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Parent Convo Starters

Christmas Parent Conversation Starter

Use this Parent Conversation Starter to begin age-appropriate dialogue with your children today about God’s wisdom for everyone’s sexuality. Demonstrate safety and invite kids to share if they recognize any form of broken sexuality in their lives or the world around them so they never have to go in the closet. Click here for Parent Conversation Starters on other topics like sexual ethics, preventing homophobia, family & intimacy, and more.

 

Could Christmastime actually be the perfect setting to talk to your kids about sexual stewardship? I think it is!

Time off work and school vacation mean that we spend more time with our kids than usual. In between Christmas parties and church celebrations, there is so much opportunity to start important conversations about intimacy, family, singleness, marriage, sex, and sexuality.

God expects this of us, parents (check out Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4). Our kids won’t learn about God’s wisdom on their own, and we don’t want them to make sense of sexuality without our guidance.

Plus, if your child one day experiences same-sex attraction, these early conversations will teach them that God’s design for their sexual stewardship is the same as for everyone else. Knowing that God loves gay people and that His wisdom is good for everyone, regardless of their attractions, helps to prevent the wounds of the closet, namely shame, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and loss of faith.

So what do we focus on when we talk to our kids about sexual stewardship for all people?

 

Focus On God’s Wisdom for Everyone

We can teach our kids the whole narrative of sexual stewardship: what God created us for, how that went wrong, and God’s wisdom for everyone now.

1) What did God create us for? God created us all for relational intimacy found with God and in human family, defined by Jesus as “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 12:46-50). We find that family, that “intimate group of people we can count on over time for comfort, care, nurturance, support, sustenance, and emotional closeness” (Ambiguous Loss by Pauline Boss), through one of the relational vocations God designed: Christian marriage or vocational singleness. From a young age, we teach our kids that one day they’ll get to discern which vocation God has chosen for them and then, as they enter their teen years, we teach them how to make decisions using a process of prayerful discernment, including the question of relational vocation.

2) Where did everything go wrong? Humanity’s sin bent and broke the goodness of everything God created, including the way all of us “do” and experience intimacy, family, marriage, singleness, sex, and sexuality. The sin of others, the general brokenness of the world, or their own brokenness will affect your child before they choose to sin sexually. This could include divorced parents, exposure to pornography, sexual abuse, gender identity questions, intersex biology, same-sex attraction, etc.

3) How can we offer hope? We are still able to find incredible beauty and goodness and even flourish in this broken world because God offers us His wisdom through the Bible and the Church. And when we follow God’s wisdom we’ll find the most joy in this life. We invite our kids to share with us as soon they realize how broken sexuality is impacting them. We remind them that it’s not their fault, that we’ll listen to them, comfort them, and help them thrive in God’s good plans for their life.

 

How Can You Teach Your Own Kids This Narrative?

Set aside some time to intentionally have a conversation about the whole narrative of sexual stewardship. The scripts below all center around a nativity set, but you could have these conversations anywhere. Get cozy beside the Christmas tree, take a car ride to see Christmas lights, or make a mug of hot chocolate and ask your kids to join you.

 

Ages 2-5

Play with or look at your nativity set. If you don’t have one, draw a nativity scene together, look at a picture of one in a children’s Bible, or find a printable to color.

Ask, “Who is Jesus’s family?”
Say, “God provided family for Jesus through his mom, Mary, and his dad on earth, Joseph. Jesus was also part of God’s family, since He is God’s Son. When Jesus grew up, his 12 disciples became his family – He lived with them, ate with them, and went everywhere with them! And Jesus’s death made it so that we can also join His family – everyone who is a Christian is part of God’s family. And family is the place God made for us to find love.”

Ask, “What do you know about the night Jesus was born? Was everything perfect? Did Mary and Joseph get a nice hotel room to stay in? Were Jesus’s grandparents there to visit Him?”
Say, “You’re right. There was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn so they stayed in a barn where animals lived. I wonder how clean the barn was. Do you think the animals smelled funny? I wonder how Mary felt putting Jesus to sleep in an animal’s food bucket.”

Say, “There are lots of ways that sin broke the goodness of what God created, including families and how we love others. Do you think Jesus’s family was broken? Did anyone misuse the way God created us to love others?”
Say, “We know that when Jesus was older, his brothers didn’t believe that He was the Son of God. And we also know that one of Jesus’s disciples, someone He loved and considered family, told the Roman leaders where they could capture Jesus.”

Say, “Sin broke the goodness of what God created, but we can still find so much beauty and goodness and love in families. God gave us His wisdom about the best ways to love others and to do family in His Word, the Bible, and through the Church. And when we follow God’s wisdom, we’ll find the most joy in this life. God invites everyone, no matter what their family looks like or the ways they have misused love in the past, to follow His wisdom.”

Say, “If you ever find brokenness in your family or find it hard to love like God designed us to love, please tell me. It’s not your fault the world is broken. I won’t be mad at you. You’re not a bad person. I will listen to you, comfort you, and work really hard to help you follow God’s wisdom and find joy in the ways He designed for us to find love.”

 

Ages 6-8

Play with or look at your nativity set while reading the story of Jesus’s birth (from a children’s Bible or a regular Bible).

