I have an 8, a 6, and a 5-year-old living under my roof. Gratefully, as of this writing, neither of them have asked me what the ‘s’ word means. And I know they have had PLENTY of opportunities to hear it, or at least a reference to ‘s’ in some way.
Parents – we are absolutely CRAZY to think our children have zero opportunity to be around the concepts.
[Editor’s note: children who are locked in a room with no access to internet, TV, other kids, or the Bible are exempt from this post.]
Consider. . .
Ever told the biblical version of the Christmas story? Yeah, Mary was a virgin. What’s a virgin?
Ever let your child watch or listen to Miley Cyrus on Disney? Were they wondering what all the hype was about this past week? (I’ll be posting articles written about her tomorrow by the way.)
Ever watched the 5 o’clock news that ran a story on the legalization of homosexual marriage?
And don’t even get me started on all the previews for movies/shows that come on our ‘innocent’ TV screens while we’re trying to watch Duck Dynasty. Oh my.
It’s out there, mom and dad. And our children are exposed to it everywhere, on every side, whether we like it or not.
So, what do we do when they ask us what ‘sex’ is?
This question has entered my mind recently due to a sermon I plan to preach this Sunday from Psalm 51. It’s the first of a four-part series I am doing on how God grants us new life. The first sermon is about how God grants us new life sexually.
It will be totally clean and family friendly (as opposed to the series on Song of Solomon I plan to preach when I am 95). But I will probably use the ‘s’ word in the sermon. . . maybe twice. Heck, I used the ‘s’ word last week in a sermon and that wasn’t even the main subject!
But it has caused me to wonder, “What if Luke or Seth or Birti ask me Sunday afternoon what sex means?” Or, “What was it that David and Bathsheba did that was so bad, daddy?”
If so, I have several options:
- Tell them to go ask their momma.
- Tell them to leave me alone and go find a toy to play with outside.
- Tell them what God says in an age appropriate way.
Of course, option #3 is by far the best option. If one of them were to ask me (and I hope they ask ME – not their best friend sitting beside them at school on Monday morning!), here is what I (hope!) I would say:
[Editors note: I am still hoping that they won’t ask until they are 17 or 18, but just in case. . . ]
“Well (Luke), that is a GREAT question. Sex is something that God created for mommies and daddies, who are married, to enjoy together. It is something that we will talk about more when you get a little older, but you need to know it is something God created only for mommies and daddies. Now, let’s go shoot something in the back yard.”
Notice what the focus is on: Sex is something GOD created for mommies and daddies. Why do I want to communicate that? Because with ALL the other influences (direct and indirect) they are bombarded with, I so desperately want them to know it was designed by a loving God. Notice also I want them to know there will be more discussion on this later, when I feel they are ready for more. This will be just one in a series of conversations I have with him as he progresses into adulthood.
Here’s the thing, parents: Like it or not, our children will be around sexual references. Some will disagree with me, but I believe it is ridiculous to think we can shelter them from it completely. As a parent, I want to be the one framing the conversation-not the kid in Luke’s class whose parents have no boundaries on what is seen on the internet.
I fear, with a real deep fear, that the only place our children aren’t hearing about sex is the church! Why don’t they hear about it at church? Because we wrongly think it is something we don’t need to talk about there! But God created it! IT ISN’T SOMETHING THAT IS BAD!!!! The church has demonized what the culture has made bad and, therefore, doesn’t talk about it. SEX IS NOT BAD. Rather, SEX OUTSIDE THE BOUNDS OF WHAT GOD HAS ORDAINED IS. Sex is something that is good and right and beautifully created by God.
[See Thom Rainer’s article here. He calls the absence of this discussion the ‘Pink Elephant’ in churches.]
Think about it: where do you want your children to be influenced the most about the ‘s’ word: from the One who created it (using the Bible at church and home), or from a friend in the lunchroom who watched an ED commercial during a college football game over the weekend?
Mom and Dad, I hope your children don’t ask you about the ‘s’ word until the time is perfect. But if the topic comes up during an awkward moment (and I am 99.9% sure it will), be ready to point them to the truth of what God says. Remember, Jesus said when you (or your children) know the truth – they will be set free.
Oh God give us wisdom for the task.
Book recommendations for parents: