Conviction

A friend called me out today. She said, “Why aren’t you writing any more on your blog?  People need to hear what you have to say.  I need to hear what you have to say.  Start blogging again. It’s time.”  That is a true friend.  One who calls you out when you need it.   A straight shooter.  I don’t really have an excuse except that I get intimidated by the big guns who post/blog about pornography and abstinence..big guns like Covenant Eyes, or Educate Empower Kids, people who have lots of letters after their name…BUT then I remembered.  God uses ALL of us to further his kingdom.  I felt conviction, so I repented about my lazy blogging and am moving forward.  You grow where you are planted and so it’s time to grow again.

Conviction can sound like a bad thing.  But it’s not..it is more of a challenge to change.  Conviction is not shame or guilt.  It’s a strong encouragement to move in a different direction.  Conviction often moves us toward repentance which is always a good thing.   Our kids need their parents to be straight shooters…call them out.  Your teenager with a phone needs you to call him out on what he is looking at on his phone.  Remind him that the phone was given to him on loan and you can check it out whenever you feel led.  Check out his apps, his texts… “Oh but I don’t want to invade his privacy”….your child is your CHILD.  Teenagers are still children with an underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex which means they can and will make stupid decisions.  So you need to parent them and hold them responsible for what they are looking at.  Conviction sounds a lot like accountability….Every teenager needs it.

Your littles need a dose of accountability too.  Monitor them during playtime so that it’s not a “free for all”.  They need to learn self-control.  It’s not okay to write in books, rip out pages, dump all their toys.  You are building a foundation for self control, discipline, and fair play.  Character is developed at home, not at school. Hold your little people and big people accountable for dinner time manners, making their beds, putting dishes in the sink or dishwasher.  All of these little things translate to self-control and discipline later.  Stop them when they pick their nose and especially when boys adjust themselves or even fondle themselves…It leads to habits that are hard to break later once hormones kick in because their brains become conditioned to their hand gratification at a young age.  If they keep it up, self gratification can become a habit especially when they get exposed to pornography. Mix that in with a sexual culture, hormones, and an Iphone where porn is easy to access, and you have a perfect storm that could have  been prevented by just teaching a little bit of self control when they were young.

TALK to your kids about everything….especially sex.  When your 4 year old asks, “What is sex?”  Don’t freak out.  Just say that it is a special relationship that God designed for married people.  You don’t have be graphic until you get a graphic question.  You can tell a 6 year old who asks more detail.  “God gave men a special seed and He gave women a special seed.  When the time is right, God allows the seeds to come together and make a baby.”  These are all questions that I fielded this week with young moms and it reminded me it was time to blog again. (Thank you LB for encouraging me.)

I have been speaking to MOPS groups and teens  so I haven’t been a total hermit but I needed the reminder to get my booty in gear again.  And so do you….what do you need to call your kids out on?  Books they are reading..movies…media time…relationships…language..maybe they are just plain lazy.  What do you need to tighten up with your little ones?  Take a break from media and read to your kids.  Talk to them in the car instead of watching a video.  We just finished a media fast for a week and just taking media away erased some issues I was having.  Try it.  I know it’s hard; especially if media is the only way you get a break, but let me just challenge you to teach your kids to play alone.  Our culture is one of indulgence especially in media.  Learn to function without it now and then.

Conviction leads us to repentance…which  leads us to growth.  I want to grow as a parent and I want my kids to grow into mature, self-controlled adults who Love God and Love others.

