Did anyone else catch this video?
Being that I used to have a formal position where I mentored teen moms, I can't really say that I was *shocked* so much as I was processing that this is obviously something that happens in more places than America. And yes, while I don't really know of fathers over here that have actually built "love huts" for their daughters, I *do* know parents that allow their *children* to have sex at home, Christian parents who try and act like they don't know their kids are having sex (at home)...oh, and one of the girls that I mentored has three kids at 14 (yes, she birthed all three of them); and yes, she started around the same age as the girls in the video.
So, I decided to do a bit of research to see what other odd "kid/teen rituals" are going on as it relates to relationships going on throughout the world. I happened upon this article in my quest:
#1 In rural Austria, it’s not chocolate bon-bons that are the way to a lover’s heart; it’s apples soaked in armpit sweat. Young women do a ritual dance with apple slices lodged in their armpits. After the dance, each gives her slice to the man of her choice, and he then eats it. (Sounds a little heavy on the pheromones if you ask us.)
#2 Among the Kreung tribe in a remote region of Cambodia, parents build a "love hut" for their daughter when she reaches her mid-teens. Different boys spend the night in the hut with the girl — sometimes more than one in the same night — until she finds the one she wants to marry. Divorce is unheard of among the Kreung, so couples need to know what they're getting into.
#3 After reaching puberty, young men and women in traditional Hindu Balinese society must undergo a ritual tooth filing. In an elaborate ceremony overseen by a Brahman priest, their upper canines are filed down to the level of their incisors, a painful ritual that is believed to rid them of evil tendencies such as greed, lust, anger, jealousy, and intoxication. With those out of the way, the young people are considered ready to marry.
#4 "Bundling" was once a common courting practice in northwestern Europe and Colonial America. With parental oversight, an adolescent boy and girl would stay the night together in the same bed, but tightly wrapped in separate blankets, sometimes with a "bundling board" placed between them. This setup permitted intimacy, but definitely not intercourse .
#5 The Dai people of China practice an annual courtship ritual called "visiting girls." It starts out with young women sitting together around a bonfire and turning their spinning wheels. A group of men draped in red blankets and playing musical instruments approaches them, and each man chooses a woman to serenade. If the woman of his choice likes him back, she'll take out a small stool from under her skirt and invite him to sit on it. Then the man will wrap her in his red blanket, and they'll do what lovers do everywhere: whisper sweet nothings in each other's ears.
Sound odd? I dunno.
I know that I personally think that it's odd to put a teen whose cervix isn't even fully developed on hormones (birth control).
I think it's odd to allow two people who can't even drive yet to go out for hours alone on dates.
I think it's odd that kids are now in full-fledged relationships with people that their parents haven't met (or asked to meet).
I think it's odd that when a girl gets pregnant in "the Church", she gets "in trouble" but the boy (usually) doesn't.
I also think it's odd that if they are over 18, "the Church" rushes to get them married instead of rushing to make sure they're ready to *co-parent*.
I think it's odd that kids continually tell me that they know their parents lied about their sexual journeys...*as teens*.
I think it's odd that in "singles ministries", there are not more discussions about how to actually *thrive as a single* rather than use it as a time to try and meet a mate.
I think it's odd that girls who get pregnant in "the Church" are some of the highest statistics when it comes to getting getting abortions.
I think it's odd that although abstinence classes and purity rings are proving to be ineffective, we are not being more aggressive about finding a way to encourage our youth to wait until they can "sleep with their best friend every night for the rest of their lives"---ways that *will work*.
I think it's odd that I counsel teenagers who have never had *one conversation* with their *Christian parents* about *God's gift of sex*.
I think it's odd that 9-year-olds have cell phones and parents then are shocked to find out what's on them (um, they're *9*).
I think it's odd that teenage girls think they are "safe" so long as they are having anal and oral sex rather than vaginal penetration and boys think they are "safe" because they are "receivers" of oral sex (I actually have a friend who got an STD by receiving oral sex---just a heads up).
I think it's odd that while there is *proven documentation* that so many people in the Church (pastors, virgins and married woman included) are addicted to porn, a lot of churches *still* don't want to talk about it.
So, the blog for today is simple. It's really easy to look at Cambodia and say "Oh, that's crazy!" but if you look at America and yes, the state of the Church, as it relates to young people and sexuality, if someone did a documentary on us, we'd probably look even more insane.
So, because perception so often is what people consider to be life's reality, I'm curious. What courtship/relationships/dating/sex rituals in America and yes, in the Church do you think are strange, counterproductive, ill-effective...*odd*?