Archive for Reproduction

Back to Basics… Your Message

Do you ever feel the need to get back to basics? Reviewing the fundamentals on how we intend to teach our children about sex can be helpful to either get us started, or remind us of what we still need to do. For the next few posts, I am going to be going over the strategy that I give parents for talking to their children about sex. There are five simple steps that make up the foundational information. If you have been to one of my talks, you may already know what they are:

  • Your Message
  • Vocabulary
  • Story of Birth
  • Seeds and Eggs
  • Conception

So today, we will start with YOUR MESSAGE…

Your child may be 4 or 5 or 7 and you wonder how to answer questions like: “Mommy, how does the baby get out of you?” or “How did that baby get in?” If you aren’t prepared, this can be heart-stopping! And yet this is a time in their life when they are naturally curious, and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to begin tiny and age appropriate conversations with them on the subject of sex. Are you prepared to capture these teachable moments? What should you do first to get ready?

#1… Your Message

The first step doesn’t involve your children, but it is the most important step.

You need to answer THIS question: “What is the main thing you WANT your children to know about sex?”

Most parents would agree that the messages in the culture are NOT the ones they hope their children adopt for their own, as they are confusing, degrading, and even disturbing. So what IS the positive, healthy message you would like your children to have? If you are a person of faith, what is the Biblical message you believe you want to send? I suggest you take some time to consider this very carefully.

Consider what the purpose(s) of sex may be? What was it designed to be? These are deep but worthwhile considerations, because being grounded in this message will help you to answer your children’s’ questions with clarity. They will need more than the basic biology, they also need context and the reasons for why any of this matters.

If you are a person of faith, you may want to go to Genesis 1:26-31 and then Genesis 2:24-25.Here in the first chapters of the Bible, God tells us the simple and beautiful truth of sexuality and what His purposes are. The beauty and the boundaries of sex are made clear here. Where then does the fear in talking to our children come from? We’ll deal with that later… but for now, let’s consider the joy of this parenting task. YOU… not porn, not the internet, not the neighbor down the street, but YOU get the privilege of giving your child their first impression of what this is all about. First impressions are powerful.

If faith is not your main interest, then consider what major themes you may want to focus on… their future health and well being? The purpose of their reproductive parts and how to respect and take care of them? Whatever matters most to you will be the foundation of your message.

YOUR MESSAGE… What is it?

What expectation and hopes do you have for your children? What will their image of sex be as a result of growing up in your home? This is quite personal, and consequently the messages will vary from family to family. But the important thing is that you are confident that YOUR message reflects YOUR values, and what you truly believe you desire to communicate to your children. After you have taken some time to think about this, reduce those thoughts into one sentence.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Sex is a gift from God intended for marriage”
  • “Sex is an act of love, and can lead to babies”
  • “Sex was made by God for oneness in marriage, and for children”
  • “Sex is like that electrical plug over there… you touch it, you die!”… I was kidding on that last one.

You will find that developing a clear message will give you much more confidence to speak to your children, because you WANT them to get this specific impression and it’s a positive healthy image that comes from the people who love them the most. YOU! You may not necessarily announce your message to your children just yet, but as you will come to see, your conversations will reflect this message.

The more exited you are about this message, the less reluctant you will be to talk to your children… and that’s what we are look for. Starting the conversation. Next week, we will consider the next step in these conversations: VOCABULARY.

I’d love for you to share with me some of your messages, or let me know how having a message has helped you with your conversations. Always great to hear from you!

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Summer Reading List

Summer is upon us, and with it will be a the opportunity for conversations that we just don’t seem to have time for during the school year. Have you thought about what you hope to accomplish this summer… when it comes to conversations with your children about how babies are born, or how babies are made? With more family time will come some not-to-be-missed opportunities. With young children there is a window of curiosity about how all of this works, and that window begs you to come in with great information and wisdom for these little ones about how fearfully and wonderfully they were made.

Perhaps a quiet time with books is just the ticket into that window. Here are a few suggestions to get conversations started.

I discovered these beautiful books last year, and really love the intricate illustrations:

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They are perfect for conversations about seeds and eggs, and the beauty of God’s design for reproducing plants and animals.

Here is a fun and sweet story written by Ann Higgginbottom who did so much to help me write my second book, God’s Very Good Design. This is a true story of her childhood experience at the beach discovering turtle eggs. Also beautifully illustrated.

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Simple picture books that can bring up conversations about babies…to remind of us what life is like for a baby, and how we have grown!

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Here are two books I highly recommend for reading to preschool or early elementary children who are asking the big questions. OR if they have never asked, and you feel like it’s time for them to know before someone else tells them. I read these books to my children, and I think they are wonderful. The first is the story of birth (recommended to 3-5 year olds)  and the second is the story of conception (recommended for 5-8 year olds). It’s always a good idea to look through the books yourself to be sure you are comfortable with the language and illustrations before you read them to your children.

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Of course, reading my books is a good idea too…because your children need to hear YOUR VOICE and both Simple Truths and God’s Very Good Design will help you train YOUR voice for the conversations you hope to have this summer! Just remember that these two books are NOT for children, but for YOU…their parents.

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Happy reading!

