Dating and Sexuality

It was MOVIE day – the boys had scoffed and joked, the girls had giggled and whispered. If the truth were to be told, we were all mortified. The day when the 5th grade girls went to one school room and the boys went to the other. We were going to see the changing bodies movie and get “the talk”. This was an important milestone and every parent was invited by the school to attend. I remember it vividly
because out of 50 students, my mom was one of two moms who came. I liked my mom, so I wasn’t too bothered. The fact that the other mom belonged to the most popular girl in 5th grade didn’t hurt, but I remember wondering why no other parents attended. I learned later, that not only did parents not attend, there was no discussion on the topics of sexuality and dating between my friends and their parents, ever!

Being a typical adolescent, I was completely and utterly embarrassed by the “conversations” my parents were determined to have with me. Now I know what an amazing thing it was. Working with young people for the past 32 years has taught me that even though “sex and sexuality” front all the magazines, TV, movies and every social media
outlet, it is not talked about in the home.

In this church home, it’s a different story. Several years ago, Pastor Dave and I decided we wanted to help parents talk to their children about sexuality and dating. We didn’t want to talk biology we wanted to talk relationship. We wanted to open the door to comfortable conversation between parent and child – a door that could remain open. We designed and wrote four lessons based on everything from dating and love to body image, abusive relationships, media messages
and God’s hope for us. We shaped it around 7th and 8th graders and placed it within the confirmation ministry. There was much fear and trembling from child and parent as they shuffled in for the first time, but it didn’t take long for it to be replaced by conversation and laughter.

We used a combination of discussion, interviews, power point, graphics and personal story to invite everyone to participate where they were at. It was facilitated to allow the parent to guide the discussion using their own language, experience and values. We received a flood of positive response! The most important to me was an email from a member who worked at the West Suburban teen clinic. She said it was an amazing experience and if all teens had an opportunity for conversation like this,
it could change what she did!

At the end of January, teen and parent gathered. They entered with fear and trepidation, giggles and whispers which soon changed to laughter, jokes and warmth. God calls us into relationship and who better to teach and guide young people than those who love them the most! The night ends with each parent placing a hand on their child’s
head and blessing them – a holy moment in time. What an honor to behold!