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Parent Convo Starters

Parent Conversation Starter: Christian Singleness

We’ve provided these free Parent Conversation Starters to help parents begin intentional dialogue about sexuality with children and teens. Each Starter includes step-by-step instructions for parents to (1) prepare for conversation and (2) initiate conversation, broken down by age-group.

These starters are just that–starters. These are not meant to be one-and-done conversations, but rather a place to begin ongoing conversation. We know these are difficult conversations, which is why we’ve created a 12-hour Parent Course, designed to give parents all the tools they need to have compassionate and theologically accurate conversations about sexuality with their kids throughout childhood.

 

(1) Prepare for Conversation: get familiar with the topic

Topic Summary: What is vocational singleness? Why does God call people to vocational singleness? How can we prepare kids and teens to leverage their singleness for Jesus?

Parents, watch Equip’s teaching video about Christian singleness. As you watch, pause and reflect on the following questions:

  • Do you have a healthy theological understanding of both Christian marriage and vocational singleness so you can pass that knowledge on to your child?

  • What biases do you have for or against marriage or singleness? How are you submitting those biases to Christ and allowing Him to speak His preferences into your child’s life?

  • What is your church teaching your child about sexual stewardship? Is marriage assumed? Is singleness taught and upheld as a calling equal to marriage?

  • A call to vocational singleness is a call to give up romance, dating, marriage, sex, and children to do kingdom work parents don’t have the time or energy to do. In a culture that places so much value on romantic companionship and sexual freedom, that seems like a big ask. But the Bible never promises marriage. How are you helping your child see the goodness in God’s design for not only our sexual behavior, but also for the relational vocation (marriage, vocational singleness) we’re called to?

  • If God happens to call your child to Christian marriage, your child will still be single for a long period of time prior to marriage. It’s also possible that your child could be single again after marriage (death of his/her spouse or divorce). How are you teaching your child to leverage his/her singleness for the kingdom now, rather than just waiting for marriage?

  • If God calls your child to vocational singleness, is your church a place he/she could find family, belonging, and honor equal to that of married people, be full and equal members of the family of God, and be spiritual parents in ways just as great as biological parents? If not, what areas need improvement? How could you be involved in that?

  • If you are married, how are you providing family for the single people in your Christian community?

  • How are you helping your child offer the question of marriage or vocational singleness to God?

 

(2) Initiate Conversation: ask good questions


Conversation Starter for Ages 2-6

Start the conversation with a few questions. (Substitute as necessary. For example, if your child’s grandparent is not married, use an aunt/uncle instead. Just make sure the last person mentioned is someone who isn’t married and who is engaged in kingdom work as a single person.)

“Are you married?” (no)

“Am I married?” (yes, to Spouse Name!)

“Is Grandma married?” (yes, to Grandpa!)

“Is our friend _____ married?” (no)

“Is our friend _____ married?” (Choose someone who is single for the sake of serving the kingdom—Jesus or Paul will work in a pinch!)

“You know what? Not everyone gets married! Marriage is good; God is the one who made marriage, and we know that He only gives good things to us. Do you know why He made marriage?” (Answers will vary)

“When a man and a woman get married, they’re supposed to love each other in a way that shows others a picture of how much God loves the Church. And God made marriage to be a safe place for kids to grow up and learn about Jesus.”

“Is marriage the only way we can show others a picture of God’s love?” (no)

“You’re right! Sometimes God tells a person to remain single, and that’s not a sad thing! That’s actually a really beautiful way to serve God. That’s what God has told our friend _____ to do.  Instead of getting married and spending his/her time taking care of children and loving his/her spouse, _____ will spend his/her time serving God’s kingdom. He’ll/She’ll have time to do so many things for God that Mommy and I won’t have time to do because we’re busy raising you! Isn’t that wonderful? Maybe one day God will tell you not to remain single so you can have extra time to serve Him.”

For some further reading, look at Bible passages about Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch, Anna, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, or Jeremiah. They were all vocationally single.

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 7-12

Start the conversation with a few questions. (Substitute as necessary. For example, if your child’s grandparent is not married, use an aunt/uncle instead. Just make sure the last person mentioned is someone who isn’t married and who is engaged in kingdom work as a single person.)

“Are you married?” (no)

“Am I married?” (yes, to Spouse Name!)

