“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

Finding the Unexpected…

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995My husband was up on the roof cleaning the gutters recently and he discovered the head of a bunny in our gutter.  No body.  Just a head.  With the brains still inside. Totally unexpected….Some bird of prey must have swiped the poor bunny for his next meal but inadvertently dropped the head on my roof and then the bunny head rolled into our gutter. Didn’t see that coming….at all!  Sometimes our kids find the unexpected on their devices.  As handy as our electronics are, they can perpetuate all sorts of habits too.  A mom friend of mine told me that her pre- school aged child was to practice a phonics game at home on the Ipad per request of the child’s teacher.  While playing the game, a Victoria’s Secret add popped up.  Mom was mortified.  You may think, “What is the big deal? We see the same adds on TV.”  We live in a society that wishes to  desensitize….everything…from violence to sex to pornography to modesty.  With the average kid getting a cell phone at age 10, our kids are exposed to all sorts of things that their minds are not ready to process yet.  My friends over at Porn Proof Kids who wrote the book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures are working on a book geared for small kiddos…as in pre-school age…because kids are getting exposed to “bad pictures” at younger and younger ages.  Check out their website at http://www.pornproofkids.org.  Before you give your kids a cell phone or a device with internet access, be sure to dialogue with your kids about the dangers of pornography.  Pick up a copy of Good Pictures, Bad Pictures and read it with your kids prior to giving them the device.  Teach them how to deal with  the unexpected when they are exposed to it.

TIP: Your kids will be exposed to some sort of porn.  Teach them how to deal with it. Follow the CAN DO plan from Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. C=Close my eyes immediately. A=Always tell a trusted adult.   N=Name it when I see it. D= Distract myself.  O=Order my thinking brain to be the boss.  http://www.pornproofkids.org

Posted by AMY in pornography

 

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!

Chivalry Is Not Dead….Yet

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995I had an awesome anatomy professor who told us on our first day of class how much money it would cost to make a human being from scratch.  We are made up of 10 body systems all perfectly fitted together to perform everything we need. Miraculously,  it all works together even when we are unconscious to the tune of over a trillion dollars and that’s just the ingredients, not including the cost to assemble!!  Human beings are priceless!  Moreover, a woman’s body is even more complicated as it was designed to grow and sustain another life.  Magnificently woven in a woman’s body, children are formed, nourished, and finally birthed.  Even then, a woman’s body has the capability to nourish her baby for months.  Without women, our population won’t increase.  The human race depends on women and yet, women are marginalized, objectified, and traded as if they were property.  Slavery is real.  Human trafficking is real. Exploitation is real. Some 20-30 million people worldwide are stuck in slavery including  the sexual slave trade.  Colorado ranks in the top 3 for the movement of trafficking.  In fact,  there was a bust of a sexual trafficking cell just two miles from the high school I taught at for years.  Once in the trafficking circle, the average life span is 7 years.  Woman die of STDS, suicide, and drug overdose.  Have a conversation with your teens on this issue maybe even middle schooler if appropriate. Tragically, this is the world ours kids are growing up in, a world of sexual profiteering—from pornography that is just a click away to sexual trafficking that may not be as far away as you think. Start raising sons that respect women.  On a practical side, don’t let brothers younger or older hit sisters, teach your son to open doors, carry groceries, work around the house, and talk respectfully to women–at the grocery store, neighbors, teachers, family members.  Bring back the Ms, and Mrs. when addressing female adults.   I went to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming with some girlfriends this summer.  It’s an event full of rodeos, cowboys, Native American heritage dances, vendors, Thunderbirds, and all things COWBOY.  When we arrived at our hotel, my arms were full of my luggage; a cowboy in the parking lot quickly ran to the doorway and said, “Maam, let me get the door for you.” I responded with, “Thank you.  I guess chivalry is not dead.”  He said, “No, Maam, not if have anything to do with it.”   I am thankful for men like that…men who honor, respect, and treat women kindly  just for being women.  But I think it’s trained AND taught, NOT caught.  Train your sons while they are still young.  Don’t make chivalry dead in your home.

