Quick, I have to write this before I forget…
Me: Is Clare pregnant?
Em: Claire, my babysitter?
Jason (simultaneously with Em): Clare N?
Jason: Yeah, about 6 months, maybe.
Me: Thanks for letting me know…
Em: Claire my babysitter? She’s 16. How can she have a baby?
*Smoke fills the room, lights dim, Beethoven’s Symphony #1 in C, Allegro con Brio begins to play dramatically, mom and dad’s heart rates elevate ever so slightly…
Jason: No, not Claire your babysitter, Em, though that does happen sometimes.
Me, while scrambling egg, milk and cinnamon for Em’s french toast: Em, God’s design is that babies are born to a mommy and daddy, but it doesn’t always happen that way.
Em: Well, then where do babies come from?
Jason and I both have backs turned to Em, out of corner of our eyes, see smirks on one anothers’ faces…
Me to Jason regarding french toast: Want to take over here?
Me: Em, that is actually a very important question that daddy and I have wanted to talk to you about for a while. Mommy and daddy want you to learn this from us because that’s how God designed it. It’s important that you learn this from us and not other people first.
Jason: But, we don’t have time right now to talk about this so we’ll talk about it when you are done with soccer tonight…
Em, looking at clock, still waiting for french toast: It’s only 8:00, we have plenty of time…
Me: Em, this is such an important conversation that daddy and I want to make sure we have plenty of time to share with you…and if you have questions.
French toast miraculously appears on a plate in front of my sweet peanut!
Me: Eat, Em, we don’t want to be late for school…
SOOOOO, we’ve been praying for the right opportunity to share with Em on the topic of ‘where babies come from’ and waiting on God for His timing. I actually went to a ‘sex talk’ on how to share this important topic with our children, delivered by Mary Flo Ridley, about a month ago. I honestly went into the session thinking I was being proactive by a few years and wouldn’t need that information until Em was about 25, the day before her wedding! Just kidding! But more like 8 or 10ish. Well, I came home from the sex talk and told Jason that I wanted to tell Em about it right away…NOW HEAR ME OUT…some may be freaking out at the prospect of telling a 6 year old how babies are made, but Mrs. Ridley shares that you don’t start with the sensual part of the education, nor the fears and dangers, not right away. You start with the biological facts. Actually, she encourages us as parents to start with a mission statement, if you will, regarding the underlying foundation of truth regarding sex upon which you want to build the remaining components of your families sexual education. So, if you watched the video above, you got a couple of examples. Her family ‘motto’ is: Sex is a gift from God designed for marriage. Jason and I both appreciate that working definition, knowing full well, obviously from the conversation above, that we’ll be explaining other scenarios…though, that layer of the big picture might not occur until a later time.
Anyway, I am so grateful to my friend Kim who let Em collect eggs from her hens last summer. Em knows that the reason the eggs aren’t chicks is because they weren’t fertilized by the rooster. This is something, biologically, she understands, yet without realizing there is the missing link of HOW the rooster actually carries out fertilization…so, we are going to go from there, relating that mommy has eggs and daddy has the ‘fertilizer’ component, using the official biological terms.
I’ll give an update in case any other parent is nervous about this conversation. Jason and I are very much on the same page about educating Emily about the facts first instead of Em learning really stupid things from her peers on the playground. Also, we want Emily to be taught the truth, God’s truth, and WE ARE RESPONSIBLE AS HER PARENTS TO DO THAT, not relying on the school system to do so. Ridley likened kids to sponges…they soak up all sorts of things that they see and hear and once they are full, when we finally try to teach them something important (like waiting until their junior high friends have already told them dumb stuff and experimentation may have already occurred), they get squeemish at the thought of talking about sex to their parents…EEEEWWWWW, HOW EMBARRASSING…the very people who should have empowered them with God’s truth in the first place.
Ridley recommends peeling off layers of the conversation by beginning with the facts, plain and simple, always bringing it back to your family mission statement, and then, 1 to 2 years prior to puberty, the same sex respective parent takes the kid on a special little retreat or all day outing where you actually do talk about the more in depth topics, like fears and dangers, the world’s social expectations, including STD’s, pregnancy, oral sex, dating, infertility because of STD’s, all sorts of things…to prepare them for their future. She recommends drawing out a time line of life, like 90 years or so, and having your child dream and brainstorm about life goals and what things they desire to do when they grow up, putting those on the time line. Then, on a time line of 90 years, show them how short the time of adolescence is and then, share with them that those can all be things they pursue and succeed in, encouraging them that they are responsible for their decisions, and that some may or may not be able to come to fruition depending on choices made day to day, namely sexual choices.
Basically, if you are ever given the opportunity to listen to one of her teaching CD’s or can hear her in person, I highly recommend taking the time to listen to Mary Flo Ridley’s presentation.
As a mom, I have always desired to have this and every other area of life be an open door for my children to be able to talk to me. It is important that I not fearfully avoid the most important topics in life like God, faith, death, sex, hope, etc. because if I avoid them if I am uncomfortable with a specific question or topic, my children, who are designed by God to be curious and hungry to learn, will find that information elsewhere! They will! Sex isn’t dirty. God made it. Yeah, God. He made sex and called it good. So, if you give pat answers to your children that ‘We don’t talk about that’ or ‘that’s naughty’, they will get the idea that it is wrong and bad. And, years down the road, what God intended to be beautiful inside marriage will be perverted along the way.
