Oh, I guess we got to that point, ha?
Dad, I am a teenager, what did you expect?
Nothing less, kiddo. I am proud you even asked me for my opinion, most kids don’t consult with their parents about this issue.
Well, I can’t seem to think about anything else lately…<smile>
Okay. Let’s start with what you think sex is.
You know, a man and a woman doing… the thing.
The thing. What is “the thing”? the act itself, you mean?
True, that is part of what sex is, but the physical aspect is only one part of what is going on during an act of love making.
There is a profound mental aspect going on as well that even precedes the physical act. First, the couple need to be attracted to each other and only then decide to stand naked in body and soul in front of each other and celebrate their values.
Yes. I think that sex is a profound act of pleasure that is about celebrating life, values and the fact that you desire someone and are worthy to be desired by them. It is a deep, intimate, physical manifestation of spiritual love, where mind and body are one in enjoying your partner through your own body.
I thought you’re going to give me an explanation of how sex “works”, Dad. You know, how the bodies are getting together and that I should be careful not to get someone pregnant. I didn’t expect it to be about celebration of values.
You’ll figure out how “it works”, that is the easy part.
What some people do not get about sex their entire lives, is that it is everything that you are bundled into one experience – your body, your values, your passions, desires and sense of life. Whoever views sex as a physical only exercise, meaning an act with no idea or value, misses out on the true enjoyment of sex. They see sex as “meat-rubbing” and treat it as a primitive or barbaric ritual.
The same goes for idea with no action, like the people who think that romantic love can be detached from sex – as if our mind is a separate entity from our body. Those people end up perverting sex into horrific acts that I really don’t want to talk about. I will just say that some religion beliefs has a lot to do with that.
And what about people who enjoy watching porn for instance? Where is the value there?
Sex IS physical, there is no question about it.
But it is only a part of the picture. You have to use caution when associating sex with only the physical aspect. You have to put it in perspective and think rationally about what is healthy and what is not. Porn can be erotic and arousing, but it can also include abuse and degradation – so you have to be very careful about those representations of sex.
On the other hand, you should think about sex, explore and experience all that the human body and mind have to offer.
You should also respect sex. It is a reflection of you and who you are. You can know a lot about a person by knowing who they sleep with and who they are attracted to. Choose the right partner, don’t ever fake it. Regard sex as a sacred experience reserved for those worthy of your romantic love.
What about being attracted to a girl I hardly know? How do you explain that?
That is a result of the potential values you see in her.
You see the way she looks, the way she moves, talks and behaves. All that information enables you to evaluate, even superficially, her character, personality and of course – how sexually attractive she is. Body and mind are one – it is a package and this is why you react emotionally and physically at the same time.
And when you get to know that girl a little more, then something extraordinary happens. You either realize she is a fake, and then your physical and emotional attraction to her diminishes, or hopefully, she turns out to be everything you dreamed of and more, in which case you mind and body react simultaneously.
This is the nature of human love and sexual attraction.
I knew I was going get a complex answer. I almost regret asking…
Man is a complex organism kid. It would be boring otherwise.
And by the way, sex would be the same as eating if it was only about the “thing”.
That’s true. Well, I guess I’ll have to ask that girl out and get to know her a little better…
Good night Dad.
Good night Kiddo.
Are you kidding me, kid? I love being your Dad.
It’s such a hard job.
Hard? it’s not hard. It’s the best job in the world. And you know why?
Because I get to take care and be around the person I care most about . You.
Watching you grow. Playing with you. Having to answer all your hard questions.
But how do you know to be a good parent? how do you learn that?
Being a parent is being yourself. Parents are as good at being parents, as they are good at leading their own lives. We teach what we ARE.
Hmm. So you don’t need to know anything? just be yourself?
No, I didn’t say that. You need to know a lot about how to be a good parent. I said that being a good parent is a part of being a good person.
Let me explain what I mean. As a rational person, I know that my role as your Dad is to help you become a person with high self esteem, with an ability to understand and cope with reality, and lead a happy, fulfilling life.
