Teaching Children Chastity Free Preview

The following preview is provided for you for free with love and prayers by Marie MacPherson. The chapters below are taken from Teaching Children Chastity for Life, and includes approximately 1/4 of the entire book. Be blessed, sister in Christ, as you raise God's little lambs! The entire booklet is available for purchase at Concordia Publishing House through Lutherans for Life.

Introduction

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4

This booklet is written by parents, for parents. As parent-authors, we aim to equip other parents with Biblical insight concerning the spiritual, emotional, and biological dimensions of God’s gift of human sexuality. The chapters guide parents in their vocations as fathers and mothers to talk with their own children about God’s creation of the human body as male and female and God’s institution of marriage for cherishing and protecting the blessing of the one-flesh union. We also draw upon research from biology, sociology, and psychology, but have sought to do so always in a manner subordinate to the authority of Holy Scripture.

In offering guidance to parents, we do not intend to present “the right way” for your family. We don’t have a “magic tool” for teaching chastity; you know your children and your situation better than any one else. We the authors are currently raising children ourselves, and our parenting adventure remains very much a “work in progress,” but we have experienced enough challenges (and successes) to realize that even the “experts” are not always the experts they seem! There are plenty of human growth and sexual education curricula out there; this is not one of them. This booklet is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather, inspirational. We do not offer all-encompassing information, but rather foundational Biblical principles and prudence for navigating the labyrinth of today’s society. Even when the world tries to convince us otherwise, we can always trust our Heavenly Father. Thanks be to God that His Word is constant and His forgiveness abundant.

The sad truth is that while many parents procrastinate conversations about sexuality, their children have turned to the internet or misguided peers to answer their questions. There will never be a perfect opportunity waiting for you to seize; ideally, conversations about sexuality happen again and again through a child’s adolescence. The depth and style of the conversations may vary, but it is imperative that parents not be naive about their children’s exposure to sexuality in the world, and in general, begin to broach the topic of God’s plan for human sexuality rather when children are young. We pray that some of the ideas in this booklet will aid parents in those (often difficult) conversations.

However, there are also many options for books and curricula that can be purchased by parents and used in the home to teach children about sexuality in a systematic, Christian, and biological way. Of course, no parent is likely to agree with every point offered in any book or curriculum. Even Bible-based sources can pervert the Word of God, or give more information than a parent would deem appropriate at a certain stage. In addition, many parents are concerned that this kind of material (both Christian and secular) can feed a appetite for the sexually explicit. While drawings of nude bodies can aid in a biological understanding, they can also stimulate visually. While descriptions of intercourse might be intended to reduce fear or curiosity about the marital act, they can also stimulate verbally. So as to not understate this concern, even as grown, married adults researching the available curricula for this booklet, the authors found some descriptions in these books titillating, like a steamy romance novel, but with the nameless characters “husband” and “wife.” Luther himself avoided sexually explicit language when he penned the Explanation to the Sixth Commandment, focusing on the positive “chaste and decent life” rather than creating a list of everything that is sinful, lest we let our sinful imagination wander too deeply into these issues.

If you choose to incorporate a book or curriculum after reviewing it, think of it as merely a starting point for conversation and relationship-building. Your job as a parent isn’t finished just because your child reads a book. More than a formal curriculum, what your child needs is you. How does a parent teach a baby to speak? It happens without a lesson plan: parents gently and lovingly speak to their children, pointing out nouns before a child ever reveals his or her voice. Parents repeat words and model, adding verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and eventually the child learns to speak. So it is with teaching children the importance of God’s Word and His plan for sexuality: modeling and instructing. Christian parents do not force young children to have independent devotions; rather, we include them in family devotions, read the Bible to them, and pray and sing with them. Children watch and learn that the Bible is vital for their parents’ lives, noting that what God says in it is good and true.

