Better late than never, this post is the follow up to the 'Birds & Bees' piece I wrote a few weeks ago. I promised I'd write it within a few days but between The Wiggles and my busy calendar it's been a bit longer than that. If you haven't read the first part it might be a good idea to catch up on it first here. (you can skip the first part of that post, it was just a fun introduction to the topic).
I'll be posting quite a bit in a lot more specific detail about lots of aspects of children, teens, sexuality and marriage in the future so stick with me, but for now I really want to start by sharing some absolute gems of resources which I have found, and am finding so helpful in my job of passing on a healthy and authentic understanding of human sexuality to my children.
You will notice that all of the links, resources and books I am about to recommend are Catholic. I know a lot of you aren't Catholic but I'm still going to recommend you check them out as they are all equally applicable to children and teens of any denomination. Lots of very practical advice based on the very real dignity and value of each human person.
First up is a super series of books for girls which I stumbled on when I was trawling the internet with a fine-tooth comb for something I could offer my girls which would be able to compete with the 'hip' presentation of the empty values of the Tween periodicals lined up on the magazine shelves of the newsagents. I really thought there must be something a bit more uplifting than the early introduction to swooning over boy-bands and strawberry lip-gloss for nine year-olds. My trawling paid off when I found the All Things Girl series.
And for the boys...
Listen to a podcast talking about All Things Guy here. (the discussion of the book starts at 13 mins)
Now the proof of the pie is in the eating and it doesn't matter how good the content is if the hoped-for audience isn't interested in reading. I can attest to the attraction of these books to tweens. They are aimed at girls (and of course the guy one at boys) aged about 9-13. Our girls have loved them more about the 8-12 age group then move on. They seem to strike a good balance between being cool and passing on lots of authentic truth. Check out the All Things Girl website. There are other books aimed at teens though I haven't had a look at them yet.
Next up, I mentioned in part one that the job of forming children in this important aspect of their lives is the job of the parents. No school, nurse, peer, book, and most definitely not Planned Parenthood (Eeek!!) can do this job as well as those to whose care God has entrusted these very special little people. Oftentimes we can be unsure as to how to go about addressing these sometimes sensitive issues. I'm sorry to tell you...there's no room for false modesty, prudishness or adolescent embarrassment when it comes to this. At the same time some finesse, sensitivity and self-confidence are key. Nobody knows any child more than the parents who love them and I certainly have discovered over the years, what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. Children mature physically and emotionally at hugely differing rates which to me clearly shouts that a classroom of 25 preteens are not all ready for explicit diagrams and valueless 'information'. With that in mind, I have found this next book excellent for helping to discern which child is ready for what and how to guide each child according to their spiritual, physical and emotional maturity.
It's a super guide for navigating children from infancy right through teenage years and beyond. I dip into it constantly.
OK...Moving on. Here we are at the teenage years and the battle with a culture which you will probably find utterly at odds to our hopes for our children now emerging adults but not quite there yet...
These resources are robust.
For those of you who are familiar with Jason and Crystalina Evert you will find it no surprise that I have included them in my list. For those who haven't, have a listen to Crystalina's testimony and judge for yourself whether it rings true...
Jason and Crystalina have a powerful gift of addressing the whole area of sexuality, culture and young people in an attractive, sometimes blunt, sometimes funny and always authentic way which touches the heart of teens and young adults simply because truth rings true. Here Jason addresses parents of teenagers. If you are one, you need to watch this clip:
Here's the link to their site, I've chosen the page showing their DVDs to link up... Notice that they have versions from a faith perspective and also secular versions, as I've said...truth is true no matter what way you present it. Equally a lie is a lie no matter how beautiful and attractive the packaging. A lie will never bring you happiness.
Well that's enough to go on just now. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you have one chance of rearing your child...one chance. It's worth putting yourself out for this. It's more fun to watch TV, update Facebook or read the newspaper, but when you die..God won't ask you what was your high score on Bejewelled Blitz...He'll ask you how high did you score in going the extra mile for that child of His. Read up, watch the YouTube clips, check the websites and pray for those children. Other people have done the work for you, all you need to do is take what they've made available and pass it on. Do it well.
Don't forget to leave a comment to let me know you're popping by!
Feel free to add any resources you've found helpful.