The Problem with Keeping Quiet

There are many reasons parents aren’t talking about sexuality with their kids. Do any of these ring true for you?

  • “It’s an embarrassing Maybe if I don’t bring it up, it won’t come up.”
  • “We have such a busy schedule that I couldn’t possibly tackle a tough topic like that right now.”
  • “Sex is private and personal. I don’t talk about it because it is a sacred matter.”
  • “I made so many mistakes when I was young that I’ve been disqualified – my voice doesn’t matter when it comes to this topic.”
  • “I’ve had ‘the talk’ with my child, isn’t that enough?”
  • “My parents didn’t talk with me about sex and I turned out just fine. I’m taking the same approach with my kids.”

Here’s the problem with keeping silent on sexuality: By keeping silent, the worldly perspective becomes all the more enticing. We must understand that the world we grew up in is nothing like the world our children are growing up in today. The sexual temptation, experimentation and deception they face (or will face!) are unlike any other time in history.

Plus, if we keep silent, this teaches our children that God must be silent on the topic as well. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The Old and New Testament books are chalked full of bold teachings on sexuality. Howard Hendricks once said, “We should not be ashamed to discuss what God was not ashamed to create.”                                                                   

The culture isn’t embarrassed, too busy and surely doesn’t feel disqualified to train our children to view sexuality from a worldly perspective. In fact, it is their mission to talk as early and as often as they possibly can. Yes, the culture’s voice is loud but your voice is stronger. Take a stand and boldly proclaim God’s truth – it never returns void!

Reflect and Respond:

  • How have you approached the topic of sexuality with your children to this point? Spend some time thinking back on these encounters and ask the Lord to point out ways you can grow and stretch yourself in having courageous conversations with your kids.
  • Silence on sexuality is not a “parent problem” but has been a problem of the Church for centuries. The tide is beginning to turn but we still have a long way to go. Read the article “Sex and the Silence of the Church” to learn more and then ask God to help the Church find her voice.

The New Flirting-What’s a Grandparent to Do?

Today’s grandparents are faced with challenges unlike any other time in human history, especially in the arena of sexuality. The Sexual Revolution has changed the face of sexuality in many ways for which grandparents are seeking help and answers. How do we deal with all the modern attitudes towards sexuality and the impact that digital technology is contributing to those conversations? As our guest blogger today, Shelly Donahue, declares, “It’s a new day!” And boy, is she right!

Shelly is the founder and director of Tall Truth, an organization committed to telling the truth about sexuality, and educating parents and grandparents about the issues and ways to address these issues with our kids. I think you will find her blog today enlightening and hopefully motivating. We can have an impact on the conversation, Grandma and Grandpa, and Shelly offers some practical advice for doing just that as she talks about the “new flirting” practices among young people today. So, here’s Shelly’s article…

The New Flirting

“Shelly, why did Katie send me a naked picture? I don’t even date her, and I didn’t ask her for it? She sits next to me in math class and now when I look at her, I don’t see her the same way. Why did she do it?” asked Grant, a 9th grade Christian boy. 

WOW! What a different world our kids and grandkids are growing up in from our world as grandparents. I remember the days in school when your best friend would tell you that so-and-so liked you and asked if you liked him, and then she’d tell him your response and it would give him permission to pursue you. We flirted, we dated for a couple years, we kissed, we fell in love, we got married and then…. we saw each other naked on our wedding night – God’s way!

It’s a new day! A sexually-crazed day for our kids and grandkids when sexting (sending naked pictures over text messaging) is the new flirting – YIKES!  As a Christian teen relationships expert, with an emphasis in sexuality for the past 39 years, and hearing parents and grandparents say, ‘How come I’ve never heard this stuff before?’ I am committed to sharing what works.

I’m convinced that the problem in America is not teen pregnancy or teen STDs – the problem in America is teen sex. Let’s direct our children to delay sex. Let’s guide them toward the wonderful purposes God has made for sex in marriage and the benefits of healthy relationship skills in their teen years.