Children also watch their parents and internalize the actions and attitudes of the adults in their lives regarding sexual norms and mores. This is rightly intimidating as a parent! In light of your own sins, it may seem an almost insurmountable barrier to teach your beloved children God’s desires regarding sexuality. However, God calls parents to repentance: humbly admit your own past (and sometimes present) sins, remembering that God placed His name on you in your baptism, washing you clean in Christ’s abundant forgiveness. Confess your sins before God and your pastor or another Christian friend; bask in the forgiveness received there, from God Himself. Dwell in His Word and trust that God will give you opportunities to talk to your children about His will. Pastors and counselors are also available for those whose bodies have been sinned against by others. Find healing for a crushed spirit in the love of Jesus.

Christian parents model chastity (and repentance and forgiveness when they fail), but direct instruction also has a place in our children’s education. If Christians don’t catechize the youth about their bodies, the world certainly will! Many of us were raised by parents who did not talk about such things, expecting schools to cover the topic of human sexuality. If this is you, we appreciate that the kinds of conversations encouraged in this booklet can feel extremely awkward and unnerving. Let God speak His Word through you more loudly than the culture. Pray for His help and guidance as you seek to guide His children.

Ideas for Teaching Moments:

Included in the chapters are scripts, activities, and conversation ideas that you may choose to implement with your children. We point these out in order to draw your attention to the many opportunities that exist, though it is likely that most families will not use them all. Age (not grade) suggestions are given as guidelines in parentheses at the end of the suggestions, but feel free to implement it at a younger or older age as you feel is appropriate for your family.

Note about Resources:

The resources listed have served over the decades as interesting reading for the authors, and many have been reread in researching this booklet. Some of them are geared toward parents, others toward children. Although the resources we recommend are generally written from a Christian worldview, they do not all adhere to orthodox doctrine on every detail. Please use your discernment and be a Berean (Acts 17:11) to glean wisdom from them. Descriptions are taken from publisher or bookseller descriptions.

Chapter 1: Foundations

“Everyone who comes to Me and hears my words and does them...he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Luke 6:47-48

Before delving into individual topics regarding chastity, let’s first consider some ways to lay a strong foundation in your home, particularly when it comes to attitudes and practices regarding sexuality.

Bible Reading

In addition to weekly church attendance, if your family doesn’t already have daily devotions, start today. There are many great resources, but sometimes all of the choices can feel overwhelming. One of the simplest ways to get started is to have the father pick up the Bible and read it during a meal, one chapter at a time. Add a hymn and a prayer. You don’t need to have the perfect, age-appropriate Bible curriculum or devotion book, though these can be helpful additions. God’s Word is powerful. The Holy Spirit will work through it to build faith in the hearts of your children.

These family devotions can be supplemented by illustrated Bible storybooks that parents can read aloud to children during the day or before bed. Once your child knows how to read, encourage them to have a personal Bible reading time each day, and inquire regularly about which section of Scripture they are reading. Let them know what you find interesting or encouraging about your own personal time in the Word of God. Ask your pastor if you need suggestions for resources.

While the broad spiritual benefits children receive from having their parents read God’s Word aloud are obvious, reading through the Bible also provides numerous opportunities for talking about sexuality. From the extremes of Ammon and Tamar to Song of Solomon, point out examples of wickedness and the consequences, as well as the beauty and blessing of sex within marriage. Use these moments to share God’s clear instructions for our bodies, and how we ought to treat others. Of course, some of these Bible history lessons can be frightening for children; remember to bring in the Gospel and assure children of God’s protection for them and His unending forgiveness for sinners who repent.

Marriage

Even secular sociology acknowledges that children are most successful in life when they live with their biological parents. Parents involved with rearing and nurturing their children should also be careful to nurture and safeguard their marriage, both for themselves and for their children’s long-term success. Make time to communicate, set goals, and enjoy company with one another.

It also makes sense to be on the same page with your spouse about how much or how little to teach your children about human sexuality. The authors acknowledge that there is debate within Christian communities about teaching children biologically and comprehensively verses a modest sexual education on a need-to-know basis. A comprehensive education intentionally gives children information in a trusted setting with the benefit of nurturing a relationship early on, which hopefully wards off a child’s desire to find answers with peers or on the internet, but it can fuel thoughts and feelings which may not have existed prior to the knowledge and can possibly damage a God-given natural sense of modesty. A demure approach may have the disadvantage of encouraging children to find answers to their questions from sources other than their parents. Talk with your spouse about your ideals and regularly communicate about what your children might know or need to learn regarding God’s plan for their body.

