Archive for Your Message

Protecting the Innocent

Had lunch last week with some friends who are young mothers and each had been to my workshop, Sooner Than You Think

Wondering if they had  implemented what they had learned, I asked, “Now that you’ve heard HOW to talk to your kids about sex, have you actually done it?” I was glad to hear that 3 out of the 4 had taken the steps to talk to their children, and had felt confident in doing so.

The mother who had not spoken to her children said, ” Here’s the deal… I WANT to talk to my son, and I feel like I finally  have the
tools to do that,  but I just don’t want to take away his innocence!”

Totally understandable.

But then, thankfully, Christy spoke up, “I find the beauty of this strategy of starting early is that it actually PROTECTS their innocence. We  know our children have heard the facts from us, and
we have told them that sex is designed by God. I really feel like this has protected their curious minds from accepting what they might
hear out in the world. What we have said is their FIRST impression, and also their protection.”

None of us will do this sex-talk thing perfectly, but protecting our children by giving them our own thoughts and facts on the subject is a great motivation to make a stab at it.

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Healthy, Junk, or Poison?

What did your kids eat today?  Some whole grain goodness wrapped up in a Cheerio? How much do we love it when they ask for a second helping of brocoli?  If our children are picky eaters and will only eat mac and cheese it stresses us out a bit. We want them to get all the nutrients of a balanced diet.

It’s OK if they have the occasional junk food…the chips, soft drinks, pizza, sugar cereal. Everyone enjoys those treats. But all in all, as parents we oversee the menu for the week and do our best to insure that what we offer is as healthy as possible.  At least we try.

Now let’s think about what their brains are taking in over the airwaves each week. How much of what they consume is healthy tv? How much is junk?

One thing we would never let our children put in their mouths is poison! We lock it up, and panic at the thought that they might accidentally ingest a toxin that could really harm them. There may not be a skull and crossbones on some of the tv shows, movies, or video games that are out there, but maybe there should be. When you consider what devastation can come from a steady diet of the programming that Hollywood is cooking up.

The problem is that they flavor it with  a cup of humor, two tablespoons of great acting, and a dash of pizzaz. We hardly know we’re swallowing anything objectionable.

I know, I know.  I may sound like a downer…but should small children watch Glee? Modern Family? even old re-runs of Friends? What are they learning? Is it contrary to your values? Then consider taking it OFF the menu. It may be a sacrifice for you. It’s certainly your decision, but be sure you ARE deciding. Some of the attitudes our children will pick up about sex haven’t come directly from you, but indirectly through the tv and movies that are consumed under your care.

What one person considers healthy, fine, or fun, another thinks is awful. We all have different taste buds when it comes to what we watch. I’m not judging, just encouraging you to consider what’s best for those growing minds and hearts!

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That DEEP voice

The voice of Dad.

The chief.

Mom may get more opportunities to talk to the kids (because of time and circumstances), but your children need to hear Dad’s voice, too! 

BE THERE for them on this topic, and you will never regret it. Statistics are on your side, showing the positive effect of an involved dad who speaks up about sex. Blessings are also on your side.

But even if your children grow up to make decisions you wish they hadn’t made…you will have the credibility to talk to them as they mature if you initiated conversations when they were young or if you answered their questions with sincerity.

Once a man told me that he was deeply saddened to hear about his 16-year-old son having sex with his girlfriend. I asked how he found out, and the dad said,  “Actually, my son told me, after I asked some very direct questions about his relationship with his girlfriend.” he went on to say, “We were able to talk through how he crossed the line, and how he needed to get back on track…I think he trusted me with this information because we had been in conversations for so many years.”

Difficult, but beautiful.

There is research from Dr. Kevin Leman that an involved dad can make all the difference, particularly in the life of his daughters. The daughter who knows her dad has high expectations, and a deep involvement in her intellectual, social and spiritual growth is a daughter who will have the confidence to manage the difficult years.

Talking to your kids about sex is not a guarantee that they will do exactly what you hope they do. But it IS a guarantee that you will have a relationship with them on this subject.

I’m not saying it’s an easy subject.