TIP: Take your high school kids to see the move Priceless.  It’s a movie about sex trafficking here in the US inspired by  real stories.  Then, use the movie to start some conversations with your kids.  Check out the National Center on Sexual Exploitation at  http://endsexualexploitation.org

Be Careful Little Feet Where You Go

tentacles and sternum pictureMy son and I often exercise together.  While I run, he rides his bike next to me but mostly ahead of me since I lack stellar speed these days.  Recently, we ran to a park a half mile from our house where we saw a couple of people who were living out of their cars.  I will admit, I was a little shocked to see it right in my hood, but I don’t assume that all people living out of their cars are dangerous so I wasn’t too worried.  However, it did spark a conversation on stranger danger.  I asked my boy all the usual questions like, “What if some one told you they had puppies in their car, would you follow them?” Or, “What if some one offered you candy if you followed them to their car?” Or, “What if a lady asked you to help her at her car?” Then I got real specific and asked, “What if some one you didn’t know told you that you had to go with them or they would hurt your mom or your sister; would you go?”  That finally stumped him.  Fiercely loyal, he said he would go if it meant that I was safe.  I proceeded to tell him  NOT to follow anyone that he didn’t know even if they threatened him with a lie.  And since we were on topic of safety, we talked about men’s bathrooms since he can’t come with me anymore.  I reminded him to tell me if he had any weird experiences in a public bathroom.  I also reminded him that most people will be nice, but there are a few exceptions.    I trek downtown every week and I see signs that read, “Prevent crimes of opportunity, lock your car.”  Having regular conversations with your kids about stranger danger or other topics like pornography, inappropriate touching, drugs, or alcohol can prevent crimes of opportunity with kids.  We need to train up confident, competent, and assertive kids so that if a dastardly opportunity knocks, they know how to sprint!

TIP:  This week, talk to your kids about stranger danger while you are on a walk.  It’s more natural when you bring up these conversations while you are doing an activity.  Review bathroom logistics when you are at the store.  Dialogue with your kids while you are in the car too.  We have the best conversations in the car!

Bunny Hunting

bunnyIf you have a child ages 10-13, with a cell phone, then listen up!  There is a new heinous phenomenon that perverts and perpetrators are up to and it’s called Bunny Hunting.  I will just get right to it.  No need to beat around the bush or sugar coat this.  You need this information.  Kids who get cell phones at this age are generally unaware of the capabilities of their devices.  Often their devices, particularly phones, come with GPS systems already in place.  Since most kids are ignorant to perpetrators anyway, many don’t think about on-line perverts. Once kids get a phone, their next step is social media…instagram, facebook, pinterest , twitter…and all matters of online gaming and GPS gaming like PokemonGo.  Perps have figured out that these kids, called “bunnies”, are uninformed and ignorant to the ways of online perpetration so they find these new social media users  and start-up conversations or on-line games with them, often disguising themselves as the same age as the kids.   Slyly, they coerce  kids into telling them locations of schools or other places that the kids hang out.  Yup. You guessed it.  The perverts show up to those locations. So if your tween is on social media, and especially sharing their locations, then please have a conversation with them about  the danger of on-line perpetration.  Perversion does NOT lack creativity.  Several months ago I shared a story of a friend of mine, whose nearly had her daughter swiped at a local grocery store only three miles from my house and I live in one of the safest neighborhoods around.  So imagine how easy it is to find kids on-line and start a conversation.  As handy as our devices are, they can be tools for destruction as well.  Exercise wisdom and teach your kids that their device comes with major responsibility and then make sure they are ready for that responsibility.

TIP: Get informed about bunny hunting and then make sure your kids, who have fancy schmancy phones are aware of it too.

Posted by Amy in Pornography

The Importance of Consistency

cropped-tulips.jpgThe average kids eats 21 meals a week plus snacks, but how much are we nourishing our children’s spirits?  Don’t you think we need a few spiritual meals a week too?  We are going to have some hard conversations with our kids in life.  We need to be making deposits into their “love tanks” so that when we need to make a few hard withdrawls, there is something in the tank.  How do we fill our kids tanks?  We fill their spiritual tanks by taking them church regularly.  Having devotional time with them.  Listening to quality music with lyrics that nurture the spirit. Our kids need to be involved in church too, whether it be youth group, volunteering in a Sunday school class, or going to Sunday school or just sitting with you in a service. Talk to your kids about the Lord regularly.  Pray with them and over them so they can hear you pray too.  Teach them to pray even if it means starting off with memorized prayers.  Make church and family time a priority.  Since we are beings that are more than just a body, we need to nourish our other components too.  We are made up of a spirit (that is the part that can commune with God),  but also a soul, which is our mind, our will, and our emotions.  Other posts have touched on the body and soul, but this post is designed to remind you of your child’s spirit.  I don’t remember every sermon or Bible study that I have completed, nor do I remember all the meals I have eaten.  Tragically, I can’t remember what I ate yesterday but I know my body received sustenance.  The same is for our kids.  Their spirits need filled and it doesn’t matter if they remember everything they learned, their spirits will have received nourishment.    It is never to late to start going to church, never too late to start reading to them from the Bible.  Consistency is modeled and taught.  Lay a foundation so that when you need to have a hard conversation on purity, or lying, or pornography, you have something in the tank.

TIP:  It’s time for some spiritual nourishment for your children.  Make time for it.