“Is Grandma married?” (yes, to Grandpa!)

“Is our friend _____ married?” (no)

“Is our friend _____ married?” (Choose someone who is single for the sake of serving the kingdom—Jesus or Paul will work in a pinch!)

“You know what? Not everyone gets married! Marriage is good; God is the one who made marriage, and we know that He only gives good things to us. Do you know why He made marriage?” (Answers will vary)

“When a man and a woman get married, they’re supposed to love each other in a way that shows others a picture of how much God loves the Church. And God made marriage to be a safe place for kids to grow up and learn about Jesus.”

“Is marriage the only way we can show others a picture of God’s love?” (no)

“You’re right! Sometimes God tells a person to remain single, and that’s not a sad thing! That’s actually a really beautiful way to serve God. Single people show us God’s love in different but just as important ways. People who have committed to singleness to serve God’s kingdom remind us of the union we have with Christ and they show us the hope we have for the New Heaven and the New Earth where no one will be married.

“That’s what God has told our friend _____ to do.  Instead of getting married and spending his/her time taking care of children and loving his/her spouse, _____ will spend his/her time serving God’s kingdom and loving God’s people. He’ll/She’ll have time to do so many things for God that Mommy and I won’t have time to do because we’re busy raising you! Isn’t that wonderful? Maybe one day God will tell you to remain single so you can have extra time to serve Him.

Ask, “What kinds of things do you think _____ will be able to do that mommies and daddies don’t have the time or energy to do for God?” (Missionaries to dangerous countries; more availability as pastors, ministers, teachers, or counselors; able to live on a much smaller income; able to take more risks for the gospel)

Ask, “Do you think people who don’t get married still need a family?” (yes) “Where does God say they can find a family?” (with other believers; mention specific ways single people can be woven into a family: adopted into a nuclear family, living with their biological family, living with a small group of other singles; “parenting” spiritual children)

Ask, “What kind of people do you think God tells to remain single so they can serve Him?” (Answers will vary. Point out that God can call anyone to vocational singleness–even them! Vocational singleness isn’t only for gay people or asexual people or people with a rare, special gift of remaining single.)

For some further reading, look at Bible passages about Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch, Anna, or Jeremiah. They were all vocationally single.

 

Conversation Starter for Ages 13+

Watch Equip’s teaching video with your teen. Discuss some or all of the following questions:

  • Pieter told a funny story about playing family as a young kid. He said that the cousin who got stuck as the “crazy cat lady” wasn’t happy about her role because everyone knew that being married and having kids was the best thing. Does that ring true for you? What are your thoughts/feelings about being single as an adult?

  • Pieter says that vocational singleness is different from the temporary singleness we’re all born into. He says that vocational singleness is a specific, permanent calling to remain single for the sake of God’s kingdom (for doing kingdom work parents don’t have time and energy to do). What are your thoughts/feelings about vocational singleness?

  • Pieter says that marrying or committing to singleness isn’t our choice, and God has a preference for our lives. What are your thoughts/feelings about that?

  • What are some examples of kingdom work the vocationally single could do that parents wouldn’t have the time or energy to do? What are some examples of kingdom work that parents can do, but that the vocationally single could potentially have more impact as their time and energy would not be divided?

  • How does vocational singleness point people to Christ/God?

  • Pieter says that vocational singleness isn’t a call to loneliness. Songs, movies, advertisements, and even other Christians often tell us that if we don’t have romance and sex in our lives, we’ll be horribly lonely; that we must have sex and a romantic partner to be whole, to thrive.

  • Do people with romantic partners ever experience loneliness? Is romance God’s answer to loneliness? What is God’s answer to loneliness?

  • What are some ways the vocationally single can find committed, intimate family?

  • Who is vocational singleness for? (Remind your teen that vocational singleness isn’t only for gay or asexual people to consider; God can call anyone to serve Him through vocational singleness.)

  • What biases do you have for or against marriage? For or against vocational singleness?

  • How have you been approaching God with the question of whether or not He wants you to marry? How can I help you do that?

For some further reading, look at Bible passages about Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch, Anna, or Jeremiah. They were all vocationally single.

 

Equip’s Parent Course includes over 30 example scripts you can use with kids ages 2-12 to talk about marriage and singleness, intimacy and family, sex and sexuality. Check out a free preview and register for an upcoming Course here.

 

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