The world mocks Christians for abstinence education. I’m sad for the world for not realizing God made sex, called it good, designed it for marriage so life wouldn’t have to be too complicated, yet provides Himself as our Comforter when it has broken our heart or shattered our dreams, knowing we are people of our own wills…because He restores. Teach your kids about the sex God designed…it will provide for the future great husbands and wives one day…
To be continued…
You go, girl! Love your last paragraph.
Can’t wait to hear the 2nd part of this story.
I SO agree with you on all counts!! I remember asking my mom about how you ‘get pregnant’ after she and her friend had been talking in the church parking lot about how Sue Ellen (on Dallas) was pregnant. We were in the car leaving the church and I said “so, how do you”…she said “how do you what”…I said “get pregnant.” I remember that I was a bit nervous anyway…we didn’t have that open relationship even at that age…I was probably about 7 or 8. Well, her reaction was not good. I don’t remember what words she said, but whatever words they were coupled with her body language…I knew I would never ask her that question (or many other questions to be honest) again. Thank you, Trenda Gail Palmer (my classmate), for giving me the lowdown not long after that (I was in either the 3rd or 4th grade…I don’t remember which).
I’ve always known (after that) that I would answer any and every question that my child asks me. Of course I don’t plan on spilling every detail about every aspect as soon as the question flows off their tongue, but I will answer them and have an open relationship with them in all areas. My oldest is 4 1/2 right now…a boy…I also have 3 daughters. So far so good.
Along with just answering their questions just matter-of-factly, I also got the God’s Design For Sex series. Some people might not like/agree with that approach, but I personally LOVE it.
I’m so excited about just being open with our children about EVERYthing, including sex. I am so excited about the wonderful, incredibly fulfilling relationships we are developing, even now. It’s so much fun, isn’t it?
I think it’s a great age to share it with Em, especially given the fact that she is asking about it. I learned about sex at that age from my mom–and it was explained in biological terms that I could understand. It created a great foundation that allowed me to always go ask my mom if I had questions. Funny thing though, after hearing about it, I replied “It must take a guy with a good sense of humor to do something like that.” Little did I know what a man’s sense of humor was really like 🙂
I didn’t get “the talk” until 4th grade. It was at school, and consisted of a lecture by the school nurse and a film. I was terrified about how the sperm got to the egg, and one of the very bright boys in my class told me that girls got sperm from holding hands with a boy, which made the girl “pass an egg and get pregnant.”
Oh and of course the Catholic rhetoric which was reinforced by my father, whose mother no doubt had intercourse only twice in her life, resulting in my uncle and my dad. Which is why I am no doubt such a mess today haha!
So I vowed my own children someday wouldn’t learn about it the same way. I am a firm believer that this is something that needs to be done in the home, and not left to educators who may be very uncomfortable with the subject in the first place. More importantly, what you don’t tell your children may end up having a very negative impact on his or her life. It could be fatal, in the case of HIV and how it’s spread.
Unfortunately I ended up giving “the talk” for the first time to my then 3-year-old daughter when she walked in on me in the bathroom dealing with miscarriages. She actually got “the talk” three times over a nine-month period of time while I was trying to have another baby and stay pregnant for more than 6 weeks. I never gave her more info than she needed and she was probably the best-informed kid in preschool. She got in trouble in first grade for knowing too much and explaining things to classmates … she knew about reproduction, HIV, name it, she knew a watered-down version.
Oh and I’m an RN, so why hide things from your kid? When they ask questions, it’s time to answer. And Miss Em is very bright, and you will tell her what she needs to know at her age.
I agree entirely. I have the first couple books in the “God’s Design for Sex” series. The second book (“Before you Were Born”) is written for 5 to 8 yr olds, I think. I tended to edit just the one page (on the actual “mechanics” of sex), when I read it to my younger guys. But I LOVE that series, because it gives Biblical context for sex –that it is created by God, that it is good, that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I absolutely agree with your policy of answering their questions and giving them information gradually. Good post! E 🙂
We started very early with our son, and it’s been a wonderful experience to see him grow in his knowledge of this gift called sex. It’s never been a subject that we have shied away from as a family, and as a result, he has grown up knowing what God desires of sex and also what the world teaches. We taught him to be aware of the misconceptions, and today I saw the pay-off. He is in the 8th grade, and today was the big “sex ed” discussion in his Lifeskills class. He got into the van after school today, looked me in the eye and said “Mom, there were actually people in that class today that didn’t know anything. How does that happen?”. I was proud to see he is able to have a mature conversation about sex at the age of 12. Then he said “But I did think it should be illegal to show some of the pictures they showed. I’ll probably have nightmares tonight”. He’s still innocent, and I love that!!
By the way, for those of you with boys, I highly recommend “Every Young Man’s Battle”. There is actually a work book designed to be completed with a dad and son.. GREAT Godly wisdom and sexual purity!
Sorry for the huge post….
I remember having to have this conversation with daughter, who is 20 now! It’s not easy, but important that it comes from the right source. I agree wholeheartedly with your views, and wish you luck!
Looking forward to part 2. I will be taking notes Ade!