So the first thing I have to understand is what makes a human being acquire self esteem, what is happiness and you get a sense of fulfillment.
So let’s start with self esteem. What do you think it is?
Believing in yourself, knowing that you are good.
Exactly. So the way I can help you is to show you that you ARE good as you ARE, that you ARE always important and able. You can always learn and grow your skills and knowledge, but I love, respect and accept you as you are right NOW.
Some parents have a set of expectations for their kids and they let their kids feel that they are good ONLY if they meet those expectations, only if they perform. That is bad for self esteem because the child feels that he is not good enough as he is now. Those parents say things like: “Why did you break that toy? you’re a bad boy!” or “You’re such a good kid, you cleaned you’re room”. Think about what it means. It means you are bad if you break something or that you’re good if you cleaned the room. A kid that hears those messages ends up thinking – “I am a bad person” or “I am good because Dad told me so”.
I think you are good regardless of your actions. Your actions might be good or bad, but I love you regardless. I believe that if you ACCEPT your child as he is than your child will develop SELF ACCEPTANCE – “I am a good person. I am loved”.
I also think that it is wrong to ask a child for obedience but rather for cooperation. To be able to motivate HIMSELF and not conform to what ever his parents demands at a given moment.
But what if I do bad things?
Then I criticize your behavior – not you. I tell you – “your room is a mess, it’ll be hard for you to find your things” and then I leave the judgement, evaluation and the thinking of what needs to be corrected, to you. If I told you – “your room is a mess, stop being lazy and clean it up right now!” then I call you lazy, I decide for you what you need to do about it and even force you to do it right now. That will not teach you to be responsible, trust your own judgement and that is also not very respectful – is it?
No. I hear parents yelling at kids all the time. You don’t yell often.
Why would I? Do I yell at my grownup friends that are coming to my house?
No. But they are your friends.
And who do you think is more important to me?
I am. <smile>.
You are. I try to be patient, and not lose my temper because it is very important for kids to have predictability. And if a Dad gets back angry from work and starts shouting on his kid for no reason, that kid will develop an anxiety because he could never know why he gets treated a specific way.
But even if I do lose my temper, what do I usually do after that?
Right, and that is because I respect you and I because I admit when I’m wrong.
So let’s talk about how, as a parent, I can help you become a HAPPY person. That is a little tougher because now I have to understand how someone becomes happy and how to instill that in my kid’s mind.What do you think makes people happy?
I don’t know. Making enough money to get all the things you want?
No. That is not how people become happy in the long term. So here it is, and I want you to think about this later:
Happiness is an emotional RESULT of pursuing and achieving your rational values and goals. It is a psychological EFFECT of knowing that you are doing the right things for yourself and your life.
So how do you know what you need to do to become happy?
As you grow older you will define a hierarchy of values and goals you’ll want to achieve or sustain like family, friends, work and hobbies. Everyone has to figure it our for themselves.
The primary value, for all of us, is life. To get food and shelter, clothes and other basic needs.
Then you’ll develop passion towards specific things in life and should try to spend most of your time around those things. Like inventing, drawing, racing cars, making music, building bridges – whatever fascinates you about this life. That will result in a sense of achievement and… happiness.
So whatever I choose to do will make me happy?
Not necessarily. Your goals need to be RATIONAL and not whimsical. You won’t achieve happiness by doing “whatever you feel like” – because whims and emotions cannot guide you and you won’t know why you are doing what you’re doing. That is why people drown in drugs or either get lost by random, contradicting actions just because “it feels good” at a specific moment.
And now that we’ve talked about what happiness is, how do you think a parent should teach his son to be happy?
Talk to him every night before he goes to sleep?
That too, but that’s not the main way kids learn. Kids learn from watching.
So that means that I need to practice what I preach. To exemplify what I think you should do to become happy.
So a happy father will have a happy son?
Not necessarily. We are two different human beings and it will be your own responsibility to make yourself happy. All I can do it to try and make myself happy and hope that you’ll find a way to do it as well.
Are you happy Dad?
Yes, I am.
So I’m happy too.
So I am happy three. Now go to sleep dear boy.