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KIA Superbowl Ad

I’m generally a pretty enthusiastic football fan, although this year I wasn’t so much into the game (no interest in either team) as I was into the commercials. I loved the Best Buy commercial with Amy Poehler asking the Best Buy employee all of those questions…those are MY questions. Especially, “WHERE IS THE CLOUD?” I actually do wonder about that.

But the KIA commercial REALLY caught my interest. Here is a family in a car and the son asks, “Dad, where do babies come from?”…well instead of me explaining the whole commercial, I’ll let you watch it for yourself. Just click on this, and then we’ll discuss

Three things occurred to me…
1. The silly (but imaginative) lie.
2. The fact that the boy had already been told some information by his friend Jake.
3. Parents who were far more uncomfortable than their son….so much so that they prefered to sing “The Wheels on the Bus” to visiting with him.

I would call this the perfect example of why I have a job.

Coaching parents on this subject, so that
1. The truth and your values are easier to tell, and you don’t have to lie.
2. You can talk to your child before Jake does. (who knows what Jake may have said)
3. Best of all…. you can have a REAL conversation with your child instead of having the tune to “The Wheels on the Bus” in your head for days.

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Summer Time Homework

Ahhh…it’s summer!

A change of seasons brings a change of schedules and routines. Maybe you can sleep a little later, maybe you have to get up earlier to beat the heat and make swimming lessons on time. But whatever the case, summer is usually a change for young children and their parents. If you have school age children, then it’s nice to know you can stop asking  them if they have any homework to do.

That question gets so old.

YOU, however, are not off the hook, and as your friend I may need to remind you of a few homework assignments that are due by Labor Day!

1. We’ll start with your writing assignment. Some of you have already turned yours in, but a few of you still need to write your “message”.  You need to answer  the question, “What do I want my children to know about sex if they are growing up in my family?” One sentence only. Memorize for future conversations with your children.

2. There will be a vocabulary quiz each Friday. Be sure you are using respectful words when you talk about bodies, and minus ten if you only use “wingy-wangy-words” for body parts. I’m sure you will all get A’s on this.

3.  Take your children to Farmer’s Market and find something you have never eaten before…give it a try. While you’re at it you can get extra credit for finding time to talk about the seeds of that fruit or vegggie, and if you actually plant the seeds and grow something in the back yard you can go to the head of the class. Make keen observations about the fact that there are seeds and eggs inside of all living things.

Don’t you love Field Trips? Good, because here’s  another one.

4.  Visit a family with a newborn baby (they will let you come if you bring them dinner!), then engage your child in a conversation about babies as you drive home. Topics can range from why we wash our hands before we touch babies to who the baby looks like, but you will get bonus points if you talk about birth or conception in any way. Remember, just the most basic biology and your values.

5.  Speaking of biology…you might want to check out a resource at www.maryflo.org. The book is Questions Kids Ask About Sex, and it will meet your Biology requirement for all the information you will need to answer those questions. My Simple Truths resources are also available on that website, and they will suite every learning style.

That just about does it, but  let’s review:

Your message, vocabulary, birth, reproduction, conception.  It’s going to be quite a summer!

Just don’t let the dog eat your homework.

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Seeds and Eggs

OK…this is it….your perfect chance…the table is set.

All creation is screaming at you, and all you have to do is notice.

Notice the nests, the swelling buds just ready to burst. Notice the new life and talk about it!

Get yourself to the farmer’s market or the grocery store and buy a few packets of seeds…any kind will do. Start digging in the dirt and jump into a conversation about new life. Who makes it, how it happens for all living things. Be amazed. Look as closely as you can at every detail.

Does it get any easier than now??!!

Go for it. Explain the pattern of seeds and eggs in every living thing…it will come in handy later.

If you still find yourself tongue-tied, and you live ANYWHERE  close to Dallas, get yourself to the Dallas Arboretum, and it will practically speak for you!

Of course, back yard beauty is also amazing!

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Connect the Dots

Drawing sure was easy if  you had a ‘Connect the Dots’ coloring book!

As soon as you turned the page, you had a very good idea of what the picture would be. You saw it coming;  it wasn’t too much of a surprise when you were finished.  And yet you still carefully connected the dots…you went from number to number to make sure the image was what you thought it would be.

And if you didn’t start out in the right place, or missed a number along the way, then the picture was odd. It could be confusing.

This is how it is for our kids.

They may have heard a few things about sex, or about how babies are born and made… perhaps they’ve been given some pretty solid hints…but they need YOU to connect the dots.

They may act like they “know”…but it’s very reassuring to them for their parents to complete the picture. 

Turn a page in your relationship and tell them very simply,”You may already know some of these things, but I want to be sure you know the real facts…and here is what I want you to know…”

For our youngest children, they will need us to hold their hands, and direct them to the ‘dots’. Dot by dot, we can help them see the picture of God’s design for sex. The picture will become clearer as they get older, with our guidance.

In any case, whatever their age or stage, let’s help them to connect the dots.

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Full of Wonder

 

Do you have a child that has never asked you a question about sex? You may think you’re one of the lucky ones, but these conversations still need to happen. 

How can YOU initiate conversations?

Here’s one way…

“Have you ever wondered….?”

Just start there, and see where it goes.

“Have you ever wondered about…. how babies are born?”

“Have you ever wondered about…. how babies are made?”

“Have you ever wondered about ….how God made you?”

Chances are they have wondered…and you have a WONDER-FILLED explanation for them!

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