But wait, I have to be ready first…
Before our oldest, Catcher, was even born, Sarah and I started tinkering around with a few ideas on how we were going to start the conversation about sex with our kids. A lot of sex and the chaos boys will experience is just science, but we knew God was going to be huge part of “the talk.” We never quite landed on a plan, but the mere fact we talked almost certainly meant we improved our chances of not screwing it up by 2%-7%. Every few months or so, we’d kick the tires on the eventual sex talk, but we never landed on a real plan.
That’s okay, cause little did she know, I’d be ready. See, my plan was to read the perfect article from Focus on the Family and snag tips from Kevin Lehman’s books. Also, I would equip myself by adding articles people would share on Facebook about the topic to my Read Later notebook in Evernote. I would then wait until God used his divine nature to communicate the exact right time to tell Catcher everything I had learned.
If only the Khan Academy had a course for this…
I have over 200 articles, covering a myriad of topics, tagged “Read Later,” and I don’t think I’ve read a single one, including the ones earmarked for the sex talk. Outside the occasional prayer asking for guidance, I have neglected my responsibility of hacking the “be the perfect dad” code. I realized, I’ve also been waiting for God’s divine nature to give me a six pack. It’s not going well. I fear my theology is a little off base and the task of talking with my sons about sex is far too important to put off.
Not to mention, Sarah grew up in a house with girls, which means weird stuff boys do is of particular concern for her. Even I get freaked out sometimes at some the excruciating things I see my sons do. You’ll be spared the details, but dad’s with sons…you know what I mean. I still think I could have waited just a little bit longer, but why take the chance? I was likely not going to be prepared anymore than I was in that moment.
Catcher turns 9 later this year. So, I wasn’t going to deliver the Vin Scully play by play, but it was time for something. Not the full blown Sex 101, but there are a couple prerequisites he should probably take since kids his age have already been running their mouths for a couple years now. Rolling into third grade, stuff is going to start to get weirder, and quick. I remember what it felt like when I watched that jacked up video in fourth grade. We went from long division to “boners” and “wet dreams” in a matter of minutes. That’s tough to recover from.
Great…I’m going to have to figure out how to talk to each kid differently?!
Here’s the thing, I am sure every parent thinks their kid is innocent, but Catcher actually is, like in an airhead kind of way. I mean that in the most loving way possible. A good example, if you ask Catcher to name three bad words, he will say, “Shut up, dumb, and poop.” I’m not proud but I’ve been known to use words worse than “poop” more than I care to admit. How could he not know ANY profanity? He’s almost nine! He’s brilliant and perceptive in other ways, but sex and bad words is not one of them.
I knew his personality and knowledge base would be factors to consider. There is no cookie cutter sex chat, even for Christians, but other than completely scarring my son in ways he won’t understand until puberty and sounding like a bumbling idiot to an 8 year old, there was nothing to fear.
So, a few days ago, I did it. I had the talk. Well, not THE talk, because as a veteran now, I realize this talk was part of a series of talks. Each will take place at unexpected times over the next few years. So, I started the conversation. It was as awkward and hilarious as I hoped it would be.
We wondered aimlessly around a park and shopping plaza for about half an hour. Catcher kept find things to climb on then jump off of, and I kept scoping out the “perfect spot.” He wouldn’t stop moving though. Fortunately, he found a bird eating a Dorito and it was enough to keep him occupied while I locked down a venue.
From this point, it was somewhat of a blur, but we had one of the best conversations we’ve ever had. My expectations were extremely low, but he asked questions and offered some humorous input. We eventually got stuck on how to communicate to a girl that you like her. He made very clear he had no interest in girls now, but acknowledges one day he will. He was polishing his “game” armor before he even knows he needs it. Nice.
We hit on a few topics I was anxious about. We went on several different tangents. I was surprised how easy it was to let him dictate the content. Part of the reason he was so nonchalant about it is because he was completely unaware how scary sex is. He wasn’t nervous or standoffish because he had no expectations, no reservations. Turns out, he has heard quite a bit though. Again, some of it hilarious and some of it weird. Almost none of it right.
Ultimately, my biggest concern was making him feel comfortable about talking to both of us over the next few years. Christian or not, sex is going to confuse the crap out of boys for a long time. I felt like the whole thing would be a win if I just knew he felt comfortable coming to us with his questions. There’s more to it than that, but it was good litmus test. I got an answer sooner than I thought.
After walking in from the walk, Sarah quietly came over to ask if I had the talk. I nodded, but insisted we hold off on chatting about until it the kids crashed. Frankly, I just needed a breather and time to repent about all my screw ups in the previous half hour. Not happy about it, Sarah agreed and Catcher came rolling into the room and started jumping on the bed.
“Mom, wanna know what me and Dad talked about?”
With a ridiculous grin on his face, “We talked about sex, girls, and privates.”
Prayer answered. Now what am I going to do?