Buckle your seatbelts.
Here we go...
If Kev goes to work in the morning and reads the title of this post first thing, he very well may just about lose his breakfast. He's a bit more - er, "private" than me - shall we say, when it comes to us spewing our lives out over the internet for all of the world to see. I'm kind of an open book. He's......not. Like at all.
But, no worries, Lovey.... It's not what you think. (I think...) I just like to get your heart racing a wee bit first thing in the morning. It's a nice little bit of cardio to start your day. No need for a caffeine rush... just read your wife's blog.
I am so good for that man....
Back to the title of my post.
There is a series of children's books that, for some time now, I have been wanting to purchase for Kev and I to read through with the boys. It's a series of four books - broken down by age appropriateness and age readiness - on God's design for sex. And before I go any further - and especially before anyone reads on any further - I am fully aware that this is a super personal and potentially controversial topic. I also know that it's potentially a somewhat embarrassingly awkward and unfamiliar territory to travel as parents with our children. So, I am just writing to share what we as a family are planning on doing with our Littles...
It's actually pretty new and unfamiliar territory for us, as well, right now.
But, I think it's time to at least start the process...
Especially with London on her way...and the questions that seem to keep coming. :0)
My kids will be growing up in a generation completely different from my own. Of this, I am fully aware. I went to public school all the way up through high school, but I would say - on the whole - it wasn't really until my Junior and even more so, my Senior Year where my class began to "lose its innocence," so to speak...and even then..I would say that it wasn't a huge majority of my classmates who were experimenting with sex and drugs. (Maybe it was more than I am aware. All I know is that I didn't feel like a crazy weird fish out of water because of my virginity status. I had many other friends who played this same game, as me).
Kids nowadays? Holy weirdness if you're still a virgin when you graduate. In fact, it's kind of a goal - a check-off of sorts, that most kids want to "get rid of." It's a casual expectation to just "hook up," and it's just something "you do" if you really like someone. The more women you have slept with, the bigger the man that you are...and the more men that you have been with, the higher up the food chain you are in the pecking order of women.
Sex is not being taught to our kids as something that is special and of value to be saved for "the One" someday down the road. This entire concept of "saving ourselves" and of "waiting" - of it being a beautiful gift to be unwrapped by one special person on our wedding night is an archaic idea at best... not to mention that it's something that society believes our kids are incapable of doing so why even try to introduce the concept of abstinence, anyway? Instead of talking about it - like really and truly sitting down, looking our kids in the eyes, and talking about it - let's just throw a condom at them and tell them to make sure "they protect."
I want more than this for my children.
In fact, I want a lot more than this...
So. Knowing full well that I am bucking society's trend...and knowing also that there is a very good chance that maybe one or even all of my children may not go into their wedding night as virgins -- and I would love them no less, if this were the case, mind you -- I also feel a deep passion and burden to raise my boys to be a different breed in today's world of young men.
I want to raise them to be gentlemen. To treat young women as ladies - as gifts to be treasured and honored. And if and when they do fall head over heals for someone- until they place that ring on her finger, and until they watch her walk down that aisle on her Daddy's arm, and until her Daddy gives her over to them and she willingly changes her name to his and says "I do" to a lifetime of forever...until then....what she has to offer will not be theirs to take or to even ask for.
Until then, I want them to wait.
In fact, I will expect this.
And...I want them to not only wait until they find the one that their soul loves...
But I want them to wait until their wedding night before they make love.
And to help with the waiting...I want them to view and to treat any girl that they ever spend time with as they would want some other boy treating their baby sister when it's just the two of them alone together -- or as they would want some other man treating their future wife right now.
I also want to raise my daughter to have the standard and view of herself that she deserves someone who will wait for her, and fight for her, and not ask to take something from her that is not his to rightfully have. I want her to view her virginity as a prized possession and as the greatest gift that she can give to her husband some day...and I want her to see it, not as a goal to "get rid of" so that she can be like everyone else...but as a gift to be protected and to be given to only One. I want to raise her to expect high standards from the boy that she falls in love with.
Lofty goals? To be sure.
Crazy scandalous? Yep. Especially in today's society.
Impractical and something that they will not be capable of doing? No, it's not.
Kev and I were "an item" for four years before we tied the knot. And. we. waited. He respected me. He didn't ask to have something that wasn't his to have. And I didn't offer to him something that would cause him to have a hard time saying no too. By God's grace, it's possible. We got married for the right reasons, and sex became the bonus. When sex comes first, things get confusing. And convoluted. Things get messy and really hard to untangle. You give away your soul...and then it's hard to walk away - even if you know you maybe should. If sex can stay out of the picture, it's a whole lot easier to use your brain and to think with your head...to make the right decisions... and to save yourself a whole whack of heartbreak.
