Psalm 139: 13-14
13 For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
A Matter Worth Discussion
Without a doubt, the topic of sexuality is a huge one which carries many different facets. We could explore it on many levels: sexual development, gender and identity, homosexuality, etc…the list could go on and each one of these probably deserves their section within the FSS catalog.
Furthermore, there are few topics that have so sharply divided the modern Western Protestant church as have topics surrounding sexuality. Many churches now define themselves by their willingness to be affirming of opinions regarding sexuality which deviate from what has been the commonly accepted norm for the past 2000 years of church history.
At some point, all of these topics shall receive their due conversation. However, my intention for this edition of FSS is to help provide an understanding for beginning to speak with your children in a healthy manner about sex and sexuality. For many of us, we come from generations where anything regarding sexuality was viewed as dirty or uncomfortable and not often addressed in the home.
Acknowledging the Reality
At the age of 10, I became a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a family friend. As many know firsthand, this dramatically alters your life. 1 in 5 young girls and 1 in 20 young boys have first hand experience with this reality. Even more daunting, 3 out of every 4 victims experienced this abuse at the hands of someone they or their family trusted.
I cannot look back in hindsight and know if there is a way that I could have completely avoided it all. However, I do know that as a child I was not given the appropriate tools to know how to both say, “No.” to what was happening and seek the help I desperately needed. A huge part of teaching your children about their bodies is giving them the vocabulary and knowledge to ensure that their bodies are guarded as a temple to the Lord (1 Cor. 6:19).
Sin thrives on fear and darkness. If Satan can get you to remain silent when you should be speaking up, his job is so much easier. Often, we are far more willing to remain silent because the conversation we need to have makes us feel uncomfortable. Yet, our bodies are described by the Psalmist as, “Fearfully and wonderfully made”. This alone ought to make us stop and consider that these bodies, which God created, are ours to steward, like anything else in this world. As a result, it is our job to teach our children how to properly steward their bodies (Deut. 6:1-2).
Beginning the Conversation
So, if this topic is so important, what are some ways to begin the discussion regarding our bodies with your children?
1. Begin at the beginning. Adam and Eve were designed by God for two specific purposes that complemented one another. From the beginning God created boys and girls with certain strengths and weaknesses in mind so that they might work together. This does not mean that all boys like trucks and all girls like princesses. But it does mean that God created men and women to compliment one another (Ephesians 5:22-33). When we live in this way, we are most able to glorify God with our lives.
Furthermore, when you begin talk this way from a young age and continue the age appropriate conversations as they grow, you eliminate the awkwardness. These conversations simply become a part of learning about God’s world, like anything else.
2. Children are curious and always asking questions. If they want to know where and how they came about, don’t shy away from answering the question. If you respond uncomfortably, you’ve already sent the message that our bodies should make us feel uncomfortable.
This doesn’t mean you need to answer with all of the graphic details. Instead answer in a way that your child can understand. If your child wants to know more, you can explain the biology at the level of a 5 year old. Remember, this is God’s gift to us. When your child understands it is a gift, they value it and are that much more willing to keep it sacred when Satan wants to attack it.
3. Keep the lines of conversation flowing between you and your children. Conversations about sex and sexuality should not be happening for the first time at 13 years old. If you’ve waited until then, it will be like paddling upstream. In an increasingly sexualized culture, messages are being sent to kids that run completely counter to the Biblical standard on sexuality. You have two choices: teach the Biblically correct standard from a young age or allow culture to create the standard.
In the coming months we will explore more surrounding these topics of sexuality. However, this doesn’t mean you should wait to begin the conversation. I would encourage you to start now, no matter how far along your children are in their own journey. It’s never too late and your participation is vital.
May God bless you and your family.
For further resources regarding protecting your children and talking about sexuality, click this link: Sexuality Resources