Monday, September 2, 2013

Kids and Sex

I love my sister Aszia. She faces everything in life with a certain level of intensity. And because of this, sometimes it's easy to not take her too seriously.

That's what I did when she asked me repeatedly to go to a class on "Parenting in a Sexualized Culture." All I heard was the sound effect they used on Saturday Night Live when Debbie Downer mentioned the Greenhouse Effect.

Ok maybe that's exaggerating. I was looking forward to seeing where my sister worked and thought maybe I'd learn something new. But my kids are so young. I didn't really need to know this stuff yet.

But lo and behold, I went and got my world rocked.

Here's why:

1. The speaker, Dan Martin with pureHOPE, immediately grabbed my attention. He spoke like we were his good friends. And within a few minutes he shared that all three of his (now teenage) kids had looked at porn already. Angie's inner thoughts: Alright, this is gonna be meaty! Not your typical "purity is a gift for your future spouse" gospel meeting.

2. Then came the really good news. Sex is a big part of God's plan for his creation. It's not some dark corner of us that gets us into trouble and needs to be bridled. It's actually an incredibly powerful facet of being human. It tells the story of God and his people. Amazing biological things, like attaching to your mate, happen during sex. He made us want sex, people! God is pro-sex. I don't know how else to say this.

3. The abstinence message really misses the point. Sex isn't a "Do Not Enter" or "Caution" sign. It's a picture of a highway through a beautiful landscape. The highway has guardrails because we have a good God who doesn't want his kids driving off the edge, experiencing alot of pain. But he wants us driving through it!

4. Our kids, along with ourselves, are going to make a mess out of things. In this digital age, pretty much every child will be exposed to pornography. And that's just one way we drive off the side of the road. But this doesn't intimidate our God. He's in the business of redeeming and refining us. And this is what we get to teach our kids!

Hearing him tell the story of finding his child looking at pornography and how he walked him through that was mind blowing. He said he resisted the urge to travel that ever popular road of "I suck as a parent" and overreact. Instead, he cried with his child, apologized for not protecting him by being more intentional about keeping the dangerous parts of the internet out of their home, and walked him through how, full of hope, we repent and Father God picks us up, dusts us off, and we get back to following after him.

Now for a girl who errs on the side of never doing anything for fear of doing anything wrong, hearing that God can handle how bad we suck sure lights a fire under me. I throw off that cloak of fear and get busy loving him and listening to what he says. He wants us free.

5. He shared in interesting detail the ins and outs of the things on the internet that will suck the life out of my kids' sexuality and send them sailing off the side of the mountainous road - what apps are all the rage, where to go to learn the trends, good filters and monitors to have and so much more. So much that I had never heard of. The man knew his stuff.

6. I understood with clarity that teaching my kids about sex started now. The world is already at it. Why should I wait and avoid it and have to play catch up/damage control later? It's good news. I won't have it twisted and ruined in their little hearts.

I walked out of that building busting at the seams with hope. I felt I had been handed a treasure. Here Angie, let me set your heart right about something very important while your kids are still young. That way you can lead them well throughout their lives. How does that sound? Umm yeah, I'll have that.

As I drove home, I reveled in my new discoveries. I can handle teaching my kids about sex. I can handle when they start learning about masturbation. I get to help them develop the habit of walking through mistakes with honesty and humility, not shame. And guess what? When I screw up my job of parenting, he redeems that too.

And by the way, this was tested a few days later when we took Silas to dinner to introduce the subject. I butchered it. Like as in, I couldn't explain the mechanics without laughing like I was in 5th grade. But God was there. Brian and I were both silently saying alot of "help!" prayers, and he did. He helped the right questions come out. And helped Silas to get what he needed to get. Silas' main conclusion was "Eww yuck!" And Brian ended the conversation saying that one day he would feel differently and we would be talking about it more and that Silas could ask us anything and would never get in trouble.

The game of hangman was also introduced at dinner. 
Silas loved it so much he kept squealing and kicking the booth and disturbing the people behind us.
I'm sure they were further disturbed later on by my hand motions and snickers about penises and vaginas... 

In conclusion, I highly recommend seeking out this subject for ANY parent. Or if I'm being completely honest, any human being. There is alot of good stuff going on with sex. And alot of ways it can get trashed. It's worth our attention.

And believe it or not, this long post contains only a few of the "whoa!" moments I had during the class. If you get the chance, hear pureHOPE speak - they do this all over the country. Here's their website. It's so good being reminded about how creative and gentle and capable God is with us.


  1. thanks for sharing angie - sounds like a great resource!

  2. Thank you for getting them to come to our church this weekend!

  3. That was Laura Banks....I wasn't sure if my name would show or not. Love your blogging!