I handed my two boys sex on a stick the other day; at least that’s what it felt like. Recently Ryan and I have been chatting with some parents and researching when exactly is the appropriate age to talk to our children about their bodies and more importantly, “the birds and the bees” - apparently we’re behind schedule. Blame it on remarriage, or the seven kids, or just the busyness of life, but whatever it was we needed to get on the ball with this subject. According to most of the parents we talked to and the information we gathered these conversations should have begun at around 7 years old. Reluctantly we have accepted this. We owned up to the fact that we had to address some of these very delicate subjects with our firstborn children soon and as we reasoned to ourselves; better late than never.
Firsts things first, I was put on the task of finding an appropriate book for the boys. I went to a Christian bookstore and found one book on a boy’s changing body but we were after something a little more substantial - we wanted the sex aspect of it all as well. If we were “going there” with them, we were going all the way, shooting for a home run so to speak. I found another book that was on the New York Seller’s bestselling list and it was recommended for ages 7 and up and had reviews from parents who had even read it to their toddlers. I thought, if these parents are reading it to their toddlers it has to be pretty tame; however, I have to admit I would rather read a sex book to my three year old than my ten year old. The book also featured cartoon like drawings for all of the illustrations, and I preferred that over anything resembling a real live human being, my own personal comfort zone I suppose. I ordered it, and we began to amp up the boys for a very special book that was going to arrive soon that would help them understand the changes that they would be experiencing with their bodies as they aged. As we would talk they would walk away rolling their eyes, and Ryan and I would burst out giggling acting like we were the naïve, innocent ones about to have this whole new world opened up to us!
The big day finally arrived, the book came, and we opened it up slowly. I glanced over at my husband whose eyes were bulging out of his head as he looked down at what appeared to be about the halfway point of the book and staring back at him was a cute drawing of a buck naked little girl and an equally cute drawing of a buck naked little boy and bonus - they had all of their little buck naked parts pointed out with descriptive arrows detailing the scientific terms. He, Ryan, immediately brought the book into the dining room and muttered something about how his boys weren’t going to read something that taught them about vulvas. I gulped, and then said quietly,” Honey, we are trying to teach them about their bodies and sex so they probably do need to see some sort of illustration describing what the parts are.” He unwillingly agreed.
I recognize that neither one of us was quite ready for this conversation; if any parent can ever truly be ready for this, and we were both in a state of shock that we had actually reached this stage of parenting already. It seemed, at times, that they were still our cute little buck naked babies but they weren’t, they were here at this age and we needed to be responsible and start to teach them before they received their education in private from an unapproved source, such as a teenage boy introducing them to Playboy or even worse, the world wide web of every indulgence you can fathom. Our goal, as parents, is to be honest with them, as honest as possible about our shortcomings, our failures, and our victories – even in the area of sex. They are not to that point, but they are to the point of needing some honest, heartfelt information from the two people on earth who were given the responsibility of training and teaching them - even in this awkward area.
Our plan was to give them the book to read together and then individually discuss any questions or comments that they had about what they read. So the moment arrived. I was a nervous wreck and could hardly even look either boy in the eye as I motioned to their father to “get the book.” He retrieved the prized possession and then in a very authoritative voice said something along the lines of, “Remember boys, we ordered this book for you, well, it’s here, and we’d like you to read it together and then we’ll talk about it later” and with that the book was handed over. In that one moment I felt like I was completely stripping them of their innocence and their childhood and exposing them to the world’s deepest, darkest secrets. It was also in that moment that I realized it was never meant to be a deep, dark secret; we ruined it, not me and Ryan “we” but we as humanity. We turned one of the most precious gifts God gave a marriage into this deep, dark secret because of our sin. It was never meant to be that way. It was instead meant to be a beautiful outpouring of intimacy expressed between a man and a woman and if we, as their parents, could start here with being honest, perhaps, just perhaps, we could continue to have open, honest dialogs through the hard years where temptations would be raging in their naïve hearts and minds and their souls being bombarded with this porn laden, sex ridden, no holds bar society that we are attempting to raise them in. Maybe, just maybe, with the help of this book, our commitment to each other and to them, and a whole lot of prayer, we could beat this unhealthy, sick, and straight from the pit of hell agenda that the Devil has for our kids (and your kids!) and their shameful perspective on their bodies and their sexuality. Maybe, just maybe, we got this:-)
Just keep livin!!