If you want your kids to grow up with the healthiest possible view on their own sexuality, you better have a healthy view of your own sexuality. Have you thought about that? How can I teach my kids something about who they are if I have no idea who I am?
If I want to teach Esther to drive a stick shift, then I must know how to drive a stick shift.
If I want impart my baking skills to Morgan and Carah, then I should know how to make delicious cookies.
If I want Kyle to excel in his crazy difficult school studies, then I better get him a tutor. Ha!
Of course all of my kids can learn wonderful skills without my influence, and they do! But when it comes to their view on sexuality, Chad and I want to be their main teachers and influences. I will not leave it to chance, others, or their own exploration. They are too valuable. Becoming the best teacher for them in this area is not an option.
As I shared in my last post, I had some personal work to do in my view of myself. I felt shrouded in shame and because of the unfortunate and unintended message of the church, I felt liked damaged goods. Thankfully, I experienced God's all-sufficient grace to me at a very young age. Some of the first healing he spoke into my life was through a perfect white rose in a beautiful rose garden. His words brought comfort, whispering to my heart that he saw me as pure as the rose I held in my hands. The difficulty came in the years of struggle, confession, and mind re-wiring of forgiving myself. Looking back I can see all the work sown into finding freedom and health enabled me to speak freely, openly, healthily about sex to my kids.
Each of us has a story in this area. The personal discernment of your own thoughts is a great place to start. Are you aware? Have you thought through your own upbringing and exposure to sex? Did your family talk about it? How? Openly? Discreetly? With confidence? With purity? What is your view on modesty? How did this view form? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you know about brain development in children and adolescents and how to talk to them with age appropriateness in these areas? Are you a question asker not only of others, but also of yourself? Think. I mean, thiiiink about these questions and others deeply, for your sake, for your kids' sake, and for the glory of God.
Once you've established a healthy growing desire to learn and mature with your family, you're all set. Notice I did not say, "Once you've got it all figured out you can start having conversations." Friends, I learn new ways of communicating deep things to my kids all the time. A good parent is not someone who is the perfect expert at everything. A good parent is someone who is on a journey of learning and growing to impart truth, wisdom, and understanding to your children. Knowing the difference is freedom.
It frees you to say, "I'm sorry, child."
To say, "That is a great question and I do not know the answer, but I will find out."
To say, "You are going through some whacky changes that I do not understand, but I will research to see what I can learn and not hold these changes against you or make fun of you or punish you out of my frustration."
To say, "I don't want you to behave in this way because it is destructive towards you and those around you. I want the very best for you."
To say, "I love you. I'm not the expert, but I'm your parent and God entrusted you to me to steward to the best of my ability and the best means I will read, study, pray, learn, grow with you."
As you journey in sharing very deep concepts with your kids, check your heart to make sure you've wrestled these very deep concepts for yourself. First things first! It is the same idea we hear on airplanes whenever we fly. "Please put on your oxygen mask before you assist those around you." Fresh oxygen gives you the perspective and ability to help. If you are still breathing in wrong thinking and ideas of sexuality, you will be unable to help your kids develop and grow with extreme health in these areas. Note: This is why the questions above are so very important. You do not have to have a story like mine to have an unhealthy view on sex. If you know nothing of biblical sexuality, but try to teach someone about it, aren't you trying to put on their oxygen mask before you've taken care of your own? Come to a place of ease, peace, beauty, healing, contentment in these topics so that you can communicate with your family without fear, prudishness, inappropriate humor, ignorance, or scientifically wrong information.
Is it a huge assignment? Yes. Absolutely. But, look around! Look at what the world is telling our sons and daughters about their bodies! I will take the assignment and do all the extra credit I can to give my kids the view that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God has purposed them to worship Him with their bodies, that He has called them to live a pure life that pleases him.
Some of you may want to ask me if I may be over-thinking all of this a bit. Well, yes. I am. That's the story of my life. But, I hear on a fairly consistent basis what great kids I have...God's grace, prayer, intentionality, and over-thinking, my friends.
Do any of the above questions resonate with you? Do you have a close friend or confidant with whom you can discuss these ideas? Have you considered seeking biblical counseling for areas you may feel stuck in your own healing process? If first things first is true, what is the first (or next) thing you need to do to continue to walk towards health in talking with your kids about sex?