Teens do what they know until they know better. When they know better, they are much more likely to do better! I want to help this generation reach their hopes and dreams by honoring themselves and one other. When teens know why they should wait for sex, when they know how they can wait for sex and when those that care about them support their choice to wait – this generation can wait! They will wait when you teach them – and a good place to begin is in the management of their cell phones. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Be a healthy model with your own phone usage.
  2. Empower your grandchild to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, to understand their identity in Christ – that their worth comes from their Creator.
  3. Remind your grandchild you’re on their team and that you want them to reach their hopes and dreams for their future.
  4. Be intentional about teaching your grandchildren God-honoring, biblical truths about sexuality, respect for self & others. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you want them to do to you” is a good starting point. Ask the Holy Spirit how you can do this effectively. Grandchildren will listen to their grandparents if they know they care and take an interest in their lives.
  5. Brainstorm with your adult children about the pros and cons of phone technology, and how you can best reinforce their parents’ desire to do what is best for their children. What specific rules can you help reinforce with your grandchildren when they are with you? How can you work together to teach them to guard against the dangers this technology presents?
  6. Discuss with your adult children the idea of celebrating a phone/technology rite of passage event.
  7. Be willing to discuss with your grandchildren why it is important to not send or receive provocative and inappropriate photos.
  8. Applaud them when they comply with family rules set by their parents… and you.
  9. Create a central charging station in your home for when your grandchildren stay overnight with you, one that is visible to all.
  10. Create a safe place where your grandchildren feel comfortable and confident about discussing anything with you.
  11. If they goof up, forgive them, release them to the Just Judge, bless them and get them back on track.

The research says that the number #1 reason children will delay sexual activity is that their parents were intentional about teaching them. Grandparents are a huge asset for reinforcing that teaching.

We can’t give what we don’t have – we didn’t have this information when we were growing up because we didn’t need it. Not so today. It’s time to be informed, equipped and empowered as a parent and grandparent about how to raise the bar of sexual self-control in our kids’ lives. It can start with their cell phone usage.

Shelly Donahue

When Equality Does not Mean Equality

I am not a political activist, nor do I intend to become one. There is a difference, however, between being an activist and standing up for the truth, especially when it is suppressed and impacts our children. That is never more necessary than when powerful people seek to change foundational truths created by our Creator in an attempt to shut down any conversations or disagreements about a matter of utmost importance.

Such is the case with a recent announcement by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to give its full support to the proposed Equality Act through a celebrity driven video campaign. Contrary to what its name implies, the Equality Act soon to be introduced by House Democrats proposes anything but equality. As Andrew Walker wrote for The Gospel Coalition, this bill represents the “most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in America” and “equates Christian ethics with hatred and bigotry.”

You may be wondering why I would bother with this topic in a blog about grandparenting. The reason is simple: God instructs us to teach our grandchildren the truth. For two decades I have talked about and written about this biblical mandate God gave to parents and grandparents for all times. We are mandated to tell the next generations the truth about who God is, what God has done and why He has done it. That includes the truth about who we are as male and female created in God’s image.

Fight for the Truth

If another generation is to know the truth—ALL of God’s truth, including what He says about sexuality and gender—it won’t be because our politicians and lawmakers are proclaiming it. It won’t be because celebrities promote it. It will be because godly men and women boldly and faithfully make it known generation to generation. But let us also remember that we teach and fight for what is true because it is true, not because it suits us or our ‘cause’.

We are responsible to teach our grandchildren the Gospel and the truth about things like God’s view of sexuality and gender. When a culture or a nation forces a lie on our children, we need to fight for the truth. That does not mean being vicious, unkind or unwilling to listen to other opinions. It does mean knowing what is true and boldly standing up for what is true, not just for Christians, but for all men.

Andrew Walker is right when he says, “Christians need to do a much better job of explaining the rationale and merits of their beliefs around gender and sexuality. We do not believe these are sectarian truths applicable only to Christians. Rather, we believe how God patterned creation in Genesis is the blueprint for human flourishing. If we don’t contend for the legitimacy and rationality of our views, they’ll end up being sidelined as intolerant and harmful—to the detriment of all.”

So, grandparents, I encourage you to engage with your grandchildren about these matters. Be ready to explain what God says and why it is important to believe what he says. Below are links to two articles I recommend reading, and a book I believe can be helpful to you in these conversations. These are conversations we need to have because they are conversations others are already initiating with your grandchildren in the public arena. We can’t afford to be lulled asleep on these matters for the sake of our grandchildren.

Important Resources

The Equality Act Accelerates Anti-Christian Bias by Andrew Walker

BreakPoint: The Equality Act vs. Religious Freedom by John Stonestreet

A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet

GRANDPAUSE: Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.(Nehemiah 4:14)