I once had a college professor who would regularly descend into self-interested monologues rather than delivering the content of the course (of course, which one didn’t, right?). One time, he told us that one of his primary goals as a parent was to help his son become an incredible lover. This professor was rather impressed by his own sexual prowess and thought his son should be instructed to carry on the legacy.
I know you are probably curious about exactly how he planned to do that, but we were all too creeped out to ask any follow-up questions. I’m afraid his mentoring strategy will have to remain a secret, but if it makes you feel any better, I don’t think he was a deviant – just odd.
I was reminded of that day in class as I was reading The Purpose Driven Life with my oldest son the other day. Chapter 16 is “What Matters Most,” and it starts with the sentence, “Life is all about love.” Rick Warren points out that all the Ten Commandments are about love (the first four about loving God; the last six about loving your neighbor), and he draws from Paul’s writings to emphasize that anything we do without love is worthless.
Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do but how much love you put into it that matters,” and the longer I live, the more convinced of this I am. All my other motives are self-serving, and I know that the things I do for myself are their own reward. There will be no treasure stored up in heaven for me as a result of the things I do for myself – only for those things I lovingly do for God or for my neighbor.
So I find myself in the very strange position of having the exact same parenting goal as my Don Juan professor – only we are using different meanings of the word lover. I can think of no better instruction and wisdom to pass along to my children than to help them become incredible lovers – lovers of God and lovers of their neighbors.
Incidentally, I shared this story with my son. (I enjoy the shock value.) He was sufficiently grossed out by the professor, and I told him he had no need to worry. I wasn’t going to be sharing any gritty details about my love life with him – he’ll have to buy the book like everyone else.