I’ve been hearing from a lot of parents who, especially in the wake of SCOTUS decision on gay marriage have serious concerns about raising faithful, moral kids in the present culture. It’s never been easy, but recent events take the challenge to parents to a whole new level. How do we convey the Catholic vision of love and marriage to our kids in a world that defines these terms in completely different ways than we do? How can we hope to compete? In our weaker moments, I think it is possible for parents to fall prey to nightmare fantasies in which we are trying to raise our kids in some kind of post-apocalyptic, morally bereft, Hunger Games world.
I have three words for you. BE NOT AFRAID!!!
Be Not Afraid!!!
I don’t think it does any good at all to approach the culture with a spirit of fear. I regularly counsel parents–and we adopt this approach with our own kids–that “freaking out” about media, peer-pressure, social media, or the latest cultural trend is actually the best way to set our kids up to fall prey to the glamour of evil. The more panicked we get, the more we send the message that our faith is weak, and unable to engage the world, much less stand up to it. The more we live in fear, the more we set our kids up to become fascinated by the power of the thing we fear the most.
At worst, recent events compel Catholic parents to be willing to have more conversations we might rather not have with our kids–and to have those conversations earlier than we might otherwise prefer to. But with good information and a spirit of prayer neither we, nor our children, have anything to fear no matter what our background is or what challenges we face. “Jenn-Henn” is a perfect example of what I am writing about. At Only a Mere Woman Blog Jenn writes bravely about her difficult upbringing and her struggles to make peace with her body, her femininity, and her sexuality. Recently, she posted a review of Beyond the Birds and the Bees in which she spoke of how it not only helped her learn how to teach her kids to have a healthy sexuality, but it also is helping her heal her own woundedness. She wrote…
For our second Book Club review, I have Beyond The Birds And The Bees: Raising Sexually Whole and Holy Kids by Greg and Lisa Popcak. I found it to be eye opening and a bit healing for me, due to my issues in regards to my own femininity, which will be the subject of my next post, if not more. The most striking thing for me is the idea that sexuality is more than one’s sexual orientation, who one is sexually attracted to; that it involves the whole being of a person as a representation of who they are at the core and informs their interactions with the world around them. The idea that sexuality has more to do with femininity and masculinity than what one does with one’s genitals is revolutionary to me. The idea that a person who follows all of the prescribed rules regarding chastity and modesty yet is ashamed of, say, their femininity actually has an unhealthy sexuality is mind boggling to me. Turns out I’ve been doing it very wrong.
Anyway, for someone who doesn’t remember any sort of sex talk, and has been ashamed of herself and her body for so long, the advice was much welcome and needed. Giving examples of how parents can speak of the body and sex in respectful, matter of fact ways is extremely helpful. Showing how chastity and modesty are positives and not negative mandates is brilliant. But it really all boils down to teaching parents how to help their children grow up as well integrated people, people who know their worth and the worth of others, and are willing and able to do what it takes to preserve their dignity and that of other. READ THE REST
The Healing Truth
I’m grateful to Jenn for her willingness to share her own journey. Her comments highlight the fact that wherever we come from, whatever our own struggles, and whatever obstacles the prevailing culture might want to through at us, we can heal and we can find the ways to give our children the things we wish we had been given. We don’ t have to be afraid of anything the world can throw at us because we have the answers the world is seeking. It simply up to us to discover and use the tools that will help us live what we teach and be a witness to the world of the positive, powerful Catholic difference at work! Now is not the time to hide from the culture. Now is the time to engage it with charity, courage and with our facts in order and to teach our children to do the same.
For more information on how you can raise faithful, moral kids in a world gone mad, check out Beyond the Birds and the Bees: The Catholic Guide to Raising Sexually Whole and Holy Kids. And don’t forget to pre-order your copy of our upcoming book, Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide to Raising Faithful Kids which looks at the latest research of what it takes to raise children who can live and celebrate their faith!