Since my children were very small I’ve tried to use Saturday mornings to connect with them on an individual basis. I will take one of them to a restaurant for breakfast, and just enjoy them, have fun, and talk with them. As they have gotten older our conversations have become more serious. Two weeks before we left for South America I took my son, nine at the time, and we went to the greatest place in the world for breakfast. That place is called Golden Corral. Golden Corral on Saturday mornings is a tiny glimpse into what I think the marriage supper of the Lamb will be like. We were sitting there and our waitress began to serve us. I did not go there to talk to Ian about anything specific, just to be with him and to talk.
As our waitress began to pour my coffee, Ian asked “Dad are there people that are addicted to coffee?” “Oh yes,” I replied.
“You’re not addicted, are you?”
“No I’m not.”
“I don’t want to be addicted to anything,” he replied.
This opened up the door for me. I told my son that I doubt he will have problems being addicted to coffee, drugs, or alcohol. He might, as anything is possible, but odds are against it. I then told him where he is most likely to struggle. Pornography and lust. There are many good men in churches today that would never get a hooker, never do drugs, and wouldn’t even think about buying a beer and drinking it, but they are addicted to porn. This battle is real and that is why my wife and I started talking with Ian very early about sexual things. We have told him about nudity and how he needs to divert his eyes when, inevitably, he is confronted with it. I told him the greek root of the word, the wide meaning of the word found in scripture. He had questions and thankfully I had answers. I shared with him how the temptations would approach him at first. At first he will not be tempted to look at hardcore porn. The temptation will be to stare at a woman wearing her clothes too tight, look at a woman wearing a bikini, or look at an underwear ad in a magazine. I shared with him how temptation came to me as a very young man, and some of my own struggles. Here are a few thoughts from my conversation I would like to share with you.
- We must prepare them. I have my children for a limited time. Ian is 10 now, and before I know it, he will be 18 and leaving home. I must make time to prepare him. We don’t send soldiers out to battle without bootcamp and training. Why would we send our children out into life without them receiving some very important instruction and training. The fact is my son will battle lust all of his life. Any man that says different is a liar. No matter what age a man is he will find this battle raging in his life to one degree or another. I want my son to go out from my home as a well provisioned and well trained solider, one who is ready to engage the enemy and has what he needs to be an overcomer.
- If you ain’t talking remember that everyone else is. A friend of mine told the story of his dad having “the talk” and explaining the birds and the bees. The only problem was that he already knew everything. You most likely will be a little embarrassed by these conversations as a parent. I was at first. We started early though, stating things in very general and simple terms. As they get older we went into more detail. We try and develop an atmosphere where if they have questions they can feel free and comfortable to ask. The point is that your children are going to find out. It is much better for them to find out from you in a loving, controlled, honest environment than for them to get their information from friends, Google, or a porn website. Sex is everywhere, and they pick up little bits of information all along the way and file it in their minds. Many times this fractured information will lead to unhealthy curiosity, unnecessary shame and embarrassment, or gross misunderstandings. Talk to them. Be the leading contributor and authority in their life on this subject and everything else. Everyone’s talking, you need to be louder than everyone else.
- Tell them the good stuff. Do not speak of sexuality in a negative way. As we were talking Ian asked why did God make things the way he did if they were going to be bad. I told him everything that God did and made he did and made good. God is the one who fist mentions sex. “Be fruitful and multiply,” was a command. As a matter of fact it is the very first command in the Bible that God gives to man! I just blew your mind didn’t I? Look it up, Genesis 1:28. I also told him that the devil has taken many good things and has corrupted them. All good things can be made bad things. Even the scriptures can be twisted to our own destruction. The gift of sex is no different. Satan desires to pervert a good thing. He takes a thing meant to be good, pleasant, righteous, and enjoyable, and turns it into an evil, painful, wicked and shameful thing. I told Ian that God meant for me to see one woman, and be with one woman and that is my wife. God made sex and has commanded it for marriage. In marriage it is a good, sweet, and right thing that is most enjoyable, and without regret or shame.
Will my children be perfect? No, not by far. There is pain and heartache that awaits me down the road concerning my children. I can not make them do right, but I can teach them to do right. Some, many, or all my children may go down the wrong path, but they will do so with me standing at the crossroads pointing them in the right direction, and calling for them to return if they choose the wrong. Speak to your children about these things. Speak up. Speak often, and speak God’s word.