Help! What do I tell my child about . . . ?

Children have a way of surprising us with innocent awkward questions at equally awkward moments . . . especially in public.  While shopping with his mom, one six-year-old boy spotted a rather large woman nearby. “Mom, is that lady pregnant?” he asked loud enough for the woman to hear.  Most of us dread such impromptu cringe-worthy queries, and some of us try to have a general response ready to buy us some time for an appropriate answer.

Over the past decade a new area of curiosity has entered every youngster’s radar. . . this area consists of bold “alternatives” to God’s design for sex and marriage.   In recent months, highly publicized events have unfolded to expand our children’s awareness of these “alternatives” and prompt exceptionally difficult questions for parents to answer.

As you know, on June 26th the Supreme Court handed down its decision extending the Outdoor bridal kiss - Katie & Dandefinition of marriage to include same sex couples. Five justices overturned the laws of the remaining states that hadn’t already had this definition imposed on them primarily by state courts.

It wasn’t a surprise . . . we knew national legalization was coming.  Eleven years earlier, the push for same sex “marriage” (SSM) began picking up steam after Massachusetts–through its own supreme judicial court in 2004–became the first state to legalize this departure from God’s design (Genesis 2:21-24 & Matthew 19:4-6).  The homosexual agenda gained popularity throughout the subsequent decade, and its symbols such as the rainbow flag, seemed to appear everywhere, including in many public & private schools and numerous churches.  It became virtually impossible to shield even the youngest children from exposure to symbols, slogans and edgy behaviors that could arouse their curiosity, sow confusion, and interfere with their age-appropriate sequenced learning about God’s pattern for marriage & family relationships.

Rainbow to Field of Poppies and Lupines

So what should Christians tell their children about gender issues in general and SSM specifically?  Parents must be ready to answer inevitable questions with biblical truth geared to a child’s age/maturity level.  Even better is to initiate conversations rather than wait for questions. . . some children never ask, and they might uncritically absorb what they see and hear elsewhere.   What follows is a set of appropriate, simple “talking points” that parents can present to little ones up through age 6 or 7.   In several future posts, I’ll continue to offer discussion ideas for progressively older kids.

For the youngest it’s best to start by teaching what is right & good . . . God’s creation and His plan for marriage.  Use a children’s story-style bible or your own simple paraphrase of the bible’s account.  Cover and reinforce these points:

  • In the beginning God created only male & female people (Genesis 1:27), and created them in His image. This is the first step in building kids’ understanding that all people are intrinsically equals whose true identity and inherent value are rooted in their omnipotent, eternal Creator.  Consequently, we are commanded to love & respect even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45) even as we disapprove of sinful behaviors, because we are co-equals of inestimable worth.
  • God loves us unconditionally in spite of our sin, but He does not love our sin. He commands and helps His people to live in obedience to His laws for our benefit & His glory in this world, and the next.
  • Marriage is the first institution God created. He designed it as the lifelong union of one man and one woman through which to reflect His love, and to bear and raise children.  Contrary to the Supreme Court decision, no other kind of coupling is marriage.  Older children will later learn that sexual relations in marriage embody the meaning of becoming one flesh and serve as a symbol of God’s perfect union with His people (Ephesians 5:31-32). God condemns all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman (Hebrews 13:4).
  • Share age-appropriate picture books with preschoolers that reinforce God’s design for male & female, marriage and birth. Two Christian publishers have picture books that tastefully introduce these topics for the preschooler/kindergartner: “The Story of Me” by Stan & Brenna Jones (Navpress), and “Why Boys & Girls are Different” by Carol Greene (Concordia Press).
  • So far, the only Christian picture book that sensitively & respectfully broaches the subject of same sex relationships is “Does God Love Michael’s Two Daddies?” by Sheila Butt (Apologetics Press); it’s best suited to children in first or second grade.
  • God made rainbows to symbolize His promise to Noah. Read/reread the story of Noah’s ark (a kid favorite) to link the rainbow to God in your child’s mind. Look for rainbows together after a storm and create indoor rainbows anytime with a prism and a sunny window to build appreciation for this beautiful phenomenon.  Children must first learn that the rainbow is God’s gift to represent an ongoing sacred covenant, not sinful “sexual diversity.”

As I’ve stressed all along on this blog, teaching our children God’s word from an early age provides a lifelong moral compass with which to evaluate all sorts of human behavior.  See especially Reason #9 http://www.hearttohearttalks.com/Blog/?p=683  of my Top Ten Reasons to Do Sex Ed at Home series.

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3 Responses to Help! What do I tell my child about . . . ?

  1. Joe Grifoni says:

    Linda!
    You did a wonderful job as always to deliver the truth in love. Furthermore you have touched upon an underlying point that The Church is now struggling with. Does sin matter? You stated “He commands and helps His people to live in obedience to His laws for our benefit & His glory in this world, and the next.” It is a great reminder that although we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, we cling to Jesus who “did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it”. So, we cling to Jesus to satisfy the law for us. But we must not relax and become transgressors so that “grace can abound all the more”.

    On another note, you are right on that children need to hear the truth at a young age, and packaged so that they can understand it. With this careful delivery, in love, our next generation will be able to spot a counterfeit right away and cling to the teaching of their youth – with God’s help. Amen.

    Thank you Linda!!

  2. omd says:

    Linda,

    As distressing as it is, we should not be surprised by sinners acting sinfully. Nor should we be surprised when mankind issues laws that countermand God’s laws. After all, are we not smarter and wiser than God who would dare to impose His will on us?

    We as Christian parents need to negate what society is saying is fine. Government will simply make laws that society wants and demands. We must teach dignity & respect are due all. We do not have to agree with lifestyle choices and behaviors. Teach our children to treat people as they wish to be treated.

    God will lift His hand of mercy from a nation. He will say, Ok this is what you want?Here ya go. He will give people over the lusts of their minds and flesh. We live in an age where everything is offensive to people, especially, the gospel of Jesus the Christ

    Romans 1:18-32
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
    19 because that which is known about God is evident [m]within them; for God made it evident to them.
    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
    21 For even though they knew God, they did not [n]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
    23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
    25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
    27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
    29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
    30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
    31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
    32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

    As usual, good post. Christians need to stand and be counted. Their voices have as much right as those who would be intolerant of Christian worldviews.

  3. Linda says:

    Thank you for your comments gentlemen & fellow soldiers in the battle for the hearts & minds of our children.

    Yes, Joe . . . as we know, sin DOES matter to God . . . and woe to those churches that have become apostate. They are leading their congregations astray.

    OMD, with your colloquial remark: “God will lift His hand of mercy from a nation. He will say, Ok this is what you want? Here ya go,” you have revealed the parallel between today’s America and the ancient Israelites who demanded a king ( just like all the other nations, 1 Samuel 8:5-7) in rebellion against being directly led by God. The results were disastrous. Like Israel, our nation’s courts have twisted the Constitution’s clear language to reject God & His foundational principles . . . and we are already manifesting the misery & evil of every other godless country in history. It’s going to keep getting worse, and no matter how marginalized God’s people become, we must remain faithful servants despite the cost.

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