by Noel Bouché
As parents, we have a deeply rooted desire to protect our children. That’s a good thing, and it’s part of God’s design. Intrinsic to the parenting experience is a strong inclination toward protection.
This fundamental instinct encourages self-sacrifice on the part of parents, it creates a sense of security for children, it cultivates affection and bonding between the parent and child, and points ultimately to our Redeemer, a testimony of His love and that He is “a shield about us” (Psalm 3:3).
But protection can go too far when it is motivated by fear and focused solely on keeping our kids from threats and peril, rather than preparing them to respond… and overcome.
In a previous post, we discussed the difference between equipping and simply protecting. When someone’s equipped, they know why they’re being protected—and what they’re being protected from. I compared it to my football days, and how preparing for the game meant not only putting the pads on, but understanding how to use the pads, and why—I was going to get hit!
When we don’t cultivate that understanding in our children, it’s like a young player being placed in a helmet and shoulder pads and thrown into the game with no coaching or training. At pureHOPE, we believe the primary way you can accomplish this “training” is by using teachable moments to foster ongoing dialogue with your kids about sex so you become your son or daughter’s go-to resource for questions and insight.
Let’s break that down…
First, teachable moments. They are all around us and they connect ideas, values, and real life circumstances for our kids. Whether it was a situation at school, the lyrics of a song playing on the radio, a news headline, or an image in an advertisement, these moments allow us to ask questions of our kids, allow them to ask questions of us, and facilitate easy conversations that, over time, instill values, truth, and critical thinking skills.
Those everyday moments create an ongoing dialogue, rather than a one-time talk. No topic, especially one as complex and important as sex, can be fully addressed in one conversation, one weekend, even one year. As our children grow and change, as society around us grows and changes, the questions and situations change, and an open, honest, ongoing dialogue in your home creates the relational environment necessary to equip your kids to recognize and redemptively respond to the opportunities, temptations, problems, and challenges they will face.
Becoming The Go-To Resource
Third, those teachable moments and ongoing dialogue result in parents becoming the go-to resource for their kids… not friends, not the classmate’s older sibling, not an Internet search engine. And this ought to be one of our goals: that our kids know we are for them, we are available to them, and we care enough about them to listen to their questions, respond honestly, and walk with them relationally on this quest of following Jesus and being purified by our hope in Him (I John 3:3).
Once again, let’s embrace this principle: when our children are protected and prepared, they’re equipped. When they’re protected but unprepared, they’re sheltered—and, ironically, more exposed.
You’ve got what it takes to protect and prepare your kids!
Check out our free guide to Age-Appropriate Equipping.
Start your journey through Quest: Parenting in a Sexualized Culture.