Priorities

John Chrysostom wrote, “Let everything take second place to care for our children, our bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Often, by the time children are in middle and high school, their parents spend more time at work, and less time at home. Even independent adolescents, however, need parental involvement and guidance, equally, if not more so than during their young and vulnerable years. The Lord instructed the Israelites, “You shall teach [God’s Words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:7) His command to teach our children at all times and in all places does not expire when children become teens. If anything, it becomes all the more important as we mentor our children into adulthood.

The ideas in this booklet assume that you are available to initiate conversations with your children and answer their questions. These vital conversations will likely not happen at times convenient to your schedule, so be prepared to put your own desires on pause while you help your child frame and reframe their worldview. If you are concerned that you don’t have time for this sort of thing, reevaluate your personal and familial schedule, “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

There are many ways to prioritize family. One great way is to commit to having at least one meal a day together and hearing about each other’s highlights and struggles. Some parents plan weekly, monthly, or yearly outings with individual children, such as a dinner date or a camping trip. Other parents keep a communication notebook with their child, writing encouraging messages or recording special moments. This can be a great way for an introverted parent or child to still grow in a relationship with one another. Running errands in the car with a child one-on-one may present a chance for an intimate conversation. Make use of these opportunities, but avoid having these conversations only in the car, as eye-contact is an important part of relationship-building.

Education

God gives parents the primary responsibility for their child’s education, and this is no more certain when it comes to religion and chastity. The world aims to indoctrinate your child with anti-Christian beliefs; not only does a parent need to impart Biblical truth and wisdom, but also inculcate answers for the world’s so-called education.

Even though most readers can probably think of several faithful Christian teachers in public schools, the administrative agenda in these schools has become more and more hostile to Christianity across the curriculum. When it comes to choosing an educational method for your children, consider the myriad alternatives to traditional public schools: online schools, charter schools, homeschooling, community co-ops, private schools, and parochial schools. While some of these options may share similar pitfalls with the local public school, they all have the advantage of requiring and encouraging parental involvement. Whatever educational paradigm you choose, be as involved as possible with the school, vigilant for both subtle and obvious attacks on Christian values. Talk to your child regularly about influences you perceive from the school.

Peers

Regardless of the school your child attends, peers will have a strong (and sometimes unhealthy) influence on your child. “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor. 5:33). Since your child’s friends’ sexual values will impact your own child’s attitudes and choices, be involved in the early years, guiding your children toward wholesome Christian friends. Help your child nurture valuable friendships, especially with children whose parents you know and trust. As brothers and sisters in Christ spur each other on to good works, they provide a positive sort of “peer pressure.”

Create an atmosphere of fun and safety in your own home, so it can be the gathering place for your children and their friends. Take the time and energy to nurture not just your children, but their friends, as well. When you pray the Lord’s Prayer, remember not only your children in God’s Fourth Petition blessings, but also that they would have the “daily bread” of “good friends.” Even if your child hangs out with friends who make sinful or unwise choices, develop a relationship with your child strong enough that they can come to you during or after to ask for physical or emotional support.

Development

From the Ancient Greeks, to the time of Luther, through the founding of the Lutheran schools in the United States, traditionally, children’s education has been divided into three stages, and these same stages work well for teaching children a Biblical view of sexuality.

The youngest children absorb facts and need exposure to goodness. They take in what they see in the world around them and trust that the adults in their lives demonstrate truth. This most vulnerable group, in some sense, needs to be shielded from the evil that our world sees as normal. They need help building a solid foundation for a worldview grounded in God’s Word. At this stage, guard the innocence of youth. Answer questions with age-appropriate answers. You don’t need to tell them all of the details when your relationship is strong: these topics will come up again later in greater depth.

Children in the middle stage aim to logically sort out the world. At this age, they can think more abstractly and they often love to argue the opposite side of what they believe, in order to understand the world better. They need to grapple with some exposure to the world’s struggles and wrestle with questions about what they see, but be offered Biblical tools for interpreting them. The trusted adults in their life guide them through injustices and bring them back to God’s Word, unafraid of the challenges this stage can offer. Parents offer Biblical tools for interpreting the sin we see in the world, and reinforce and expand upon the same truths they taught the child in the first stage.

