by Bre Hallberg
I didn’t really expect it to happen this way. If I’m honest I wanted to just avoid the topic all together. I read and heard many stories about how the topic was supposed to be approached. The weekend getaways where you sit down and have these heart to heart talks. I figured, okay, if that’s what we’re supposed to do, great. I’ve got time, My kids are only seven and five. And thankfully, the oldest is a boy . . . so this is Dad territory right? Little did I know.
Of course it all happened when my parents were visiting. We were on our way to lunch—one big happy family. Tyson pipes up, “Hey, Mom! I know about the ‘s’ word!” I said what every parent would say in that moment “What ‘s’ word?” Hoping he meant the four letter word and not the three letter one.
“Mom, you know THE ‘s’ word.”
“The bad word?
I knew he had heard that in songs before, not my best parent moment.
“Nope. Just SEX. I know all about it.”
I then proceeded to ask him how he knew about this. He said the neighbor kid told him. Oh, well, perfect.
This is how everyone has this conversation, right? In front of their parents and five-year-old daughter.
I was speechless. But I knew I had to say something. So I said, “Okay, let’s talk about this in a little bit.”
Later when we got out of the car. I said, “Tyson, you aren’t in trouble, but I’d like to know what you know so that I can help answer any questions you have.” Secretly hoping he doesn’t really know.
His response, “Mom, I just can’t talk to you about this. It’s gross, it’s about some parts and other parts . . . ”
And that’s where I stopped him. “Okay, let’s talk about this when we get home.” Yep. This is when we’re having THE talk.
Later that night, Tyson and I talked and then my husband talked to him. We were able to answer his questions and, honestly, it went better then I thought. Although I was a bit concerned that his follow-up questions would be things like, “Can I do this before I get married?” “What happens if I do (fill in the blank)” and “If I have a baby, can’t I just run away?”
Head is spinning.
This conversation didn’t go exactly as I planned, but looking back I was thankful for the way it went. Now Tyson is 11, and his dad and I are able to openly talk about his questions, without any fear. He’s not afraid to come to us with questions or things he’s heard. We continue to talk, and we will keep doing so. We are on the brink of a lot of changes, and times where I know it won’t be his parents he wants to always talk to. My prayer is that he has small group leaders in his life who do understand that this is a dialogue. And that they provide a safe place to ask hard questions.
This month, Weekly focused it’s entire month on sexual integrity through the phases to help leaders understand why this is such an important topic. The parents (and small group leaders of student groups) in our ministries are already having these kinds of conversations, so as church leaders we need to provide tools for Parents and SGLs to navigate these difficult conversations. If only I would have had this a few years ago!
It’s the advice of people like Jim Burns—featured in the following video—that help me breathe a sigh of relief.
The topic is going to come up in middle and high school groups, so equip your leaders to have conversations about sex as early as possible. Give them a little context, then SEND them this video from expert Jim Burns.
Check out GoWeekly.com to get more resources like this.