The Resurrection of Guys

There’s good news from the porn experiment for a change. And yes, I put good and porn in the same sentence.

Gary Wilson’s TED talk- viewed by 6.4 million and counting- reveals that the consequences of a guy’s rewired brain are finally catching up to the global experiment of viewing porn. And that fallout is leading to what the speaker calls, “the resurrection of guys.”

Consider these stunning facts:

  1.  Researchers have had a difficult time finding a control group (college aged guys who don’t do porn) and as a result had nothing normal to compare the global experiment to
  2. Through addiction, the brain sends weaker and weaker signals to the body
  3. Internet Addiction Disorder shares the same general digression, regardless of how we’re using it
  4. Our brains become hyper-fixated on the dopamine releasing target (your brand of Internet choice) and duller and duller to the real world (boring)
  5. In the case of guys and porn, E.D. (erectile dysfunction) became the tipping point to motivate thousands to exit porn and begin to create a comparative control group
  6. BAM !! Real life returns but….

Perhaps the most stunning thing is the amount of time it takes for guys to recover- defined as 1) noticing and being noticed by real girls and 2) being able to be aroused by them. Here it is:

50-year-olds recover more than twice as fast as guys in their 20’s

Seriously? Seriously! Doesn’t make sense right? Not until you understand the neuroplasticity in the brain. The early years of a boys life are critical due to the development of the brain. And when did Internet porn become widely accessible? For guys in their 20’s, it was there when they were young, at the critical stage of brain development. But for older men, it came longer after the brain was already established. Many men in their 50’s are beginning to return to normal after two months of exiting while younger men are requiring 4-5 months.

Want the good news? The brain can be re-rewired. And therefore, “the resurrection of guys.” This is a critical watch. Make time for it and be ready to take notes for two reasons. You care about the guys in your family and you interact constantly with the Internet:

Walking Away: Hope for Parents of Faith-Rejecting Children

“Why do you want me to take this quiz? I’m not even a Christian.” (The quiz? “What Kind of Millennial Christian Are You?” The question: asked by my not-always-agnostic son.)

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Free-Spirited 

Our firstborn, a son. Free-spirited. For the most part, gloriously so. In the 21 years of being his parent, I’ve never once seen him self-conscious. Clothing is regarded a necessary evil, as are seat belts and shoelaces. No respecter of persons, he will just as eagerly shake your hand as President Obama’s; admirably guileless.

Imagine raising Jungle Book’s Mowgli and you’ve bulls-eyed the years of shock and awe parenting we’ve enjoyed.  Such adventures should have prepared us for his declaration—and growing conviction since—of agnosticism toward the end of his high school experience. Nope. More shock. No awe.

His doubts and discontent with our traditional values quickly catalyzed into a full-blown Rumspringa of a senior year; self-emancipated well ahead of his actual commencement, he was hardly home and when he was, things were tense.

Questions
We hadn’t prepared for this. Dating issues, poor grades, the cost of college tuition, porn and substance abuse, yes. “God is dead”? Not so much.

“How we do this? How do we beat the fear? Our worldview damns our unrepentant, seat belt-eschewing son to eternal hell. What kind of parent doesn’t feel the urgency with stakes that high?

Do we require him to go to church if he lives here? Charge him rent and ignore his Sunday habits like we would a tenant? Excommunicate him like John Piper did with his son? What about his brothers? How do we not neglect them in this crisis?

We wrestled these questions out in good community; where people talk like this. Painfully, but eventually, we moved to a place of grace; mostly toward ourselves: it wasn’t our fault.

Ex Nihilo

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These days, our son still lives at home, works hard at his job, and is saving for the security deposit on an apartment. He continues with the indiscriminate hand-shaking. The blunt-force honesty too. What’s new is the parental clarity, 100-proof and adversity-born. We’re back-to-basics:

  • FAITH: God still operates Ex Nihilo, creating everything He makes out of nothing. Our son’s salvation will be the same as ours; a seeking and saving of a sheep gone astray.
  • HOPE: We wait and pray. God’s mercies are new every morning.
  • LOVE: It never fails. We anchor our faith and hope on that. Our wild but not-yet-free son often hears this from me as he heads out the door: “I love you. Wear your seatbelt…and call on the name of the Lord if you’re in a jam; he’ll come running.”

What circumstantial or relational “nothingness” will you entrust to your Ex Nihilo God?

-KO

Kids & Failure

The prevailing pressure that parents feel is to prevent kids from experiencing failure. At all costs. And, for the rare time that it does slip through….to fix it asap.

But there is growing evidence that the inability to tolerate failure multiplies anxiety.

In this 50-second video, Brene´ Brown takes the pressure off parents, and therefore, off our kids:

Parents can:

  •   Teach kids how to feel it
  •   How to be curious about it
  •   How to name it
  •   How to ask for what they need

Here’s a fun video that you might want to watch with your children, pausing it and trying to guess who the person was that “failed” and what they eventually went on to accomplish: