A friend of mine texted me after the message “Let’s Talk about Sex.” He said he was sitting next to his 14-year-old son and it provided a little bit of discomfort but that my last point helped: Teach your kids. I texted back that I understand because of our four kids. It is an uncomfortable subject for all of us. But my kids are talking and learning about it, and I have to choose whether I am going to be a part of the conversation or sit this one out. For me, it is too dangerous and damaging to sit it out.
It’s interesting as I work with people how often I find this to be true—no matter how loose our own teen and college years were, and no matter how we defended it, we all want something better for our children. Maturity, and experiencing the backlash of not valuing ourselves well, makes us hope to teach our children to value themselves in ways we did not. The next few blogs are devoted to sharing some pertinent information that may be helpful in leading our children toward purity and the fulfillment that living life the way God relationally designed will bring.
Today I want to share some very provocative advice from Allie Stanley. That’s right—I said ALLIE Stanley, not Andy Stanley. She is the college-age daughter of the famous and skilled communicator, Andy Stanley, and she clearly has learned her lessons well. She is living a life of purity herself, and is leading other young women in that direction. Here is a list of practical guidelines she compiled for her middle school girl’s small group. These “rules” would be worth a discussion with your young son or daughter. You could take them out for ice cream, and then talk through them together. See what they think. You might be surprised and very grateful about what they will share with you. This will help them stay straight and unashamed, and may help them help other friends as well.
ALLIE’S 2O RULES FOR SCHOOL
1. Surround yourself with people who build you up, not people who tear you down.
2. Treat your kisses like you have a limited supply.
3. Guard your heart. Seriously . . . your heart is precious.
4. Stay vertical, and no buttons and zippers (or Velcro). In other words, set your boundaries and stick to them.
5. Have an accountability partner and be willing to tell everything.
6. Be so, so, so, so, so, so careful whom you date.
7. If you’re wondering if you should break up with him, break up with him.
8. If your daughter gets broken up with, go buy her a stuffed animal, a blanket, candy, and lots and lots of ice cream. (Other gifts are acceptable.)
9. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! Don’t ever forget how much you need God.
10. Have a quiet time. It may seem like a hassle, but it will help you stay close to God.
11. Be nice to your parents. They love you and want the best for you, so if you disagree with them, just realize that they are a lot smarter than you . . . sorry about it.
12. If you find yourself lying to your parents/other adults in your life, backtrack and get out of that situation IMMEDIATELY. You are somewhere you do not want to be.
13. Never be afraid to say no. It’s better to be a wimp than dead.
14. When you fall on your face, get back up and keep moving (literally and figuratively).
15. Journal so you can look back and see what God has done in your life.
16. Even when you don’t want to, GO TO CHURCH!
17. If it’s not classy, don’t do it.
18. Don’t judge. Even when people are doing things you don’t agree with, show them love.
19. Pause before you speak . . . This will prevent a lot of problems.
20. Selfies are for faces.
This discussion is a soft-launch for the discussions to follow. Discussing what we see on TV can be a great springboard for age-appropriate conversations about what seems inappropriate or makes you uncomfortable and why. We all have standards for what we want our children to see and not see, and the standards between children and parents rarely match. You could discuss the sexual subtleties of prime-time television by watching a show with them that they want to watch, but concerns you. Give them a pen and a 3x5 card to keep track by simply making a mark every time they hear or see something sexual. The chances are they will have a little nervous laughter watching some things with Dad or Mom there. They will likely be more aware of the subtle brainwashing and sexual desensitizing provided by prime time TV.
Next time: Being a Credible Teacher of Purity