Yes, I thought that the title would get you in. But your internet filter might flag this. :)I am having some trouble and I would like to hear some thoughts of the wise and experienced. My daughter Katelynn is 8 years old now and we have yet to have “the talk” with her about sex. My wife and I have gone back and forth about this for the last couple of years, being uncertain as to when is the right time. My thoughts have been the earlier the better. My wife on the other hand does not want her to lose the innocence that ignorance provides concerning this issue. I don’t want her to learn from a friend in the school bathroom.I feel that if we wait too long, and a friend does end up telling her, then Kristie (my wife) and I become thought of as irrelevant in these issues. Then it only become a subject that is spoken of with friends. I know that different people have different opinions, I understand. There also may not be a right answer.However, yesterday this was placed in the family inbox labeled with a “High Importance” red exclamation. I was sitting on the computer and Katelynn had one of her friends over. I over heard them talking in the bathroom and was eavesdropping. Her friend said “Do you know what sex is?” Ahhh….my fears were coming true–only this was in our bathroom. I thought about jumping in immediately, but I decided to listen quietly. Katelynn said, “No, what is it.” Her friend responded, “I don’t think I am supposed to tell you.” Well, we all know what that will do to an eight year old. I still remained silent, ready to jump in at any moment. Katelynn proceeded to beg her to tell her what the big “insider” information was. Finally, her friend caved and said, “It is when a man and a woman get in bed and . . .” “Stop!” I screamed. Both of them came out of the bathroom startled and afraid. I told Katelynn’s friend that her mommy and daddy would inform her of this when we are ready.
So, are we ready? Not sure. When you do tell your kids about sex. My mother and father never had “the talk” with me. I was riding my bike when I was 10 years old. It was on Timberridge. We were at the top of the hill heading down. There were three of us. One friend said, “Do you know how babies are made.” I said, “Sure. It is when a man and woman kiss or something” (I really believed that). Then my friend told me the startling truth. I did not believe him. I thought he was making it up. When he continued to insist on the truth of what he was saying, I got so mad I wanted to get off my bike and beat him up. All my information about sex came from my friends. I don’t want that to happen with my kids.
Now, since this is a theology blog, let me enter a thought in here. It might be true that we need to wait as long as we can to tell the story. We may want to preserve the child’s “innocence” until it is necessary to bring it up. But could it be that this mindset evidences a gnostic view of sex? What makes it so bad that ignorance of it is perceived of as “innocence.” Isn’t sex from God? Isn’t sex part of the “good” that he created? Now I am not advocating a “The Gift of Sex” bedtime story devotional for toddlers, but I would think that we should tell them about the beauty of sex–the gift of sex–from the time they are able to comprehend it. I know that Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness, but that is a result of the fall. The lust and shame that came from sexuality must be redeemed by our worldview, right? If it is not redeemed, we cannot control it as it becomes a forbidden fruit–don’t taste, touch, smell, or talk about–that everyone will want because of “Keep Out” sign hung on its doorway. As in the movie “The Village,” it becomes “the thing about which we are not allowed to speak.”
One more thing I must say to balance this perspective. If there were no chance that my children would ever hear about sex from someone else, then I would have no problem waiting until their bodies begin to tell them as well. It does seem natural. But the fact is that our world is fallen. People will corrupt all that is good, and sex is usually the first fruit of the corruption. Therefore, I want them to hear about the good version before they ever get a chance to hear the corrupted version. Then I can inform them of the corrupted version in light of the good.
What are your thoughts?