential Teens” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Jonathan's Rant, Movies, Music, News, Social Media, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

An Election Day Example to Follow

Trump-or-ClintonI already voted… and no… I’m not gonna tell you who I voted for. But I will offer you some hope in the one place hope exists during tough times.

“Tough times:” is kind of a laugh for us in America. Let’s be honest. Tough times are typically when our new ISO upgrade stalls mid-download and it takes us another ten minutes to fix it. Or maybe we feel hopeless when we look at the election ballot this week and feel like we’re playing a game of “would you rather…” (Would you rather get eaten by a great white shark, or be fed into a wood chipper feet first?)
Continue reading “An Election Day Example to Follow” »

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Netflix Shows to Binge-Watch with Your Teens & Tweens

Stranger-Things-Screenshot(and discussion questions to ask them on the fly)

In a world that offers plenty of shows NOT to watch, it’s nice when families can discover entertainment to watch together—especially now that Netflix is rapidly becoming a tool for Netflix-Binge-Bonding!

So here are 5 shows that many families have found fun to watch together and enjoy.

Are these shows The Waltons? Nope. But they each aren’t pushing the envelope with imitatable behaviors, actions without consequences, and gratuitous sensual scenes.

Here’s five Neflix shows you can binge-watch with today’s young people… and they might actually enjoy it! (And I’ve included a few discussion questions at the bottom of this post- questions to occasionally ask your kids on the fly.)

Continue reading “5 Netflix Shows to Binge-Watch with Your Teens & Tweens” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Parenting, TV | 4 Comments