A few years ago, a friend’s teenage daughter got in trouble and was threatened with expulsion. As you can imagine, the mother panicked and started going over her daughter's life as if she was looking for lice. She demanded that her 11-year-old daughter hand her facebook password so she could look at her correspondence. Within a few minutes, she found that one of her daughter’s classmates, aged 11, had been asking her to have sex with him. Yes, you read right; 11-year-old boy, asking an 11 year-old-girl for sex.
You might want to slide this under the ‘not common’ rug or start to question this young girl’s behaviour and the type of family that might raise such a boy. Go ahead, do that. At 36, I know my fair share of mothers and at one point or another they have all been shocked at their kids sexuality and the early age it has popped up. Porn on mobile phones, sexting, facebook requests for sex, naked pictures, and girls losing their virginity in malls' parking lots … I hope to God that these are the things that will be discussed at the Mavuno Church programme created for teens.
Parents are consistently told to talk to their kids about sex. The truth is we don’t do it because it is embarrassing and we aren’t sure what to say because our own sex education was scattered at best. Every week I answer adult questions on sex and I am stunned at the small amount of Standard 6 Biology that very few of us have managed to retain. Questions like ‘what is ovulation?’; ‘can I father children if I masturbate?’; ‘how do we make sure we have a baby girl?’
Our urban youth have grown up with the internet as a very real part of their lives and as the internet demands, they are keen to be publishers. Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, Whatsapp are all free platforms and all you have to do is sign up and post something. While we got to make our mistakes in the relative privacy of our peer group, today’s teens do not have that luxury. Our friends forgot our stupidity and we theirs, but the internet, well, that’s forever.
We might be upset by the Mavuno Church poster and what it suggests that our teenagers are doing but trust me, they weren’t. It fits right in with the imagery they are accosted by regularly: Beyonce & Jay Z ‘drunk in love’; Kimye on a motorcycle simulating sex and somebody’s horizontally striped behind on Collo’s ‘You Guy!’ video. As you can see my ‘non youth’ status is showing and I struggle to name these songs. If you know a teenager, ask them.
The stuffy Church of yore just does not seem to offer much that aids in the harried lives of urbanites in 2014. Mavuno addresses dating in the modern context, dealing with stress, modern masculinity, wealth and now finally; sex and the teenager. I hope they keep the parents out, cover the biology quickly and then really delve into the emotions and identity issues that come up with sex. Well done Mavuno, please reclaim what God created as His own!