Posted by Amy in Abstinence, Pornography, Sex Education

Holes and Compassion

I had several  speaking engagements in June and I think I might have learned more than my audiences.  My biggest take-away was that most people in this world have holes and lots of them.  Some holes are huge and are a result of trauma. Major trauma like sexual abuse, divorce, death of a parent as a child, physical and verbal abuse, addiction to pornography, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, accidents that result in serious physical damage, absent parents, and other dramatic trauma.  But trauma doesn’t always have to be so dramatic either.  Holes can come from major disappointment and loss.  Getting cut from a sports team or not making a drama production can cause a hole. Loss of friendship from a move across the country or a friendship ending due to bitterness and jealously can cause a hole.  Hurtful words from a parent to a child can cause a hole.  A child not meeting his parent’s expectations can cause a hole in both parents and children. The bottom line is that we are all broken people.  I don’t care how confident people appear on the outside, on the inside, they have holes.  The difference is what you FILL the hole with.  Now I am Bible-thumping and I really hope that I live my faith out-loud.  I have chosen to fill my holes with TRUTH from the Bible.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know that I am God’s masterpiece created to do good things.  I know that there is no condemnation in Christ.  I know that God forgives those who ask and makes us new creations.  BUT, lots of people don’t know these truths or they have forgotten them and they fill their holes with garbage….pride, pity, financial success, impure images, impure relationships, bitterness, anger, selfishness, rage, isolation.  They settle for a substitute for love and relationships instead of God’s plan for love and relationships. Our culture offers lots of dangerous options for filling our holes.  Most of them are cheap replacements for GOD’s TRUTH.  For example, an insecure girl buys into the lie that she ought to dress provocative, act sexy and aggressive  in order to snag a boy…evening sending him nude photos on SnapChat (that was the story I heard over and over in June from lots of moms), but this was never God’s design.  So as moms, what do we do???  Teach your kids about God’s truth.  Encourage inner beauty with your daughter and character development.  Integrity starts with developing character traits such as perseverance, discretion, confidence, sincerity, modesty-both of dress and heart, poise.  Spend lots of time with your kids.  Did you know that kids who have dinner less often with their parents are more likely to be involved in many risky behaviors. (1) So this summer, make dinner a priority!

Because we all have holes, we all need compassion.  Many people haven’t filled their holes with God’s Truth and they have traded Biblical Truth for a cultural norm…in relationships…in media…in addictive behavior….in sexual promiscuity…just to name a few.  People need compassion and acceptance…that doesn’t mean that we approve of all behavior however.  You can LOVE without APPROVAL.…any parent knows that.  I love my children even though I do not approve of their behavior or choices.  As humans we tend not to like people who don’t agree with us or approve of our choices.  And that’s where LOVE breaks through….Love says, “Think twice about that decision.”  Love challenges and says, “Are you feeling pitiful or prideful in this situation?”  Love sharpens, chastises, corrects, challenges; love doesn’t always agree but it is patient, kind, it is not boastful, it is not proud, it does not self-seek.  It is not easily angered nor does it keep record of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. (2) Love sees the holes in others and responds with compassion rather than judgement.  Loving is way harder than liking.  Love, not agreement, keeps families together, communities together.  I live in a wonderful community and I definitely don’t see eye to eye with all the members of my community…but I would help any of them in time of need because I choose love.  Teach your kids this concept:  Loving without agreement.  If your family identity is based on Scripture, then you will have to love people without agreeing with them because your convictions will be different.  But isn’t that what Jesus did?  He loved people, not their choices.  We can do the same.

TIP:  This summer, eat as many dinners together as a family as you can.  Moms, read the book Girls Uncovered by McIlhaney, Bush.  Teach your kids how to love people, not agree with them. And get off SnapChat.

(1):F.I Luntz, What Americans Really Want…Really: The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams, and Fears (New York: Hyperion, 2009),257.

(2) I Corinthians 13: 4-7, NIV study Bible.

Transition Stinks!

The month of MAY..every parent’s nightmare as the last days of school wrap up.  I think it’s the most stressful time of the year…tests, concerts, sporting events, projects, last minute assignments..all of it is a recipe for mom retirement….and a migraine!  That TRANSITION from school to summer can be a whirlwind for certain.  But transition can be a good too.  It’s a time to re-think some of the conversations you may need to cover with your kids this summer.  Plus, summer activities can be a natural segue’ for conversation. Here are some ideas…

Ages 3-6: If you are still using words like tinkle ,wee wee, and all manners of crazy genital slang with your preschoolers, it’s time you taught them proper terminology.  Next time you put your toddler in a swim suit, tell them the proper names of their organs.  I heard a mom tell her son to put his wee wee in the potty and tinkle.  We want innocent children, not ignorant.  Teach them properly.  Swimsuit season is also a good time to remind them that no one touches their private parts.  Anything covered up by a swim suit is off limits. If you are still showering with your kids, that needs to stop.  You don’t want your children to be imprinting on your naked body.  It often leads to kids obsessing about nakedness and their own bodies.