And I know our waiting was hugely as a result - and a ginormous kudos - to the influence of our parents. My mother, especially, ingrained it in my head from the youngest of ages that waiting was a good thing. Only good could come from it. It was nothing to be ashamed of. It would save me scars and heartache. It would save my marriage from baggage. If a boy didn't respect my "no," than he wasn't worth my time. And that - if ever I was mocked or ridiculed because of my virginity status - to remember that at any time I wanted I could "be like them" - I could join their club and give away what they gave away - but they could never again get back what they had given and what I still had.
And she taught me to respect myself. She taught me to have high standards and lofty goals in the man whose name I would one day share. She taught me to "treat every date as a potential mate" and that if - in my gut - I couldn't honestly see myself marrying this man or I couldn't see him as the kind of Father I would want to have to be the Daddy of my children....then it was pointless to waste my time and heart energy on him.
Cocky and harsh? I don't think so. Deciding who you will marry someday is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make in your life. It's not like picking out a family pet. It's hopefully a forever choice. The spouse that my kids marry someday - my heart's desire is for their marriage to be for life. I want them to love with such a deep passion that they would follow their spouse to the Ends of the Earth and that they would be willing to die for each other. I want them to have thought and prayed long and hard before they make their choice...and I want them to be able to make this choice with clear heads and clear consciences - not because there's a baby on the way or because they just can't keep their hands off of each other.
But before this can happen...they have to choose wisely. And they have to have high standards.
They have to weed out the wheat from the chaff...
This is how I will be raising my children.
This is the standard that will be set in our home.
These are the conversations that we will be having...
Again....will it come to pass for all four of our kids? Statistics shockingly prove otherwise.
Statistics also show that marriage as a whole is on the rocks - nationwide and across the board. It's something that needs to be fought for -- even after we choose wisely -- and even if we can manage to wait. That is still not a recipe for "success," by any means.
But because marriage is such hard work, anyway...
And because it's a lifelong investment...
Because scars and baggage happen...because we're messed up people living in a whacked out world...
And because there's so much junk - at every corner - that has potential to make us fall and fail...
It would be pretty awesome to have just a few less scars to bring into the marriage bed with them.
A few less questions, less hurts, and a handful of fewer insecurities.
No-one and nothing to compare each other to...
Learning and finding their way together...
Trust, in this one area anyway, strong and true...
I believe it's worth the fight.
And, this is still what I will fight for.
No matter what society and statistics say.
Again...if it doesn't happen - I will love them no less. I can't live my kids' lives for them - I can only guide and direct. They will choose their own paths for their lives. And if a pregnancy ever took place - I would expect my boys to man up and take responsibility, and I would walk that road with my daughter. There would be sadness, but mostly for their sakes, because I know that they could have saved themselves some heartache. However, we are family, and they are my children, and there is nothing that they could ever ever do that would change my view of them or my love for them.
Waiting - or not - will not make them any better or any "less than" anyone else.
It is not necessarily a recipe for "success in life."
Nor will it be a guaranteed success story for their marriage.
I just think it's the best decision to be made...and it can save a lot of heartache and pain - both for themselves and potentially for the one whom they will one day marry.
Let me also loudly say, that nor do I believe - for a single second - that if my kids went into their marriages not having saved themselves.... or if they did - but their spouse didn't - or vice versa.... or that if their marriage one day ends in divorce..... or that if an unplanned pregnancy takes place during sometime in their college years... that they will have forever lost their ticket to happiness.
To my core, I believe that God is a God of second chances...and that bringing beauty out of ashes and redemption out of heartache is His specialty. I have seen this beautifully lived out in the lives of so many loved ones who have amazingly awesome relationships and second chance marriages. He loves to take the beautiful messes of our lives and bring about awesome things.
He is crazy awesome like that.
I just think that it's good - it's right and necessary, even - to set high standards for our kids. I think this other way - this whole idea of abstinence - needs to be talked about. I think we can expect more from today's generation than we do. Knowing full well that nothing and no-one is perfect...and knowing full well that we live a messed up world...we can take the lessons learned from our lives...and the heartaches played out as a result of mistakes we've made and lessons we have learned...and we can teach our kids a different way.
And I think it all starts at HOME.
Our kids will learn about -- everything -- from somewhere.
I would rather have them hear about it from us, first....and about the way it was all originally intended to be.
(Thoughts? Opinions? Lay it on me...I can take it).
To be continued...