Somewhere between algebraic equations and isosceles triangles his brain shuts off and he drifts away into silence…into nothing. It’s a very special space, this hidden place of silence and nothing where formulas have no meaning and math is unimportant. This young gentleman is relaxed and unaware.
Then the bell rings snapping this young man back into his chair, the room and the horror that…
“Did I just have an erection….?!?”
Shame… Guilt… Confusion…
“Am I really always thinking about sex!?”
Change the name, the setting and the circumstances if you like, but regardless this scenario is all too true for young teenage boys as they enter puberty and navigate the increased testosterone washes that change their voice, body and brain structure.
When talking with teens, I see the desire they often have to define something about their sexuality. But to them their sexuality just seems wildly out of control yet still quite intoxicatingly delicious. How then do they navigate and understand these raging hormones while finding purpose and passion as a part of how they are made?
First teenage boys have the capacity to shut down 70% of activity in the brain and still be awake. That’s actually incredible if you think about it!
Second, did you know male genitals hold a large number of blood vessels? Well they do. This means that when the our seven grade teen boy is relaxed during math class, his body responds to this relaxation by allowing his blood the freedom to flow in and through every blood vessel. Thus when relaxed in math class or anywhere else for that matter an erection can easily happen.
When we return to Genesis and remember that we are “created in the image of God”, I must pause and wonder. If our God choose to make bodies which hormonally go through changes and fluctuations, then this has to be good, right?
What if we empower teenagers with the truth of their bodies as both sexual and spiritual? God saw all that was made and declared, “…it is good, so very good”, so this must include the erratic rhythms of teenage boys hormones in math class.
Culture might seek to define everything physical as only “sexual”, yet I believe the invitation is to invite teens into language that affirms teen’s as spiritual, emotional and physical beings.
That moment after the bell rings and a teenage boy’s brain returns to the present, a simple thought of “I am created in God’s image” could equip a young man to honor and notice a deeper identity that is scripted into his sexuality, from the heart of OUR Creator.
Let’s talk about the changing body of a teen girl next … !