But you can handle it, big guy!

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Speaking of Grandparents….

Here we are in the brink of…S-U-M-M-E-R!!!!

Ideally, this is the season of down-time, and vacations, and visiting grandparents. Looking back, I would say that my grandparents were some of the strongest people of influence in my life. Children are naturally curious about the way things ‘used to be in the old days’…and this is a great opportunity for children to hear about your parent’s values, to look at wedding pictures, hear funny stories about you,  and to hear the wisdom of the ages from your parents. Encourage these conversations, and maybe even give your children a notebook full of questions to ask their Grandparents when they go for a visit.

At some point, your parents also need to be prepared for some of the issues that come up with computers, late night tv, smart phones, and internet dangers. I think it would be very helpful for you to share with your parents what your family “Message” is about sex, so that they can reinforce that in their conversations….will that be hard for you to do? Very possibly!

It is a different world today than when your parents were growing up…but some things never change, and the love of grandparents for their grandchildren is one of those things! Take advantage of these precious people who love your children to  encourage their influence in positive ways! Long walks on beaches or through mountains are the perfect setting for sharing and making a difference this summer!

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In Real Life

 

Dan in Real Life is one of my favorite movies…Dave & I love Steve Carell…and we were enchanted with the story line of that movie.  Just to let you know, and we are not movie critics, but we were very disappointed in Date Night.

Does he NEED the money?

Movies can either be uplifting or a downer, and for all the wonderful touching moments in Dan, there were just as many ‘are you kidding?’ moments in Date Night. That was our take, anyway.

But speaking of being REAL…I have a bit of a confession here.

Dave and I did not do the ‘talk to your kids about sex’ thing perfectly.

I don’t think anyone does.

We tried…oh we tried. But one child had her fingers in her ears, and one child was just a little too busy for meaningful conversations, and to tell you the truth we were doing our best to get more than half of the things done that I wish we had done.

This is REAL LIFE. In real life, you make the best of it, and hopefully have more dinner on the table than on the run. You hope to say the things you’re thinking, but somehow they don’t always materialize in the way you were imagining.

The good news is that we can go back to our children, and ask for a do-over. We can say, “Can I try that again?”…they seem to be ok with that. If conversations don’t go well, you can follow-up with a note or a text, or yet another conversation. Keep trying.  KEEP TRYING…they seem to understand that this is a difficult thing for parents to do, and kids are great at giving second chances when parents are sincerely making an effort.

So if we really give it our best try, they can get it. It doesn’t have to be perfect! They pick up on our attitudes, our attempts, and our actions. The saying goes that more is CAUGHT than TAUGHT…and there is some truth in that….but don’t forget to pray.

I’m not saying that conversations don’t matter…they most definitely do, but as we saw in Dan in Real Life, our children also hang in there with us when we fail to do it perfectly.

Thankfully.

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Leave a Message

 

Do you save messages on your phone? The ones I have saved are from the people I love the most. It may be just a “Hi Mom”…but it was the WAY she said “Hi Mom” that makes me want to hear it again and again.

Every once in a while I’ll go back and replay them. Just because. 

I’ve kept some from my Dad, and hearing his silly nick name for me makes me feel like I’m still 8 years old. (Don’t you want to be 8 sometimes?)

How does this relate to talking to our kids about sex? I just want to continue to encourage you…to leave a message. Find your voice, and speak to your children about the basic things of life. The beauty and wonder of how babies are made and how they are born.  And wrap those simple biological facts with your very own message. Include your faith, your values, your priorities.

Leave a message.

You never know when they will need to play it back!

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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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What’s the hurry?

This last week was a mini-marathon for me & I loved every moment! Speaking 5 times in 7 days may be a record, but what a privilege to meet such wonderful parents!

One dad gave me a great idea that I want to pass along. We were talking about how we can help our kids understand delayed gratification vs. instant gratification. How do we teach them that it’s really BETTER to wait? What kind of things help them to exercise those muscles that strengthen their ability to wait?

