Archive for Your Message

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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Mothers of Boys…

Let me introduce you to an amazing blog and website. It’s called the MOB Society (MOB stands for Mothers of Boys). They have incredible resources especially designed for these moms to pray, share, and encourage one another as they raise the next generation of men to know and love the LORD.

The special challenges that boys (of all ages) can present are discussed with honesty, wisdom, and humor.

This summer they have graciously invited me to walk these moms through the steps that will help them address the topic of sex, and to shape their child’s sexual character.

The first installment for the conversation with Heather MacFadyen (mother of FOUR boys, new friend, and wonderful blogger) will be tomorrow, June 6. If you are a mother of boys, or know someone who is, or are simply interested in a review of these simple steps…please visit their website tomorrow by clicking on this link http://themobsociety.com/
And please check out Heather’s Blog, God Centered Mom…http://godcenteredmom.com/

Now that I’m thinking of boys…Here are my personal favorites!! Husband, Son, and the two wonderful young men who married our girls!

2007-2008 Family Pics 113

Aren’t they cute?

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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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A friendly list

Following an event last week,  I met a man and his wife who have 3 daughters. The oldest is entering middle school next fall, and the dad was lamenting, “I know that the ‘boyfriend thing’ is on the horizon…some of her friends are already there. What is a good way to start a conversation about this? I’d like to know what she’s thinking, and I’d also like to have a little input.”

My advice was for him to ask his daughter to make a list

Leave off the word BOY, and just ask her to make a list of what a GREAT FRIEND looks like. More than likely she will have things on her list like honest, loyal, funny, kind, considerate, a good listener, encouraging, someone I can laugh with, unselfish, trustworthy, caring…. Now you can admire her for her high standards, and let her know that these are also the perfect things to look for in a future boyfriend.

Somewhere along the way, you may want to point out to her that the word HOT doesn’t appear on her list. You can let her know that although mutual attraction IS an important part (our culture tells us it’s the ONLY part), it’s not nearly as important as everything else on her list. This person should first of all be a good friend.

This is obviously only the start of conversations about boy-girl relationships. But like so many things in our lives, it helps to have a starting point….and for me, it’s usually a list!

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Beauty and Boundaries

Going to the zoo this spring? I’ll bet your children enjoy seeing the monkeys, zebras, and exotic birds. When you get to the tigers’ den there’s an excitement about being close to something that would be dangerous to you outside of the zoo. If that tiger were loose in your neighborhood, you would run inside and lock the doors, yet within the safety of secure boundaries they are beautiful animals to watch.  Tigers are as powerfully fierce as they are beautiful, and we respect the threat that they can pose as well as appreciate the beauty and mystery that is so compelling.

There are other examples in nature of things that are both fearful and wonderful…the ocean, fire, and sex. Powerful, compelling, mysterious, and when enjoyed within the boundaries of God’s purposes, beautiful. We are drawn to these things, but we must be aware of their potential danger.

If you find a teachable moment at the zoo, or  the beach, or in front of a fire pit this spring…take advantage of it! Some things that are powerful and beautiful need to be approached carefully. Just because something is beautiful, doesn’t mean you run to it with total abandon. Enjoying the beauty while respecting the boundaries for something that is both fearful and wonderful is a good life lesson.

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Under the influence?

Are you curious about who or what has the power to influence your children? Is it the back of the cereal box? the latest video game? The newest ap?

According to research, that answer depends on the age of your child. From ages 0-7 parents have the strongest influence, from 7-11 teachers and coaches, and from 11-16 their peers. This makes sense because as their world widens, they are met with forces outside of the home that have new and different ideas that sometimes reinforce what was taught at home and sometimes challenge them.

But what about subjects that are never taught at home?

Topics that are left OUT at home are left UP to others. Where there is a void of influence at home, it will be taken up by the culture at large.

I encourage parents to think about a sponge being in the mind of their children. It’s up to parents to either fill that sponge with the ideas about their sexuality that the parents want them to have, or else their children will absorb whatever they may pick up on the playground, or the next click on the computer. I don’t say this to frighten parents, but to open them up to the great opportunity that is before them. Before the hormones kick in, before the culture has it’s turn, you can have the power of the first impression.You have the chance to fill the sponge…drop by drop!

If you need some encouraging resources, please go to www.maryflo.org

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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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