Man - this journey is a crazy one, and I am fully aware that I am just barely through the gate. That's why I am so thankful to have so many resources -- both written and verbal -- to help us navigate the way.
Kaden turns ten in a couple of months, and for his birthday he will be getting a real "man's gun" where he will be able to honestly and truly hunt things - other than the kajillions of red squirrels that he has been slaying in the meantime whilst he awaits this glorious age of "manhood."
And while, I firmly believe that 10 is a loooong way away from being a man -- getting a gun, and being able to provide food for the family, surely is a sign of at least taking one step closer to that realm. There's many schools of thought and much talk about how many other cultures have ceremonies for boys becoming men, and how many, if not most cultures - other than our own - don't even have the word "adolescence" in their vocabulary. Children are taught more responsibilities at younger ages, expectations of them are greater, and they are viewed as "men" at vastly younger ages than our "18" and "21" year labels.
I find this to be interesting, and regardless of when society declares Kaden to be a "man," I still think that ten years old is a pretty pivotal age to be at, and it surely feels a lot more different than all of the other birthdays that we've celebrated so far....especially with the newfound freedom of hunting that comes with this double-digit number.
So, in preparation for this grandiose event in the not too far away future, Kaden and Daddy have been reading through this devotional book together. All three boys, in turn will read this with him, and when London is older, she will have her own version entitled "The Princess and the Kiss." Essentially, these are devotionals on purity...and on guarding their hearts...and their eyes. On waiting... and on being honest, having integrity, and on being the young men and women whom God wants to grow them into. And honestly - any one on one time alone with just one of them and Daddy is special.
We bought the "God's Design for Sex" books for the kids a long time ago in preparation for "The Talk." We weren't sure when we were going to have it, and how exactly it would look, but this series of four books came highly recommended to me from several Mamas who are a few years further down the road in parenting than us. This is a four book series, and each book is broken down into age appropriate categories.
The first one is for ages 3-5, the second is for ages 5-9 and so on. Obviously, you would read them whenever you felt it to be appropriate, regardless of the age recommendation. I have some friends who read through all four of them when their kids were way younger than ours. They felt their kids were ready, and so they went for it. I feel like we have been a little bit on the later end. Questions haven't come up until recently, so we haven't broached the topic. On the "innocent" and "naive" scale, I feel that my boys are still very much both of these adjectives, and I don't want to "educate" them any earlier than necessary. However, I do want us to be the ones who do the educating - not their peers or the television. So, as questions have come up, we have answered them.
My being pregnant with London this time around brought up quite a few questions, so we felt that it was time to read Book #1 - The Story of Me, for sure. And while the age category on the books was 3-5 years, I didn't read them to my boys until they were 6 and 9. And honestly, for the first book there was very little "new to them" information. If you don't use the "technical" terms for body parts in your home, this book covers those terms with a practical understanding of how God uniquely made both boys and girls. The books use candid, age-appropriate language all within the realm of God's love and goodness of all that He has made, the nurturing family as God's context for love, and the specialness of being made a boy or a girl. Pretty simple. Pretty straight forward.
And just this past week - spurred on because we have been covering body systems in Science, and Jesse's textbook touched on the reproductive system so questions occurred, we read through book #2 together as a family. Number 2 in the series is entitled "Before I was Born," and the recommended age level is for ages 5-8. Again, my two oldest boys are now almost 7 and almost 10, and no questions have really been asked up until this point.
Let's just say that there were a few new "concepts" learned from this book. It was equal parts hilarious and really sweet and endearing, and I think that for right now Book #2 is where we will stop. It covered a couple of the basic questions the boys were asking without going into any additional detail - and for them, right now, that was enough. As more questions come, more answers will as well. And as they continue to grow older, so will more of the details.
I love the idea of taking each kid away for a weekend before they hit their teen years. There are some really great resources designed specifically for these ages. "Passport to Purity" and "Preparing for Adolescence" are two that come highly recommended from several friends. I like the idea of going through these different cd collections one on one with each kid, making it special, and making it memorable. I remember reading through some books with Mom, going out to eat, and choosing a "purity ring" together that I wore until my wedding day.
I like the idea of helping my children see the weightiness of these decisions. I want them to enter their teen years, with their eyes wide open and hopefully with their head and hearts on straight. That visible ring on my hand was a daily reminder to me all through my teen years. Sounds kind of cheesy, but it worked. I like the idea of my kids making a list of what they want in their future spouses...and of holding their standards high. I want them to think with their heads before they fall with their hearts.
Just a few of the books that we are reading through right now...at this stage of game.
Tell me what you're reading. Tell me how you are addressing "the talk."
School me. Let's walk together....