Our school bus driver in 6th grade was Larry. I remember thinking he was mean but when you are 11 you don’t see the world clearly. He was strict but the last day of school he would always take the whole bus for ice cream. That is something you can’t do anymore due to law suits and milk allergies. It was that 6th grade year that I had my introduction to the birds and the bees. I pretended like I knew but was totally shocked to learn my parents did it three times, I have two sisters.
Times have changed. You should no longer have “The Talk” but rather an ongoing conversation starting at around age 4 or 5. The internet, the pervasive nature of sexuality in our culture demand that we as Christ followers paint for our kids a clear picture of what sex is and what it is not. Kids need to be able to see their sexuality from a broader world view so that their idea of sex is not conformed by the ideas of our culture. Here are a few things every parent needs to keep in mind when you talk about sex with your kids.
1. Start early – You can’t wait until 13 you have to start at around 4 or 5.
2. Be Clear – Weird analogies and awkward ideas lead to more curiosity and more goggling after you are done.
3. Be Confident – The world makes sex sound fun because it is. Let your kids know that if they want to experience sex to it’s fullest it’s in a covenant relationship of acceptance and love not a performance based one night stand.
4. Tell your kids slightly more than they need to know – Part of the goal of talking with your kids about sex is to satisfy their curiosity and to inform them and create opportunities for more conversation at the right time. I usually keep going till I sense they are getting freaked out.
5. Please help your kids see that God made sex because he wants us to experience intimacy and pleasure with our spouse. Sex is not dirty. Sex is a gift, it’s a good thing.
6. Purity is a battle we will lose without God’s help – The gospel tells us we are more wicked than we could imagine and more loved than we dare dream. Without God’s help we will fail to stay pure and we will fail to see sex as a gift from God we give to our spouse. We need help to maintain our purity in a world where purity is not the treasure it once was. What will help our kids live pure lives is not our vigilance in curfew keeping but in our ability to paint for our kids a picture of the moral beauty of know and treasuring Christ. He is our joy, He is our life, He is our treasure.
When thinking of how we often think in terms of this conversion I often think our desires are too strong and am reminded of what Lewis says in his excellent book “The Weight of Glory”;
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
We are far too easily pleased because we think we know what will make us happy when the one who made us and knows us best offers for us infinite joy in this world and the next. We think he is a cosmic killjoy when nothing further could be true. We must be clear in our presentation of the this world and everything God made, it is good. We however have found a way to muck it up but that’s because we are far too easily pleased and our desires are too weak.