Are You Ready For Love?
[ Extracted and edited from D2Y2 Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 7, 1999 ]
I once asked my dad, “When can I fall in love?”
His answer? “Anytime!”
“Look, when was the last time you fell in love?”
“6 years old? 12? Yeah (blush), but that was puppy love.”
“Well, it was still love wasn’t it? Although it was for your kindergarten teacher.”
I guess so. But I want to know when I’m ready for love (NOT! but l had to cover up).
“Oh! You want to know the right time to fall in love. Well, I guess it‘s that time when you‘re ready for a commitment. After all, it is another person’s life you‘re talking about here, besides your own. You must be ready to take up responsibility.”
“It‘s a commitment to go through thick and thin together. It‘s also a sacrifice in some ways. You must be willing to put aside your own interest for the sake of the other‘s happiness. Are you ready?”
Real love is responsible love
A boy raised his voice from the back of the classroom. He was 14 going on 15. I had just explained to the class that there is a time for everything and as teenagers, we aren’t ready for love especially sexual love. He begged (not really) to differ, “I’m ready!”, he shouted and stood to his feet, defiant. I looked at him with compassion. God gave me a deep love for him. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t have to. All I knew was that he had just echoed the attitude of thousands of young people of our time.
Along with the compassion came a sense of righteous anger. Anger of the world’s system and lies of the enemy that had blinded this boy’s eyes and deceived him into thinking that the emptiness he felt inside could only be filled by sexual love. Then l took him to task – lovingly.
“My friend,” l said, “are you ready to take on the responsibility as a father? And a husband? Have you considered what your parents would have to say? Are you going to depend on your parents for money? You‘ve not finished form three, so you may have to find a job with your UPSR (Grade 6) results. What kind of job will you get? You don’t have a driving license, so you may have to get a bicycle ready to take your wife to the hospital. Have you thought of which hospital you would like to take your wife to? Taking care of a wife and a baby is no easy job. You will have to give up playing football with your friends for a long while, and your computer games too. Are you willing? Baby’s gonna keep you up all night. Do you think you’ll continue with your studies?”
The poor boy had quietly taken his seat at this point but I kept going on. Questions after questions was posed without expecting a response. Eventually I stopped. Apologising to him if I had caused him any embarrassment. I caught myself shedding a tear. I was overwhelmed by the session knowing that though I may have caught this one boy’s attention, maybe even that of the entire class, yet there were still so many more out there who l could not reach. Precious young lives, wasted away, because they didn’t know better.
I wish people could be more honest with themselves. I wish they would have real friends who could put them through a grueling checklist of soul searching questions that would test the true intentions of the heart. I wish young people were more far-sighted than they were hind-sighted. Why live in regret when there’s a better way?
My advice to students with regards to BGR is :
B – Be patient
Feeling right doesn’t make it right. Don’t be led just by feelings. God gave us a standard to follow and a brain to think. So while you feel like your hormones are having their own version of Mardi Gras and you can’t stop the party from going on, just stay cool. Relax and keep your mind busy with more important things. The Bible tells us not to be conformed to the things of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
G – Go for general and genuine relationships
If you isolate yourself with a “steady” at a young age, you will find only later that you aren’t left with any real friends. If the movie “Hope Floats” taught us anything, it taught us that limiting our scope of friendship only to a privileged few can be detrimental to our future, especially in times of hardship.
And R – Respect one another
Everybody needs respect. It is good that we build respect for one another at a young age. The Bible teaches us brothers to treat the younger women as sisters and older women as mothers. It is amazing how some guys think it’s okay to treat their girlfriends with disrespect and get awfully upset with murderous intentions when their own sister has been disrespected and hurt.
As I end this page, I want to encourage those of you who may have gone through some experiences in your life (whether regrets or joy of having made the right choices) to share those experiences with us so that we may learn from them. If you desire to share a personal problem with us regarding your relationships, we invite you to write to us. We may not have all the answers but we are ready to listen to you and to pray for you.
D2Y2, which stands for Don’t Despise Your Youth, was an official Asian Youth Ambassador (AYA) magazine birthed out in the late 90s. The printed materials communicated dynamic and effective encouragement to and from the Church, with special emphasis on the knowledge and experiences of our Christian youths, which we believe the content is still relevant and applicable in this current generation.