Posted by AMY in Abstinence and Sex Education

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995I do apologize for the lack of posting.  My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by taking our kids on a road trip to California.  Against our better judgement, we overnighted in Las Vegas but landed in the happiest place on earth…Disneyland.  Three days in Disney and a day in Universal Studios had our adrenaline rushing and walking over 35 miles!  Throw in a hiking day at Zion National Park on the way home and we logged in over 45 miles of walking.  We made some serious memories!

I haven’t been to Las Vegas in over 15 years so call me ignorant, naive, or just plain stupid, but we chose to walk our kids from our hotel, which was off the strip, down to the New York, New York casino so the kids could ride their roller coaster.  We prepped them ahead of time for the inebriated people we may encounter as well as homeless people on the sidewalk.  We even warned them about the strangers  flicking cards of women skantily dressed that we would be ignoring.   What I did not anticipate were the women wearing only stickers! (Yes you read that correctly.)  Thankfully, there was not very many of them, but when did clothing become optional?? While the replica of the Eiffel Tower was pretty cool and the Bellagio fountains, were entertaining, I nearly had throw up in my mouth when we passed the women wearing only 3 or 4 stickers placed strategically.  Quickly, we dashed into a mall with our kids to get off the strip.  I had a mixture of emotions.  Anger, that my kids were exposed.  Shame, that I had taken them there. Sadness, for the women in that lifestyle.  BUT, there was some silver lining.  My son, while in the mall, turned to me and said, “Mom, I don’t think this is a good place for a  little boy.  There is a lot of pornography here.”  I stopped, stooped down so that I could be eye to eye and said, “You are exactly right.  This is not the place for a little boy.  I am sorry that you had to see what you saw.  We will do our best to prevent it.  But you always listen to that still small voice inside of your heart that told you this was not the place for you. That was the Holy Spirit speaking.”   For  probably the first time in his life, he was confronted hard core with right and wrong. Clearly, his heart knew the difference.  I was thankful that he recognized what he saw and named it outloud.  I was greatful that I was with him and relieved when he walked closely with his Dad after that and avoided exposure.  You can’t protect your kids all the time, but you can train them what to do should they encounter pornography.  For starters, get comfortable saying the word yourself so that you can have a conversation with your kids about it.  Am I proud that we took our kids on the strip…No.  Not my best parenting moment. It wasn’t the best choice….but I chose to turn it into a teachable moment.  No shame parenting here.  You can do the same. Turn a failed parenting moment into a valuable lesson.

TIP- Don’t take your kids to the Vegas strip at night!  But if you do have a lack of judgement in your parenting, turn it into a lesson.  For everyone.

Posted by Amy in Sex Education, Pornography

Talking to Your Sons About Porn…

KaaI took my kids to the movies and we saw Jungle Book at the cheapie theatre.  The snake, Kaa presents a great illustration to use when talking to your kids about “bad pictures”.  Kaa wraps herself around Mowgli so slowly, so cunning, so sneakily, conning him into looking into her eyes so that he is mesmerized and then, while Mowgli is getting drowsy, she nearly devours him whole! Saved by Baloo, Mowgli is thrust into freedom without even hardly understanding that he was almost Kaa’s next meal.  The porn industry is out to devour our sons.  Obviously, you can’t talk about porn with your 9-year-old son, like you can with your 16-year-old son, but you better be talking about it.  When your 9-year-old is playing video games on your computer, ask him if he has seen any bad pictures pop up.  Explain to him that looking at bad pictures can cause our brains to be changed.   (check out the pornography category of this blog to learn more).  Teach him what to do when he encounters it. (Again, check out posts in the porn category).  More importantly, teach your son to value woman.  Practice it in your home.  I take my son on dates where he has to open doors for me.  I require him to help me around the house.  He is not allowed to hit his sister or any other girl for any reason.  He volunteers at our church so that he has opportunities to treat girls with respect, kindness and politeness.  He has been taught to look his sister in the eye and apologize and ask for forgiveness when needed.  He is learning how to honor and protect women.   The porn industry would like nothing more than for their patrons to see woman as objects….beings without souls or spirits…just bodies, but those ladies were once some one’s little girl.  ( Only 13% of women in the porn industry are there by choice. You don’t have to let your mind wander very far to figure out how the rest got there.)  Be selective about who your son’s friends are for as long as you can.  More importantly, be selective about what other adults speak into your son’s life as well.  Limit the violence that he is exposed to while he is young. One of my college besties tells her son that women are delicate flowers that need to be treated with respect and kindness.  The porn industry can and will shred your son, devour him from limb to limb.  It’s a cycle of shame, bitterness, fear,  and addiction that alters the neuropathways of the brain….An addiction that you want your son to avoid at all costs. But there is loads of hope…teach and train your boys about valuing women.  Teach them to honor, respect, and be kind to the women in their life (teachers, neighbors, siblings, family members).  Make him help you bring in the groceries and require him to look people in the eye.  (My son certainly hasn’t arrived but we are working on it.)  Teach your son to be a warrior.  A hero.  An advocate.  The world could use a few more gentlemen, don’t you think?