Ages 6-9: Start talking modesty with your daughter.  If she wants a bikini, find out why.  Modesty of the heart starts young and modesty starts in the heart, before the body. I am not against bikinis but we want our daughters to be attractive, not attracting so start fostering classiness.  Does your 7 year old really need to be in a bikini?  Think that through.   Private parts are not very private if they are not covered up. With your sons, foster self control, especially with the whole “adjusting” thing.  He doesn’t need to adjust his gonads nine times a day.  Start requiring some self-control because when the good feelings come from touching, self-gratifying may follow; so when you see it this summer, say something to your son.  But also, explain why..” It’s time to learn some self-control.  You don’t need to touch your private parts, because you don’t want it to become a habit.  It can be a difficult habit to break.”

Ages 10-13:  This is the time when many parents start thinking about cell-phones for their kids. Give them some stipulations when you give them a cell phone.  Phones open the door to a whole lot of freedom that most kids can’t handle and don’t even know what to do with.  The conversations I have with moms about what their kids are dealing with is astounding…. A boy sent a girl a picture of his gonads on snapchat…..cuz that’s classy!  That’s just one example of the many that I heard this week!  I read an article recently about all the teenage suicide that has come out of social media.  Think about a filter so your kids aren’t exposed to pornography.  Have a conversation about pornography and the dangers of addiction and the exploitation of women and children in the porn industry.  (Only 13% of women are there by choice.)  Take time this summer and have some of these conversations.  If you have a daughter, talk about her changing body because it starts at 10 or 11 with breast buds, body odor, and then “hair down there.”  Periods are about a year and half after breast bud development.  Once she starts a period, then you need to have a  conversation about sex.  The summer between 7th and 8th grade is a good time to finish up your “sex talks” with your girls.  I recommend the book 30 Days of Sex Talks.  It is for ages 12+.  There is a direct link on my resource page.  Another great curriculum is the Passport to Purity series.  That can be over kids heads if you start too young.  Middle school, around 7th grade is a good time for that series.

Ages 14+:  Hard conversations happen at these ages.  If you haven’t put the work in the younger years, these conversations can be downright terrifying….like getting nude photos from a guy or finding out your daughter sent a topless picture of herself to someone.  People think that snapchat is safe since the picture deletes after 5 seconds, but don’t be so sure.  TALK to your kids this summer about everything. …dating, marriage, sex.  Their friends’ brains are full of mush so they need to hear the truth from you!  Spend as much time together as a family doing fun things outside…generate a good family identity.  Make a fun list and work on it as a family.  The tighter knit your family is…the more confident your kids will be and the more likely they will have the guts to make the right choices.  Transition can stink, but it’s also a great time to make changes in your life-style, and in your training of your kids.  Summer is a great time to make a few changes if need be.  Make the most out of this summer’s transition time!

TIP: Capitalize on teachable moments: pregnant moms, bathtub erections with your toddler sons, boys adjusting in public (it just looks gross). Modesty at the mall, pool, playground, sports venues. Talk about your period when you are on it. When the dog finds a tampon, use it as a time to teach. Weave sexuality in as you would table manners, tithe, social manners, dating.

“Over Confidence is the Most Dangerous Form of Carelessness.”

I graduated from high school in 1989 without a cell phone.  In fact, CD’s had only been around a about 7 years.   During my collegiate years, the answering machine evolved as well as the Internet or World Wide Web.  Most of my professors were against using the Internet as a source for any research papers.  I started teaching in 1994-1995, which apparently was a banner year for technology because the  cell phone became popular, email, Yahoo ,PlayStation and DVD’s all had a market….and hand sanitizer  became popular too! Google and computer animation developed in 1998 and introduced us to Toy Story, Bug’s Life, Shrek, Monsters Inc, Shrek, and finally Frozen.  Since my children have been born in 2004, 2007, I Phones, Wii, and Xbox have evolved.  We live in a fast-paced every changing world!