Adolescents and young adults internalize the truths taught them from youth. They acknowledge right from wrong and begin the process of expressing it, teaching it to others. They need resources which support them in this quest to live well and share their hope.

Children’s brains are rapidly developing. They find security in routines and predictability in their families. Parents can help set up their children for success with consistency, high expectations, nutritious food, sharing appreciation for them, encouraging them to get adequate rest and exercise, and helping them find healthy outlets for risk-seeking behaviors common at this age.

Entertainment

A study conducted nearly 15 years ago found that a teenager watching normal television programming for an average amount of time would be exposed to over 200 sexual references a week (Strasburger, Wilson, and Jordan, Children, Adolescents, and the Media, 201)! That doesn’t include exposure to social media, movies, or other sources. With America’s entertainment so damaging to youth and adults alike, it only makes sense that Christians would choose to be counter-cultural when it comes to entertainment.

Desiring to guard the innocence of youth, parents should not remain naive about the vulgarity of pop culture. Whatever children do inevitably absorb from the culture should be addressed and discussed in the light of God’s Word. Keeping in mind developmental stages, the less exposure young children have to sex and violence, the better. Parents of children in the middle stage may choose to expose their children to a small amount of sin in the media, engaging them in discussion before, during, and after. Ideally, through this “interpretive” exposure, young adults will internalize the consequences of filling their hearts with junk (Luke 6:45), opting out of much of mainstream entertainment.

Living in modern-day America with its technology has many wonderful benefits, but the devastation brought through it to some families cannot be understated. Preteen girls are now the largest growing consumers of pornography. Children are meeting up with internet “friends,” only to be molested and kidnapped. Individuals made in the image of God are degraded through horrific lyrics that pass as “music.” Even if not immediately damaging, addiction to screens can tear families apart, isolating individuals into lonely virtual realities. Be willing to make sacrifices as a parent and as a family when it comes to technology, developing a counter-cultural family identity. Reflect on the idea of devices as belonging to the family, rather than to each individual, putting off individual access to technology for children well into their teen years. Talk with your spouse about the possibility of cell phones for your child without internet capabilities. Consider keeping all TVs, phones, ipads, video games, and computers out of bedrooms and in plain sight of others. Discuss the idea placing definitive time limits on screen use, substituting family games or music-making. Since the quest for information is a major factor in exposing children to internet pornography and creating addictions, create guidelines that encourage children to ask their parents questions about sexuality, rather than look them up on the internet. Model a positive habit to ask others or use a book when you have a question, rather than immediately using Alexa to quench your curiosity.

If your children are young, it is a great time to incorporate some of these foundational ideas into your home life. If your children are older, it may be harder, but it isn’t too late! If you have neglected family devotions and making time for your children, or been lax with your children’s influences and entertainment, repent to the Lord, and admit your failings to your children, asking them to forgive you. God will wash away your sins, making you His new creation.

Gospel Reminders:

  • No parent will be able teach a child perfectly, even if he or she is well equipped. Instead, we humbly ask God for His help, and we gratefully ask His forgiveness when we fail. God holds parents to high standards, but He fulfills those standards in Christ, not in our own actions.

  • Even if a parent could do everything “right,” they might still have a child who goes astray. When a child turns out well, we thank the Lord. When the child refuses the Lord, we continue to pray, knowing that God loves and forgives the Prodigal Son.

  • The Gospel isn’t about the sacrifices we make to abstain from the culture; rather, the Gospel is the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.

  • Regardless of your own past sins, God fully and freely washes them away, separating them from you as far as the east is from the west (Ps.103:12). In His Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments, your Savior strengthens your faith and equips you for the vocation of teaching your children God’s plan for human sexuality.

Resources:

  • The Hausvater Project (www.hausvater.org)

    • The Hausvater Project seeks to equip Christian men and women for distinctive and complementary vocations in family, church, and society, by fostering research and education in light of Holy Scripture as proclaimed by the Lutheran Confessions.

  • Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham

    • The author of Family Driven Faith equips men to model and transfer God’s truth within their homes, covering topics that span from marriage and parenting to media habits and overcoming difficult family dynamics.

Chapter 2: Biology

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

 

Information for Parents:

Biology is one of the building blocks of human growth and development: from the basic anatomy of boys and girls, through puberty and hormonal changes, to the technical aspects of reproduction. Our bodies have been created by God in His image, and though tainted by sin, they are still His blessing and gift to us. We aim to teach our children to honor the gift of the body God has given them for works of service to their neighbors, both by understanding how it works and caring for it well. “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people” (Psalm 100:3).

It is worth noting that throughout most of the world’s history, humans knew far less about reproduction on the cellular level. Yet, folks still knew the basics of how babies were made. In fact, there was a much lower percentage of births outside of wedlock. It is rare today, indeed, for young people to engage in sexual intercourse without knowing that a child may be conceived. Thus, the argument is strong for less, rather than more information, or at least information presented in the most modest way possible. The sexual education presented in many schools is far from modest and may strip God-given inhibitions when it comes to private parts, intercourse, and speaking about the beautiful and sacred gift of sex within marriage. You know your children best: whether more information will serve them well or spark their curiosity in a negative way. Pray for God’s guidance as you exercise discernment.

A traditional teaching approach suggests that young children should be taught basic facts and terminology. Using anatomical names for genitalia gives these topics credibility, rather than acquiescing to the common vulgar words often used in society. Giving children vocabulary empowers them to better communicate with their parents about their thoughts, feelings, and needs. Having reviewed a plethora of available resources for teaching young children about their bodies, the authors appreciate anatomical drawings of body parts over photo-like pictures or cartoon caricatures, and among the drawings, especially those showing a section of the body, and not a full nude human. This style of teaching aid tends to preserve some modesty and mystery regarding the body of the opposite sex. It can be developmentally normal for children up age seven to not have inhibitions about nudity. As they become more conscious of their bodies, it can be a good time to separate children’s bedrooms by gender, and set rules about changing clothes and bathing privately. Reiterate to your children that their genitalia are private. If they need help caring for their private parts, they can always ask their parents, and sometimes a doctor may need to help them, as well. But otherwise, aside from caring for their genitals, until they are married, they should not touch or let others touch their private parts. Be clear, too, that although genitals at times be “dirty” in the sense of needing to be bathed, these organs are not “dirty” in the sense of being unholy, since God created us “male and female,” and said “it was very good.”

Late elementary and middle school-aged youth are able to comprehend a more abstract world and think about the future. Build on the foundation of what you taught your children when they were younger, adding information about reproduction and puberty, as is prudent. A conservative approach to reproduction, especially for the younger set of this age group, could be as simple as referring to the sexual act as a “husband and wife sharing their most private parts together, each giving a part of him or herself, which may create a baby.” A more comprehensive approach can explicitly name the body parts and cells involved and show a diagram. These conversations should be optimistic and positive, demonstrating God’s creative beauty and genius in allowing His human creatures to be part of His reproductive work, or procreation. Even though a parent may feel embarrassed to discuss such things (or a child to hear such things!), aim to convey the glorious gift that sex can be within the confines of marriage. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” (Hebrews 13:4a)

Middle-school children should also be prepared to encounter their own physical changes in the coming years. Girls will encounter breast development, underarm and pubic hair, growth in height and width, and menstruation. Parents may remind them that these changes will allow the body to grow and nurture new life. Boys will encounter growth in height and width; genitals, underarm, pubic, and facial hair; a deepening voice; and the ability to ejaculate. The authors believe it is helpful for most children to not only understand these changes for their own gender, but to have at least a rudimentary understanding for opposite gender, as well. A parent should talk to a child about these upcoming transformations one-on-one so a child feels equipped and can be empowered to make hygienic decisions. The parent can answer any questions, assuring the child that he or she is always welcome to talk to the parent. Encourage and remind children to approach you, not siblings, friends, or the internet if they have questions about themselves or others.

