The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
I owned a Daniel Boone action figure when I was a boy. It was one of my favorite toys. Among other accessories, my 12-inch molded plastic wilderness hero came outfitted with a hatchet, a flintlock rifle, bear and beaver traps, and a removable coonskin cap.
My action figure and I rarely missed an episode of the NBC TV series where Fess Parker, who himself seemed larger than life to a 10-year-old future frontiersman, played the role of Daniel Boone. I can still sing the opening lines of the series theme song.
Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
With an eye like an eagle
And as tall as a mountain was he!
Fess Parker’s Daniel Boone was a leader. I admired the way he brokered peace between hostile parties in the American wilderness. I sat in awe of the homespun wisdom he graciously dispensed to the folks in the settlements. I envied his ability to blaze a trail and lead others through uncharted territory. When Fess was at the head of the procession, those who followed had nothing to fear. They knew they were heading in the right direction.
We live in a different America today, but we still need trailblazers—men and women who know where they’re going and can point the way for those who follow.
That’s certainly true when it comes to learning about relationships. Who can today’s teens and young adults look to as models for relating to members of the opposite sex? Sadly, there is no shortage of inferior examples. TV sitcoms and box office hits tell them it’s OK to have sex with anyone who appeals to you—and at any time. That marriage is an option—and for that matter, an inferior one.
Many legendary sports heroes have convinced our young men and women that fame and wealth place people above the normal standards of service and sacrifice that mark healthy relationships.
And what about our political leaders? While many of America’s top politicians are faithful to their families, many others are not. For some, only public exposure ends the hypocrisy.
Many of these folks are blazing trails in their respective fields, but all the while they’re leading America’s youth down the wrong paths.
Where can this generation turn to find positive role models of healthy relationships—not only in the context of sexuality, but in all of life? Let me suggest two areas: the home and the church. In these arenas joyful singles and happily married couples can have a life-changing impact on the young people around them.
Young people need relationship role models who respect one another. They need to see couples at home and in the church who hold each other in high regard, who speak kindly to one another in public, who look out for and protect one another. They need to see single adults who are fulfilled in their jobs and ministries, who show respect toward members of the opposite sex, and whose relationships are marked by purity and holiness.
They need to be around couples who defer to one another and are considerate of one another’s needs and wishes. They need to spend time with single adults who model selflessness and service.
Today’s generation needs such models. Someone must lead the way. Will you?