It took 55 years for the telephone to have 50 million users.  It took the Internet 4 years to have 50 million users.  In 35 days, Angry Birds had 50 million users.  (techworm.net) One pornography site transfers 4,000 pages a second!  (Barna) The average American kid will view 14,000 sexual references each year….only a 165 will deal with abstinence, self-control, STD’s, pregnancy (American Academy of Pediatrics). The world is NOT the same place that your were raised in. So as the media world spins out of control around you, what conversations have you had with your kids about abstinence, self-control, STD’s, pregnancy?  If they are little, use every opportunity to teach self control, especially with boys.  I had a conversation with a mom recently and she told me that her 8 year old son likes to play with his “goodies”.  She told him it was fine as long as he did it in his room and not in public.  I think she missed the boat.  What a great opportunity to have a conversation about self control and why we don’t play with our own genitals in public or private.  Once the dopamine rush hits from the genital stimulation, we can condition our genitals to only respond to our hands. This is Not God’s design for our bodies.  We need to exercise self control with our bodies.  We exercise self control with candy, soda, junk food, and hopefully media use, just like we exercise self control with our bodies. Combine self-gratification and pornography and you have the perfect storm for addiction, erectile dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction.  Don’t be over-confident in your parenting…don’t assume that your kids are doing what they should be in the privacy of their rooms.  Keep an open door policy when they have a device in their rooms.  Then visit the room often to hold them accountable.  Most of us who are parenting today didn’t have access to the media that our kids have today.  Therefore, we better be talking to them about  what they are being exposed to, especially in the arena of sexuality.  In addition, TV’s in kids’ rooms can cause sleep issues, freedom issues, and exposure to content that their brains just are not ready to process or handle.   Wise old YODA from Star Wars says, “Over confidence is the most dangerous form of carelessness.”

TIP:  Keep your kids bedroom doors open more than closed.  Be a careful, watchful parent.  Have a conversation with your son about his goodies and not touching or playing with them and WHY.

Posted by AMY in Sex Education and Abstinence

 

Making Time…

I am attempting to get back in shape.  I could say that I have not had time to run but the truth of the matter is that I have not MADE time to run.  We might have to MAKE time to talk to our kids.  Recently, I had my daughter tag along on her scooter while I ran. (Let’s be honest; it was more of a jog.) Since she has begun a new phase of womanhood in her life, I decided that it was time to find out about where she is with boys on account of all those extra hormones kicking in and all.  I don’t really know if she even notices them yet but I decided it was time to explore the topic.  Now since she was scootering and I was jogging, we didn’t have to look each other in the eye so that helps to take any awkwardness out.  I like to keep the conversation pretty simple and comfortable so I just asked, “Do you have any friends who are into boys yet?”  So we talked about the people who were and were not and then I finally asked if she liked any boys. Happy with her answer, I moved on to another topic. That was it. Short and sweet and it let me know where she is and what to be aware of for future conversations.  A wise friend always reminds me to be on the look out for “what’s next” in my kid’s sexuality.  Once your kids start having body odor and growing armpit hair, it’s time to think about a hygiene conversation. If you have girls, start noticing if they have breast buds and then start wearing sports bras and be thinking how you will prep her for a period.  Stay ahead of the game.  (See my last post).

An easy way into conversation with your kids is to ask about their friends.  “Have any of your friends started their periods?”  Have any of your friends tried drugs?” Are any of your friends talking about sex?”  “What do your friends think about….”  I think this works because it makes the conversation feel objective rather than subjective.   I want to honor you in you might want to approach the topic of sexuality with your kids but if you need some help or some help starting the conversation, I am speaking this week to moms and girls 3rd grade -6th grade on the topic of “Your Changing Vessel”.   Join me on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15th at 6:30-8.  We will be talking about physical development.  There won’t be any “sex-ed” teaching. I will begin with body odor and end with a general summary of what menstruation is.  Using the words, “BY GOD’s DESIGN”, we will talk about the beginning stages of adolescence,  we will mention that anything that their swim suit covers is off-limits to others and what to do if some one touches them,  and briefly discuss inappropriate pictures and what to do if they see one. I want to help you start conversations with your daughter.  Parents are still the #1 force in their child’s life and I want  you to be that force.  I will be speaking at Faith Bible Chapel  in the Atrium on the West Campus. 6250 Wright Street  Arvada, CO.  You are welcome to attend this free event. A friend of mine started an amazing girls club at my church on Wednesday nights.  I will be presenting at their regular club time. There will be lots of moms and daughters present so come join in the fun!   Also, I will be speaking at the same location on Tuesday, March 21st (from 6:30-8), on how to talk to your kids about pornography, the two sides of their brain, transgender, and same gender attraction. This event is free and for parents only.

Let’s get the conversations rolling!

Posted by AMY in Sex Education

Note: I first learned of the term “By GOD’s Design” from Mary Flo Ridley in her book Simple Truths.  I just loved that phrase so I now I use it too, giving her full credit.  You can find her at http://www.maryflo.org or http://www.JustSayYes.org  I incorporate my Biology background, 20 years of teaching experience, and God’s Word into my presentations.

