When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11
We hear much today about the sexualization of children, especially young girls. With toys like Bratz dolls and child-sized warm up pants that read “Hott” on the rear end and babies’ onesies that say things like “I’m a boob man”, it is apparent that sexuality is the defining characteristic of humanity in our day and age.
It is an example of the entitlement culture in which we live that even in the areas of maturity and sexuality we want to have it all. Young girls desperately want to be grown up and our culture provides the clothes and accessories and tv shows to allow them to pretend to be grown ups. Grown men, on the other hand desperately desire to remain young boys and our culture provides them the means to do so as well: fantansy sports, Hooters restaurants, and the whole idea of “extended adolesence” and mid-life crises.
I began thinking about all of this on a trip to Target this afternoon. As I was walking through the store, I saw a display of Batman Underroos just like the kind my brothers wore when they were little. Except these Underroos were in the men’s underwear department. Before someone jumps on my case about taking things too seriously and encourages me to lighten up and have some fun, I would like to suggest that the Underroos themselves are not the problem, but they are indicative of our culture’s larger problem.
So many children today are required to grow up so quickly due to the choices made by the adults in their lives that they are robbed of any real childhood. Those same children spend the rest of their lives seeking to recapture the free-spirited innocence of their childhood and the cycle ends up being tragically repeated in the next generation with greater consequence. An extreme case in point would be the life of Michael Jackson. Many childhood stars crash and burn as adults because they were not able to have a “normal” developing childhood. Childhood is supposed to prepare us for life. It is a time in which our parents are to train us up in the way we should go (Prov.22:6). Parents should protect and provide for their children, teach them and love them, allow them to develop into adults at a normal pace so that when they become men and women they are prepared and eager to put away childish things and embrace the responsibility of adulthood. If we as adults would do everything within our power to allow children to be children, we might not have as many adults still desiring to be children.
But when you live in a society in which every man does what is right in his own eyes (per Judges 17:6; we call it post-modernism, God calls is idolatry), you end up with divorced men in Underroos who buy dolls that wear lingerie for their elementary-aged daughters. Sin truly is the twisting and reversal of all that God intended to be right in the world.