Late middle-school and high-school-aged young adults are quickly growing in both their bodies and spirits. As much as is appropriate, bring them into your adult world, immerse them in God’s Word, and surround them by Christian mentors of the same gender. Mothers can include their young-adult daughters in church activities like choir or a women’s society. Fathers can invite their young-adult son to camping trips with buddies or men’s coffee excursions. Knit them together with your family, narrate your thoughts and actions to them, give them increasing responsibilities, and ask their opinions about the world, treating them as the young adults they are.

Young adults ought to be prepared to grapple with their hormones, sexual arousal, and lust. Sexual arousal is a gift from God that He built into humans, designed for the context of marriage. Like any other powerful feeling, such as panic, anger, or hilarity, it is a deep and wonderful blessing when felt in the appropriate context, but it is destructive when felt at an unsuitable time. While their hormones may be pulling them in one direction, rooted in God’s Word, they do not have to be controlled by them, but rather can exercise self-control. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). For more discussion and ideas for developing the virtue of self-control, see Chapter 3 on Chastity.

Ideas for Teaching Moments:

  • For a parent who feels awkward, improvise on a statement like this: “Sometimes it is hard for me to talk about this because (private parts/sexual intercourse/etc) are so special. But, it is important that we discuss it because (you are growing/we are learning about God’s creation/what God makes is good). (All ages)

  • Consider a tradition of sharing each child’s birth story (and the occasion when you found out you were expecting him or her) on the child’s birthday. (All Ages)

  • Bath time for young children can be an opportunity for talking about children’s anatomy: “You are a boy, just as God planned for you, and will grow into a man like your father, who is the head of our family and protects and cares for us. God gave you a penis so you can urinate through it. Sometimes it will become firm because it is practicing for an important job God created it to do: making your marriage happy and creating new life. You also have an anus in order to get rid of the waste from your food. Here is how we keep you clean.” Or, “I’m so glad that you are a girl! God planned it that way! God has made women to be nurturing and be able to grow new life inside of them. You have a urethra, a hole where your urine comes out. You also have a vagina, a passage used for pleasure with your husband someday and for a baby to be born through if God blesses you will children. You also have an anus for getting rid of waste from your body. Here is how we keep you clean.” (2-7) Of course, you don’t need to have this conversation every time, and as the child grows, you can go into more details and introduce new vocabulary, like scrotum, foreskin, uterus, and labia. (5-9)

  • Use opportunities in public restrooms or at home to teach about menstruation. Often there are pad/tampons dispensers in public restrooms. Use them as an opportunity to teach about menstruation. Or if a child sees a sanitary napkin and asks, give them an honest answer. “These pads are like a big band aid for women who are menstruating.” (2-7) Every month, a healthy woman will bleed for a few days if she is not having a baby. Normally, that blood builds up is in her uterus for a new baby to grow in, but if she is not pregnant, her body doesn’t need it. This bleeding doesn’t normally hurt, although there can be some cramping in her uterus. When menstruation occurs for the first time, it means a girl is becoming a woman.” (7-12)

  • Ask your doctor (particularly if your physician shares your Christian worldview) to assist in teaching your child about his or her anatomy (2-7) or menstruation/ejaculation (7-14) at a check-up.

  • Prepare a special overnight trip, father/son or mother/daughter, to prepare a child for the upcoming changes of puberty and to teach how to care for his or her changing body. Consider doing this annually to review, bond, and offer an opportunity for the child to ask questions. (9-12)

  • If you have an opportunity to visit a friend or family member with a new baby, use this as a segué to discussing human reproduction. Ask your children what they already know, and fill in the gaps. This can al

     

    Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (2018), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).

    so work, by analogy, with baby animals. (2-12)

  • Look through a photo album of baby pictures with your child. Talk about how you and your spouse love each other so much that you wanted to share your life together and your bodies, so you married one another. When you shared your bodies and held each other close, you each gave a part of yourselves, and God blessed it to begin growing a new life in the mother’s womb! Because a pregnancy can result from being intimate in this way, only husbands and wives should do it. (2-12)