Lizards and Toasters

lizardYou just never know when a teaching opportunity might pop up when you least expect it.  My sister  lived overseas in Indonesia for many years and occasionally would have a lizard pop up in her toaster along with her toast.  What a surprise!  The little lizards would crawl on her counters and on her appliances and then fall in the toaster.  She never knew they were there until they popped up with her toast.  Recently I had a conversation with my son that just sort of “popped up”.  He has to wear a sports cup for baseball now and so we had to buy a new one cuz he grew out of his old one!  He was trying on the new one (at home, of course!) and then began to strut around the room commenting on how big his penis looked with the cup on (and the cup underwear that came with it).  I did take that opportunity to remind him that we keep our privates covered up and that nobody touches them. When I said “privates”, he said, “I think it’s funny how on Dude Perfect, Ty calls them “goodies” and how other people call it “junk”.  My daughter, who overheard the conversation in another room, came in and told Ben a few more slang words for penis and I was wholeheartedly shocked that she knew them.  But it led to an opportunity to talk to my kids about several things.  #1: I reminded them that we keep our goodies covered up because God made them special so they need to be treated with respect.  #2: I reminded them that no one touches our junk except occasionally a doctor and mom should be in the room. #3: These moments are great opportunities to remind boys that they don’t need to touch their privates…(conditioning our bodies and brains by our own stimulation can lead to other issues later).   #4:  I reminded them that in our house, we use the proper terminology and not slang words. (I did tell them that goodies and junk were ok to use.)  I told my kids, “Imagine how odd it would sound if our pediatrician said, ‘Ok , I need to take a look at your winkie now'”.   My son decided that would be really weird.  There will be people who call our privates slang names, some even sound vulgar, but those are not names that our family uses.  You might have an inappropriate picture pop up on your media device or even a magazine with a woman scantily dressed.  Take these opportunities to talk modesty and have a conversation about pornography.  Start with telling your kids what porn is so they know it when they see it.  Once your kids are in middle school, talk about the exploitation of women..that’s really what porn is.   You will have so many opportunities to talk to your kids about sexuality and down the road your conversations will be much tougher and perhaps more uncomfortable.  You must build a foundation whenever possible. You may say that your kids are shy or quiet or simply just not interested in talking to you about sexuality, but I assure you that they are talking to someone.  SO use those “pop up” moments every chance you get.

TIP: You may need to create some “pop up” moments with some of your introverted kids. For example,leave your box of tampons out on your counter and start a conversation.Use your friends’ kids…”Have any of your friends started their periods?”  “How do you feel about that?” Are you nervous, scared, excited?”  The American Girl (as in the dolls) have several books you can read together.  There are even good books at the local library too.    Walk through a sporting goods store and stop at the cup section with your son.   Ask your son what words he has heard other kids use for their privates. Boys don’t always like to talk eye to eye about this subject so bringing it up in the car can be more comfortable because you don’t have to look at each other face to face.

posted by AMY in Sex Education

Gardasil-9 Let’s Talk About It..

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995“Our findings suggest that a higher-quality relationship between adolescents and their parents, especially between mothers and daughters, may protect against early sexual initiation.  Pediatricians and other health care professionals should be able to explain to parents that early sexual intercourse can be associated with negative health outcomes, but that parents can play an important role in promoting healthy sexual behaviors.” (Pediatrics, Volume 38, number 6, December, 2016)  Of course parents play a role in the lives of their children!!! Do we seriously need a medical magazine to remind us that strong parenting leads to strong kids?  But you know what?  That’s still good news and encouraging–Moms, we need to be TALKING to our girls..about lots of stuff, including HPV.  Human Papillomavirus is the number one STD in the nation right now according to the CDC.  The scary part is that you can contract it by sexual contact, not just vaginal sex.  In fact, according to the CDC handout that I obtained from my pediatrician, most people will become infected at some point in their life.  About 14 million Americans become infected each year..including teens.  Thousands of men and women get cancers and diseases from HPV.  The good news is that most infections will go away and not cause serious problems.  However, HPV can cause cervical cancer, vaginal, vulvar cancer in females, penile cancer in males, and throat and anal cancer in males and females.  Approximately 12,000 women get cervical cancer each year and about 4,000 die from it.  Gardasil-9 can prevent many of these cases.  Routinely given at 11 or 12 years old up to 26 years, the vaccination requires 2-3 doses after the initial dose one to two months later. Some docs recommend to start at age 9.  Now this may sound alarming but don’t tune out just yet.  Many of us hope that our kids will choose sexual purity until marriage…I know I do, but I also know about human nature and moments of weakness.  Since HPV can be spread so easily, it’s important to know all the facts.  My conservative doctor, nurse and PA friends recommend it as does my PA sister.  HPV causes genital warts and from what I understand, it doesn’t completely go away once you have it, it just goes dormant.  So really think about this one.  You can’t control the  current actions of your child’s future mate either so while your child, may abstain from all forms of sexual contact, your child’s future spouse may not.  It’s worth thinking about.  Once your daughter starts her period, it’s time talk sex, pregnancy, STD’s and abstinence.  So start thinking about future conversations with your girl.  Your conversations matter and they will influence her…FOR LIFE.

