Why It's Important to have "The Talk"
It's February, and in 212 Student Ministry that means we are having those fun, awkward conversations about sex, dating, and marriage. This happens every year in February as we try to take advantage of all the conversations that come around Valentine's Day. Every year I stand up in front of your students and have real conversations with them about sex and, you'll never guess what happens, they listen! You might be surprised to know this simple act of listening gets youth pastors' excited, but when we start to talk about sex and dating they begin to hone in on every word being spoken. Weekly attendance goes up. I get more questions during this month than the rest of the year.
At first, this confused, and even frustrated me, until I figured out why this rare moment continued to happen every time I talked to them about such things. They are attentive because they are interested. A teenager interested in sex? Who would have thought huh? Well, whatever the reason the fact is for 25 minutes a week, I have their undivided attention and I don't want to screw this up. So every year we break through the awkwardness and seek out what God intended for such things as dating, sex, and marriage.
Well, last week we were at it again. We began the month talking about dating and trying to combat the cultural idea that is forced upon our students that, to be "somebody," you have to be "date-able". Then something happened. Within the first few minutes of our lesson, I asked the students how many of them have had a talk about sex with their parents. About half of the students raised their hands. You might be thinking great that's fifty percent! Well, call me a glass half empty kind of guy, but I was floored that half of the students in the room had never had the "talk" with their parents.
I went through some of the normal stages of grief such as denial, anger, depression then I asked myself "Why aren't parents talking about sex with their kids?" Did their parents not have it with them? Are they scared they are going to screw it up? Is it just too awkward for them to handle?
Whatever the answer is, I knew this was not okay. We cannot have 50% of our students walking around being clueless about such topics. We have to better equip students with the knowledge necessary to exist in a culture that is overly saturated with sex. So why there are many different ways to have the "Talk" with your kids I want to give you some reasons why just having the "talk" is absolutely vital.
If you don't someone else will.
Are you parenting out of fear?
Are you scared that if you talk to your kid about sex then you're going to say the wrong thing and mess them up?
Student ministry has taught me that just having the conversation is just as important as what you say. Now, this does not mean you need to just wing it. This conversation is far too important not to be prepared. Read something, ask another parent or even a student pastor, because the truth of the matter is, your kids are already learning a lot about sex.
They are learning it, from their friends, the locker room, the bus, the internet, the boyfriend or girlfriend. There are people and places your kid are getting sex education already.
So, let me ask you this: are you more scared of saying the wrong thing than allowing some 16-year-old boy tell your daughter what he thinks she needs to know about sex? Are you more comfortable allowing your son to learn what he needs to know about sex from watching the porn video his buddy told him about?
You might think I am being a little dramatic, but I hope you listen when I say these things are happening. If you don't prepare your son or daughter appropriately and raise them in the way they should go then we are leaving their life up to chance. I don't know about you but that seems a little like playing with fire.
God has entrusted you with your son or daughter.
Deuteronomy 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children..."
Parents, we must understand the call to be a parent is a high calling. God has entrusted you with your son or daughter and you will answer for them. We have this beautiful chance to be a picture of God to our kids. Every day I am reminded what the gospel is because I get to be the gospel to my kids. I get to train them and point them to the heavenly father. What an awesome, scary responsibility.
I often joke with my wife that we have over 50 kids. We have our two and the fifty plus students that walk through our ministry. Even though I joke this seems to be the mindset of many parents who send their students to our youth group. They seem to be crossing their fingers and saying, "Man I hope the student pastor will be a good parent".
It's not just student pastors, it's lots of others as well. When parents start passing the buck on actually parenting, and expect pastors, teachers, coaches, etc... to pick up the slack. You can't expect good things to happen. I tell parents all the time, I'm here to support you. I want parents to understand that it's their job to raise their kids in the spiritual things of life. Parents, it's not the coaches job to teach discipline, the employer's job to teach work ethic, or the teacher's job to teach behavior. It is our job as parents. They are merely support staff and tools to be used. God call parents to the job of parenting.
You have to redeem sex from a broken world.
My wife (Shauna) reminds me all the time that you can't expect lost people to act like saved people. In the same way, we cannot expect our kid to receive a healthy view of sex, dating, or marriage from a word that consistently twists and conforms to seemingly every new sexual or relational trend.
You might look at the news and media and be frustrated and angry at how things are going. Rightly so. We are in an unprecedented time of absolute confusion, and the world seems to do everything it can to twist and pervert what was created by God for us. When we let the world define something it has not right to, such as marriage, then how can we expect it to be handled in a Godly manner?
If you are frustrated by these cultural trends then its time you do something about it. That starts with educating your sons sand daughters in the true origin and purpose of sex, dating, and marriage. It is time that we took a stand and fought against the corruption of God's creation. We as Christians are meant to be lights in a dark world. To be agents of the perfect Father and allow the holiness of God to flow from us and into every thing we touch. That starts at home.
What would happen if we fought through the awkwardness of talking to our kids about these things and offered them a place to allow them to grow and learn? Christians, we cannot sit on the sideline and watch the world tear itself apart any longer. We have this great opportunity to bring the gospel to ever corner of our life.
Parents, you have the opportunity to use your position as parent, to glorify God. So stop running from the hard conversations. If you avoid them, your kids will avoid the hard conversations as well. However, they will pick up knowledge somewhere and chances are it won't be Biblically minded.
Want some Practical ways to have the Talk?