  • Look for an opportunity to talk with your sons, possibly by analogy, of the function of the penis. When you are out watering the lawn, you could have a conversation beginning like this: “Son, I want to tell you something important. The water coming from this hose reminds me of how a penis works. God created your penis, and most often, it is used for urination. But, as you get older, you’ll notice another way in which it can work. When your body grows from boyhood to manhood, your testes will begin to produce semen, which contains sperm cells. Sperm cells are the part a husband gives to begin a new life. Sometimes, when you are not urinating, seminal fluid will come from the penis. This is called ejaculation. Your penis also becomes firm at this time. Someday, if you are married, you will ejaculate inside of your wife, and a new life might grow inside her. Until then, sometimes it spills out during the night while you are sleeping. Don’t worry about it. This is normal. It’s your body’s way of letting go of the old, and making room for the new. Just clean yourself up. If you ever have questions about these sorts of things, I’m here to listen and help.” (10+)

  • Have a discussion with your teen about how hormones are a lot like texting or instant messages. “Hormones are chemical molecules in the body that deliver messages. After hormones are made in one part of the body, they travel to other parts and help control how the cells and organs do their jobs. Hormones are what tell your body to start growing up, moving into manhood or womanhood. They can also attract you to people of the opposite sex. This can be a good thing, in the proper time, when you are ready to find a spouse. But since that won’t be for several years, I need to help you be vigilant not to let your hormones control your thoughts, actions, and moods.” (10-15)

  • Model your thoughts for your teenager when you see an attractive person of the opposite sex: “That’s a really beautiful person. That person is created in God’s image, as am I. It is natural that my body feel attracted to a beautiful/handsome person, but since he/she is not my spouse, I should not dwell on it any longer. I will channel my desires for another time with my spouse, and give thanks to God that He made such a beautiful person.” (14+)

  • Discuss with your young adult child how to make good choices for minimizing tempting situations. Create some family rules together. Ideas include: keeping internet devices in public areas of the house, keeping company with the opposite sex in the presence of others, watching wholesome movies after previewing them on a Christian review website, etc. Remind your child that it may be hard to say “no” to temptation, but there are really so many wonderful options in the world that we can say “yes” to! Reiterate that you remember your own teenage years and how hard it can be to control your hormones, but that it helps to have standards in advance to protect yourself from ungodly cultural influences.

Gospel Reminders:

  • Because Jesus Christ is true man, as well as true God, He went through a wide variety of physical changes, just as you have. The very Individual who was born, lived, died, and rose for you and your children, has also experienced puberty. Remind your children that they can always talk to Jesus and pray about their concerns. He knows and He hears them.

  • Our bodies are valued by God, and He has ordained the changes we all go through from childhood to adulthood. We don’t need to be embarrassed or ashamed of them. In the Father’s love, He has given us our bodies and souls, eyes, ears, and and our members, our reason and all our senses, and still preserves them. Jesus has redeemed both our souls and bodies, lost and condemned as we were, from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil, through the suffering and death of His own body. We confess our belief in the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the body. These wonderful bodies, all the while sin-saturated, serve us here on earth, but they will also be with us forever, perfected in eternity!

  • However well-intended you may be, you will at times give too much or not enough information to your child. What a blessing to have God’s forgiveness for our bumbling inadequacies! Christ’s rich and full forgiveness is yours! The Holy Spirit will empower you to become a new creation!

Resources:

  • Beautiful Girlhood by Karen Andreola

    • This revised 1922 classic offers gentle guidance for preteen and teenage girls on how to become a godly woman. Full of charm and sentiment, it will help mother and daughter establish a comfortable rapport for discussions about building character, friendships, obedience, high ideals, a cheerful spirit, modest dress, a pure heart, and a consecrated life.

  • The Wonderful Way Babies are Made by Larry Christenson and Cheri Bladholm

    • A long-standing favorite with Christian parents, The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made will help you teach your children about families, babies, and sexual intimacy from a joyful Christian perspective. Uniquely set against the backdrop of God's creation and our role in it, this book is an excellent place to begin presenting the information, feelings, and attitudes you would like to share with your children about the truly wonderful way babies and families are made.

 

 

Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (2018), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).

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