Tip:  As your daughter nears 100 pounds, she will be nearing the beginning of her menstrual cycle. Start prepping her for that.  After it happens, your next conversations will be about STDs, pregnancy, and abstinence. Think ahead.

posted by AMY in Sex Education and Abstinence

Scoutn’ out Puberty

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995Raising kids….It never really ends even after your kids leave home.  I have a friend with adult children who told me that and I found it refreshing actually.  That statement might sound like a burden to most, but I will be honored if my kids come to me as adults seeking our advice.  Your role changes from parent to coach as you raise your kids.  You can’t hold their hands all the way through high school and college, but you can impact them in such a way that they will come back home for counsel when they need it.  Developing that sort of relationship takes time in the younger years.  Putting down the remote control and playing with your kids in the back yard.  Inconveniently, stopping chores to sit and talk to your tween about her feelings on growing up and becoming a woman.  Making time to eat dinner together and saying no to your own personal social agenda to spend more time TALKING with your kids.  My daughter and I have our best conversations in the car and at bedtime.  We do a devotional that I highly recommend for moms and daughters called The One Year Mother Daughter Devo by Dannah Gresh with Janet Mylin.  We are on our third time through it and each year we have new conversations.  One of the devotions was about a girl’s changing body and since my daughter is 12, I started a conversation with her about menstruation.  I told her about when I started in the middle of Target. I told her silly and embarrassing stories about having periods and we laughed together.  We stuck mini-pads in her various bags so she could be prepared.  Finally, I told her I wanted to be the first to know when she started so we could celebrate God’s wonderful design for women.  And when it happened, she wasn’t scared, fearful or frightened.  She totally knew what was up and that gave her comfort and confidence.  Prepare your kids for what’s coming down the road in their development.  Don’t wait to explain a period once they have their first one.  Don’t wait to talk about pornography after they are exposed.  Joshua and Caleb scouted out the promised land before they went in.  Good coaches scout out other teams before they play them. Do the same with your kids.  Scout out puberty before they jump into it!

Period Information:  Girls usually start their periods about two years after they develop breast buds.  Usually, girls start shortly after they are 100 pounds.  They will have a white discharge leading up to the starting of their periods, as a mucous plug begins to fall out.  At first, they may not be able to tell the difference between period cramps and a typical stomach ache.  They may have a very light first period, but not always; there could even be blood clots.  Girls may not have another one for a couple of months.  Sporadic periods are common.  You ought to have a talk about sex shortly after the first period if you haven’t had any conversations about sex and pregnancy.

TIP:  Spend time with your kids at bedtime.  Read a devotional together.  Our other favorite is a real old one that my parents read to me and it happens to be my kids favorite (especially my son).  It’s called More Little Visits With God  by Allan Jahsmann.  It was printed in 1966 so the names are old school but most of them have made a come back!  We have had some of our best discussions as a result of this book.

By AMY in Sex Education

“Electric Sex Gleaming in the Window…”

christmas-story-45-inch-full-size-leg-lamp-300-web_1“Only one thing could draw me away from the electric sex gleaming in the window….”  Do you remember that movie line from the movie  A Christmas Story?  Well I decided to show my kids that movie over the weekend and I had totally forgotten that the kids in the movie cuss ( not that they haven’t heard cussing before, but I think it was the first movie they have seen where the 9 year olds cuss).  And I forgot  the  “major award”..leg lamp  was strategically placed in the middle of the living room window..and was described as electric sex…and Ralphie’s adult voice says, “The entire neighborhood was turned on.”  Now my 9 year old son didn’t catch it, but my daughter did and she said, “It’s probably good that Grandma didn’t come over tonight to watch this movie with us.”  Now my mama was a sex-education teacher for many years and even paved the road before me years ago when she talked to young moms about how to teach their kids about sex.  My mom probably would have chuckled at the line as my husband and I did.  Now here is the point…..#1. Don’t over-react when your kids hear something in a movie that makes you squirm. Perhaps they hear something from a neighbor or watch a movie at friend’s house that you would not approve of.  Don’t freak out; instead, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about sexuality in a positive light.  The more conversations you have, the less uncomfortable you will feel.