Ask, “Who is Jesus’s family?”
Say, “God provided family for Jesus through his mom, Mary, and his dad on earth, Joseph. But family doesn’t just mean Mommy and Daddy and kids. Jesus is also part of God’s family (who we call the Trinity), since He is God’s Son. When Jesus grew up, His 12 disciples became his family – He lived with them, ate with them, and went everywhere with them! Some people once told Jesus His mom and brothers wanted to talk to Him and Jesus replied, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:46-50). And then Jesus’s death made it so that we can also join His family – everyone who is a Christian is part of God’s family. And family is the place God made for us to find love. Some people find family through a Christian marriage. And some find family, like Jesus, through a group of individuals who become a family.”

Say, “Unfortunately, there are lots of ways that sin broke the goodness of what God created, including families and how we love others. Do you think Jesus’s family was broken? Did anyone misuse the way God created us to love others?”
Say, “We know that when Jesus was older, his brothers didn’t believe that He was the Son of God. And we also know that Judas, one of Jesus’s disciples, someone Jesus loved and considered family, told the Roman leaders where they could capture Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus’s love.”

Ask, “What are some ways you’ve seen others misuse the ways God designed for us to find love and family?” (using marriage to gain access to romance and sex, sex outside of marriage, pornography, divorce, adultery, etc)
Say, “Those are all ways we can deliberately choose to misuse love and family. But some people experience the brokenness of the world in ways they didn’t choose. For instance, some boys are attracted to other boys instead of girls like most other boys.”
Say, “If you ever feel like that, feel like you’re attracted to other boys/girls, please tell me. It’s not your fault the world is broken. I won’t be mad at you. You’re not a bad person. I will listen to you, comfort you, and fight for you to thrive in God’s wisdom and find joy in the ways He designed for us to find love.”

Say, “Everyone deals with brokenness. We all live in a broken world and all of us experience brokenness in ways we don’t choose. But we can still find so much beauty and goodness and love in families, regardless of our brokennesses. God gave us His wisdom about the best ways to love others and to do family in His Word, the Bible. And when we follow God’s wisdom, we’ll find the most joy in this life. God invites everyone, no matter what their family looks like or the ways they have misused love in the past or how they’re broken, to follow His wisdom.”

 

Ages 9-12

Read the story of Jesus’s conception, Joseph’s reaction, and Jesus’s birth from one of the gospels.

Ask, “Someone once defined a family as an ‘intimate group of people we can count on over time for comfort, care, nurturance, support, sustenance, and emotional closeness.’ Based on that definition, who is Jesus’s family?”
Say, “God provided family for Jesus through his mom, Mary, and his dad on earth, Joseph. Jesus is also part of God’s family (who we call the Trinity), since He is God’s Son. Then when Jesus grew up, His 12 disciples became his family – He lived with them, ate with them, and went everywhere with them! Now let’s read Matthew 12:46-50. Who does Jesus say is in His family?”

Say, “And then Jesus’s death made it so that we can also join His family – everyone who is a Christian is part of God’s family. And family is the place God made for us to find love. God calls some people find family through a Christian marriage. And God calls some people, like Jesus, to remain single so they can focus fully on kingdom work parents might have a hard time finding the time or energy to do. But God didn’t design singles to be without family. Remember that definition? Single people can find family with their biological family (parents/siblings/cousins), a married couple and their kids, or a group of other single people.”

Say, “Unfortunately, there are lots of ways that sin broke the goodness of what God created, including families and how we love others. Do you think Jesus’s family was broken? Did anyone in His family misuse the way God created us to love others?”
Say, “We know that when Jesus was older, his brothers didn’t believe that He was the Son of God. And we also know that Judas, one of Jesus’s disciples, someone Jesus loved and considered family, told the Roman leaders where they could capture Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus’s love.”

Ask, “What are some ways you’ve seen others misuse the ways God designed for us to find love and family?” (using marriage to gain access to romance and sex, sex outside of marriage, pornography, divorce, adultery, etc)
Say, “Those are all ways we can deliberately choose to misuse love and family. But some people experience the brokenness of the world in ways they didn’t choose. For instance, some boys are attracted to other boys instead of girls like most other boys. We call that same-sex attraction or ‘being gay.’ And some people who experience same-sex attraction feel really ashamed; they want to hide. I wonder if Mary felt ashamed to be unmarried and pregnant. I wonder if Joseph felt ashamed to be engaged to someone who was pregnant with a child that wasn’t his. I wonder if Jesus was ever tempted to feel ashamed that He was born in a dirty, smelly barn.”
Say, “If you ever feel like that, feel like you’re attracted to other boys/girls, please tell me. It’s not your fault the world is broken. I won’t be ashamed of you, and you don’t have to hide your attractions. People who experience same-sex attraction aren’t bad. And if you do tell me that you experience same-sex attraction, I will listen to you, comfort you, and fight for you to thrive in God’s wisdom and find joy in the ways He designed for us to find love.

Say, “It’s likely that Mary and Joseph were rejected by their families because she was unmarried and pregnant. Jesus was born in a dirty, smelly barn because the world didn’t understand that He was a King and a Savior. Perhaps some of the gay kids in our churches feel rejected or unwelcome in their homes or churches this Christmas. I want you to know that if that’s your story, or any of your friends’ stories, I want you to be known and loved in our home and in our church.”
Say, “Everyone deals with brokenness. We all live in a broken world and all of us experience brokenness in ways we don’t choose. But we can still find so much beauty and goodness and love in families, regardless of our brokennesses. God gave us His wisdom about the best ways to love others and to do family in His Word, the Bible. And when we follow God’s wisdom, we’ll find the most joy in this life. God invites everyone, no matter what their family looks like or the ways they have misused love in the past or how they’re broken, to follow His wisdom.”

 

Help us train more parents to lead their kids in conversation about sexuality through Equip’s Parent Course by giving today.

 

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