For 13 years, my wife and I had the privilege of being youth pastors to teenagers and now have two of our own.
The teenage years are a blend of wonder, growth, change, excitement, terror and joy all at the same time.
One of our great privileges and responsibilities is to, as best as possible, equip and prepare our children for issues they will face as they grow.
That brings us to “The Talk.”
We spend significant time and resources preparing our kids for school, sports, ACT tests, college and careers. Those are all important but what about the changes happening to them as they develop physically and emotionally and how they view the world in regards to sexuality?
Are their hearts and minds in any less of need for guidance to be safe and successful?
I get it “The Talk” is scary.
It is one of the classic issues of parenting. Recollections vary from an awkward conversation with one or both parents, or a book of some sort and many others say they never had any talk with parents about it all.
Some ask, “What’s the big deal? They will figure it out eventually.” There is some truth to that. But, if we used that logic there isn’t a reason to teach and train our kids about anything.
** Funny Sidenote: My son is in the youth group at our church and I was recently going to talk with the teen guys about this subject. My son was not very happy about that and said, “Why dad?? I just don’t want to hear this talk again, we’ve already had this talk and every talk we have turns into a conversation about brain chemicals and wieners!”
A bit over exaggerated but point taken, son .. . 😂
Contrary to my son’s opinion, sexuality isn’t my first choice of conversation but the risk and rewards in regards to how we navigate the course of our sexuality are too great to avoid some awkward moments.
So, here is the big question. Why so much fear and anxiety with this subject?
The short answer? It’s part of being human. Actually, the very first fear humans had was the fear of nakedness related to their sexuality.
In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve had just eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which completely changes the way they saw the world (A Tale Of Two Trees: Intro). It says that when they ate from the tree they immediately attached fear and shame with their sexuality.
What happened? Why were they so afraid? What changed so much when just a few verses prior to this it says, “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:25 NLT
They were husband and wife and there were no other people on earth yet and they still felt the need to hide their bodies in fear and shame.
By God’s design, our sexuality is about intimacy, vulnerability, desire and connection. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and in the safety of Father’s guidelines those are all good things.
After they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they no longer felt safe and unashamed. There was a feeling they were exposed and could be rejected. Adam and Eve made simple coverings for their selves from fig leaves and then hid in fear.
Soon after this, Father took it upon himself to make better garments of animal skins to clothe them in.
God had created them without clothes and said, “it is good,” why did He now clothe them? Was it because there was something shameful about their bodies or sexuality?
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter” Proverbs 25:2
Consider that verse. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.
He doesn’t hide or conceal things because they are bad. He conceals what is valuable because priceless things should not be treated with contempt and dishonor.
Yes, “the Talk” might be uncomfortable, but we can’t let fear keep us from teaching the next generation they are not to be ashamed and need to value their selves and honor others. We avoid conflicts or opponents we believe will end in our defeat. Not having age appropriate talks through the years with our kids communicates the subject is too scary, intimidating or powerful for us or them to handle. That course sets them up for uncertainty and questions and most always ends with finding their way from sources that don’t have their best in mind.
God isn’t ashamed of sexuality. The Bible is full of instruction and even terrible examples to learn from. There is even an entire book, Song of Songs, solely devoted to celebrating the gift of romance and the sexual relationship of a husband and wife.
Our sexuality is a gift to be given. Let’s not allow fear and shame to steer the ship.
More excellent resources below:
- Focus On The Family – Teaching Kids Healthy Sexuality – various articles for parents
- Talking To Your Kids About Sex – a guide to age appropriate conversations for our children
- Moral Revolution – excellent collection of resources for singles, married adults and parents as well
- Sex Done Well – a 5 part Stew Rd. series on sexuality