His idea: On family vacations he gives his 4 children some spending money. Let’s say he gives each child $25.00. He and his wife let them know this is THEIR money, and they can spend it any way they like, whenever they wish. If they spend all of it at the first Cracker Barrel they come to …that is OK. But they are only getting $25.00 for the trip. Now…here is the lesson part:  He also tells his children that whatever part of the $25.00 they come home with, the parents will double.

Hmmm…so it’s better to spend wisely, and maybe even not spend at all? If I spend $10.00 on a trinket, and bring home $15.00…I can get $30.00!

He said that the first time they were given $25.00, they did spend it very quickly, but by their 3rd family vacation, the older children had learned that the coolest way to use the money was to examine all of their choices, and think about what $50.00 could buy at home. He saw a huge shift in the mental process of seeing+wanting=buying….. change into……. seeing+wanting+thinking=waiting.

Brilliant!!

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“Did you wait?”

Last Friday was the most SPECTACULAR snow day in the history of Dallas…who can be expected to sit inside and blog when you can take a walk in the snow? Besides, all the young parents I’m writing to were rolling up snowballs and dressing snowmen.

So Frequent Question Friday has been officially postponed until….today!

Because you had to wait I’m going to give you a doozy of a question. I get this almost every time I speak. If I don’t get it in the ‘raise your hand’ question time, then I usually get it from someone who comes up to ask privately.

Here is the question: “What if I didn’t wait for marriage to have sex, but I think that it would be the very best thing for my child to do that?” “What will I say when they ask me if I waited?”

First of all, please don’t let the fear of this question paralyze you from entering into important conversations with your child. When they are very young, and you are explaining birth and conception, and the beauty of God’s design in reproduction, they are probably not going to ask you if you waited. They may, however, ask when the pre-teen and teen conversations happen.

Here are a few suggestions that I have given parents. They are not perfect, but they may help you think through how to respond to this question. Walking toward your most feared questions instead of running away is very important.

“When I was young, my parents didn’t talk to me about sex. I didn’t understand what it was all about until I already had some regrets. That is one reason why I have been talking to you about this since you were 4.”

“I was not as successful at this as I’m hoping you will be. I got all caught up in pleasing others and not taking care of myself…that was a mistake.”

“Sometimes we learn by our mistakes…I hope you’ll learn from mine, and you will not have to make your own. My biggest mistake was succumbing to peer pressure. If you make some of the same mistakes, my fear is that the consequences for you will be much more devastating. When I was growing up there were 4 sexually transmitted diseases, and today there are 24….but the heartache is probably the same.”

“I totally messed up, and didn’t see sex the way God sees sex. Now that I do…I only want what is good for you. I want you to enter marriage without the baggage that I had to deal with.”

My advice to parents is to  approach this with tender honesty. You don’t need to give all the details, and remember…this is YOUR family. You can handle this however you think is best, I just hear a lot of parents panicking about the thought of having this conversation.

Try to remember…this subject is much more about their future and not so much about your past.

Also, that life isn’t always so heavy…snowman anyone?

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Dads & Daughters?

“Is talking about sex a Mother-to-Daughter/Father-to-Son thing?”

No doubt there are aspects of these conversations that lend themselves to that pattern, but I think we’re missing some very important dynamics if we confine ourselves to that.

When our children are little, I don’t think it matters very much which one of the parents explains birth or conception, as long as both of them are on the same page about what the message is. If Dad gets to answer one of those important questions on the way home from his daughter’s soccer game, maybe Mom can fill in a few more details when she tucks her in that night. Parents are sort of interchangeable parts in those early years. Both are very important, but one answering is as good as another.

Once the hormones start to kick-in, however…it’s very important to bond on this subject not only with our same gender parent, but with the opposite sex parent as well. A mother can help her son untangle what seems like a very complicated thing to him…the female mind. Dad can assure his daughter of her value and worth, so she doesn’t need to seek that in risky ways. For single parents, coming at both those roles will be very challenging, and it may help to begin cultivating a trusted role model of the opposite sex for your child.

Please keep these questions coming for our Frequent Question Fridays!

Have a SUPER weekend everybody!

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