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Sex Education & the Christian Parent

by Beth Waltman

Parent-teachers are relieved and yet apprehensive about teaching their children sex education. Ours is the opportunity to join our moral values with necessary instruction about health and sexuality. Despite our reluctance to open the subject prematurely, we mustn't let our offspring wander into the world unarmed into this arena.

For quality education to take place, the scene must be set from the time a youngster becomes aware of their home's climate.

Ideally, several qualities should be modeled in the parents:

  1. Appropriate sexual orientation of parents
  2. Affection between two Christian parents
  3. Comfort level talking about personal subjects
  4. Quality time and quantity time

All the above create an easy atmosphere to teach. However, any person attempting to instruct can use the Biblical concepts, even when there has been past failure in his or her life. Too many parents hesitate to attempt to teach because of their own weaknesses. Surely our goal is to allow our children to benefit from our mistakes, while we grow in our own sanctification.

In American society, gender boundaries have been eroded. While there is no harm in a father who is gentle and nurturing, and mom can wield a power tool when necessary, parents should be secure in their own Biblically-prescribed sexual identity. The world's message seems to be that women will never find fulfillment as wives and mothers. "Gayness" is now viewed as an option, and men are made to feel ashamed of their leadership qualities.

The best visual aid is two parents who model Christian marriage. Do your children see you laughing, talking, and praying together? Do you allow God's plan for families to bear fruit in the reality of everyday life? Not every home is blessed with two committed Christian parents. However, we can instruct our children to seek God's best even while we share openly our mistakes, heartaches, and failures.

Our children are bombarded by sexual messages even when we are unaware of the impact. Unless you live on a desert island without television, radio, or even neighborhood friends, you cannot totally filter all unsavory messages. Kids need to know before they reach puberty that ungodly thoughts are dangerous and lead to ungodly actions.

Positive sexual education prepares children for healthy, happy marriage. Rather than learning embarrassment toward their bodies or fear toward normal conjugal relationships, the teaching should focus on the wonder of God's design and the safety enjoyed when two loving parents choose to bring children into the world. There is freedom in purity, a lack of fear concerning comparison to previous partners. God blesses the faithful union of two people committed to monogamy. Christian biology books present these ideas with appropriate visual aids.

Christian young people are in a position to witness to others, and in spite of the blitz of sex education, many teens are terribly ignorant of sexually transmitted disease (STD and the negative effects of abortion. Our children often can warn their peers of danger, when those at-risk kids wouldn't confide in an adult. The devastating effects of the heart and soul are more tragic than those wrought on the body by disease. Our kids must prepare, not for divorce and multiple marriage, but for one life partner provided by God.

Numerous excellent books have been written about courtship instead of dating between Christians. Parents and teens could read and critique some of these books together. This should be done before "dating age," so that expectations will be clear cut when the subject arises. Also, children are less embarrassed discussing the subject before adolescence. Once their bodies begin to change, an already-established dialogue will continue.

We have found that kids are open to honest discussions with both parents. One parent may notice what the other misses. Once puberty hits, opposite sexes seem like beings from different species. Brothers can tell sisters "what guys think when you wear those shorts." Sisters can voice "how girls feel when you say those things."

Nationwide programs such as "True Love Waits" educate and emphasize purity. A positive church youth program should also support parents' teaching. Investigate any programs your local church sponsors. Be certain they stand firmly for Biblical teachings! We have occasionally run into church or student programs that, unknown to parents and church staff, offered birth control devices just as secular programs do. Our goal is more than preventing pregnancy; it's purity of the heart as well as the body. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Finally, ask your children a lot of questions. Don't assume you know their inner opinions. Prepare to back up your stance with scripture. Many of our liveliest discussions are ignited by something we see in the mall, at a ball game, or when out with friends. More instruction on moral choices takes place in our car than at the kitchen table with books spread out!

  1. Here are some discussion-starters. You may be surprised at the conversations that follow.
  2. How should a girl dress? What is modest and what is inappropriate?
  3. Do the same rules apply to guys?
  4. What makes a woman beautiful? (1 Pet. 3:1-7)
  5. How should husbands view their wives? What happens to their prayers if they are inconsiderate? (I Pet. 3:7)
  6. Does the Bible say anything about homosexuality? (Rom.. 1:24-27)
  7. Whose body is it, anyhow? (I Cor.. 6:18-20)
  8. When does human life begin? (Psalm 139:13)
  9. What can a teen tell a friend who is becoming sexually active or considering abortion?

Many health issues should be taught concerning proper nutrition, abstaining from harmful habits,and getting proper exercise. But sex education, combined with Godly moral training, reaps future benefits in mind, spirit, and body. In Proverbs 3:3, we read the admonition: "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."

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