#2 Don’t under-react either.  Many moms and dads pass up opportunities or just brush off the comments of their kids that are about sexuality and body development.  Brush off too many conversations and your kiddos will quit asking you their questions and go ask their friends.  Once after a speaking engagement, I had a mom tell me that her son asked what the word “pornography” meant.  She was too embarrassed to tell him and she thought that maybe he wasn’t ready, so she just said, “I will tell you when you are older.”  The kid went and got his tablet and looked up the word on internet and you can only guess what he found.

#3 Talk to your kids about sexuality when the opportunities present themselves.  For example, we have some friends who breed dogs and we are headed out to visit the puppies soon.   The breeders just have females and they “rent” a male stud dog from a separate breeder.  Curious, my daughter asked me several questions about the breeding process…How long are the male and female together?  Does the male go to other houses to breed? Why don’t the breeders have males and females together?  At the end of the conversation I just told her the facts, “The male dog is just there to have sex and get the female pregnant.  There isn’t a relationship beyond that.”  The animal kingdom is great for talking to your kids about sexuality.  We have friends that breed kittens and they let other kids come over and watch the babies be born.  It’s a great non-threatening way to teach your kids.

So the next time you see “Electric Sex” burning in your neighbor’s window….take the opportunity to talk to your kids.  They are certainly listening….more than you know.

Tip: Use the animal kingdom to generate conversation.  Don’t pass off their curious questions either.  They may find some one else to answer them.

Posted by Amy in Sex Education

Failure and Fortitude

clipart-heart-clip_art_illustration_of_a_red_heart_with_a_white_swirl_0071-0904-2000-1163_SMUThose poor millennials….they have such a bad rap.  People label them lazy, entitled, spoiled.  Armed with man buns, essential oils, and yoga pants, they could save the world…if only they would leave the coffee shop.  (Don’t be totally offended here, I know plenty of hard-working millennials too!!)  My question is…How did they get this way?  Was it their parents? Our culture? Did the school system fail them?  What’s the deal?  I taught this age group when they were in high school and do you know what I noticed?  They never learned how to handle failure and how could they when everyone got a trophy just for participating!  If they forgot assignments, mom rushed their missing work to school or better yet, did it for them.  If learning was hard, there was an excuse.  Prom had “promposals” and  dresses purchased  were nearly as expensive as my wedding dress.  Everyone took a limo to prom.  People peaked in high school.  What if high school was more about failing than peaking?  I don’t mean grades, but what if parents stepped back and stopped swooping in and saving their kids.  Let them starve if they forget lunch (and they won’t starve).  Take the zero for the missing assignment.  Let them make mistakes…even a few big ones.

I have a cousin that worked for a drug company.  For five years, her team did experiment after experiment in an attempt to creat a new drug candidate.  Guess what?  They got nothing.  As an outsider to the antibacterial world, one may think that her research was a five-year failure, but in their “failure” they actually made many discoveries and advanced the knowledge of their field.  Have you ever had a failure that led to a discovery?  Sometimes our failures, if we learn from them, can be the best learning experiences ever….. and actually cause us to gain fortitude.  Fortitude is “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” (Webster’s Ninth New College Dictionary)  I used to mountain bike.  I crashed…a lot…sometimes I got hurt too. But with every crash, I learned a little bit more about terrain, and how to use my brakes, gears, and my body to be a better biker.  I got stronger physically and mentally.  My encouragement to you is this:  Let your kids fail even if it embarrass them and you. When your kids fail, don’t assume it is a failure of your parenting.  Many  times, it is just them being childish or foolish.  The natural consequences of failing can be the best teacher in the long run.  Failure, when there is learning gained, can lead to  fortitude.   I don’t know about you,but we could use a few more people  with a whole lot of FORTITUDE.

TIP: Let ’em Fail!