TIP: Take your son out on a date this week.  Let him practice being a gentleman.

Posted by Amy in Pornography and Sex Education

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes a Baby in a Baby Carriage…

1159777-Cartoon-Of-A-Mother-Walking-With-A-Baby-Stroller-Royalty-Free-Vector-ClipartThis post is for those of you with teens.  We live in a culture where the sexual message is all of the following:  Sex is Everything, Sex is Nothing, and Love = Sex.  All of these messages are deception and unless you have captured the heart of your child, the education they receive concerning sex is from their immature friends whose minds are full of mush ( I was a high school teacher for more than a decade), or their education is from the world via the media.  Both are toxic in my book.  The cultural pressure is that sex is everything meaning that your relationship is pretty much a friendship unless you are having sex; that sex is the defining piece of your relationship.  Girls are told that if you get involved sexually, you are sure to snag your man.  On the other hand, sex is nothing meaning that everyone is doing it so what’s the big deal? I had a conversation with a millennial age friend recently and she was telling me about a guy  that  she had just met that evening who wanted to hook up with her just for the night and he was gutsy enough to ask! In college, my roomies and I called it NCMO (non committed make out)…now it’s non committed sex.  She even said there is a new trend called polyamory where people  essentially have multiple sexual relationships…(including making babies together, but with no commitment) no more exclusive dating.   No need to marry and have a mistress anymore….

I have been married 20 years.  I love it and I would marry my hubbs again, and if I die, I hope my man re-marries.  Marriage is hard, but it’s the best adventure I have been on.  I think sex is awesome too, but it isn’t love.  God is love.  Sex is an expression of love or lust.  Lust is desire gone bad.  Really bad.  It’s important that you tell your kids about sex from more than just a physical side.  Especially for girls, sex involves their body, mind, will, emotions. When the world sends the message that sex is nothing, down plays it to just our bodies, the intimacy of sex  is lost and it’s just about body parts and satisfaction.  When you have multiple partners, your identity becomes rooted in your relationships or how men feel about you.  In a culture of sexual addiction, people jump from partner to partner because the fear of being alone is absolutely terrifying and unbearable.  Because, everyone imprints on their first sexual experience, and if “it’s nothing”, then sex becomes nothing.  I don’t know about you but standing alone in a bathroom waiting nervously and hoping the pregnancy test is negative or sitting alone in a doctor’s office waiting for the STD diagnosis isn’t my idea of great sex. ( By the way, the average woman/girl gets an STD after only two partners.)   The old addage still rings true…“First Comes Love...Trust with our hearts and then allow feelings of attraction to follow. When you love your spouse through the love that you receive out of your relationship with God, you love without strings attached and you learn to love selflessly.   Then Comes marriage….a committed relationship where the good, the bad and the ugly is nurtured through grace, mercy, forgiveness, loyalty, trust, honor and respect. Then Comes the Baby in the Baby Carriage…a marriage with sex as the foundation doesn’t stand under the pressure that comes when you raise kids; anyone with kids knows that. But a marriage with a Biblical Foundation can stand.

So…capture the heart of your kids so that you are the influence on their sexual decisions, not the warped world or their immature friends.  Explain to them the three deceptions of sex that I listed.  Use your own story even if you have a sexual past. (The age of your kids does matter in that conversation so use discretion and prayer before you begin, but know that your past does not dictate the future of your children.)  Muscician Matthew West has a great song called Mended.  It may be your story….”When you see broken beyond repair, I see healing beyond belief.  When you see too far gone, I see one step away from home. When you see nothing but damaged goods, I see something good in the making.  I’m not finished yet. When you see wounded, I see mended.” Use your story to talk to your teen, you can leave out graphic details and still get the picture across.  Let’s revolutionize sex and put it back in marriage.

TIP: Need help capturing the heart of your kids? My church, Faith Bible Chapel is starting some free parenting classes on Wednesday nights facilitated by Dr. Bob and Gayle Bucknam called Reaching the Heart of Your Child.  Topics include changing the tone of your home/first-time obedience/teaching personal responsibility and avoiding entitlement attitudes/instilling values and respect/how to handle screen time and technology/whining, temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, and more. Sign up at http://www.fbci.org/parenting    I will be there too!

Posted by Amy in Abstinence, Sex Education