The start of a new school year gets a lot of us thinking about what our kids need for the coming year. Since I homeschool my kids, I think about curriculum, books, and review. Hopefully my kids remember everything they learned in the last school year. You know, typical school things. But since I am also the founder of a ministry that helps parents talk to their children about healthy sexuality, another thought crosses my mind: what do I need to cover with them about sex? And do they remember what we learned about last year?
With so many details to think about with the start of a new school year, it can be hard to remember sex education. Whether our children are receiving their sex education solely at home or if they are also receiving it at school, Mom and Dad have a big role to play here. I am convinced the responsibility of communicating God’s design for love, sex, and marriage falls mainly to parents and the lessons they give their children, both implicitly (by their observable actions) and explicitly (by what they instruct their children).
Unfortunately, many of us well-meaning parents abdicate our God-given role to the school or to the church, or (rather unknowingly) to Google. Trust me, I know what that’s like! Even though I run a ministry that focuses on this very topic, I have experience getting caught up with all the other details of life only to realize that my kids need ME to answer their questions and proactively teach them the truth about sex and sexuality.
Can I encourage you, Mom and Dad, to think about each one of your children and the stage they are in right now and consider what they need to know about sex, relationships, and the peer pressure they will be facing this year? I know this exercise may seem intimidating, but I promise you if you approach it with the help of the Holy Spirit, it won’t be as daunting as you think. One thing that has really helped me with this task is to take a look at Against the Tide, which is a grade-by-grade guide we’ve put together that gives resource suggestions for talking to your children about sex and character.
It might surprise you, but these guides start in preschool. The reason is there are a lot of foundational messages you can teach your young children about the way God designed our bodies and how He intended families to work that will really help them as they are trying to get the whole picture about sex at an older age. Especially if you have children in what I like to call the “intensive time” of 8-12 years old, I encourage you to check out this guide and seriously consider what lessons you need to cover with them this year.
A phrase I often think of when I talk to parents about putting a sex-ed plan in place with their kids is: “fail to plan, plan to fail”. This phrase can be painfully accurate. We may have the best intentions, but when it comes to actually doing them, we need to make a plan to see them through. Sometimes it helps me to set goals like this: “by the end of November, I need to have gotten through The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made with my youngest child.” I write these goals down on my calendar, because they are important! If I don’t make a goal, I re-schedule it and try, try again.
I pray the Lord gives you wisdom and the strength to tackle this task. May He bless your efforts to guide your children toward healthy sexuality.
Julie Hiramine is a mom, author, and the founder and executive director of the ministry Generations of Virtue. As an internationally noted speaker, she has ministered in many nations to thousands of parents, teens, and young people. Julie believes the key to turning the tide of an immoral culture is to equip parents to empower their children to be pure.