I have long been aware of my need to vigilantly prepare and protect my kids from sexual predators. I have way too many friends who were sexually abused as children, and I have tried to learn from their experiences to wisely guide my own children. Our preschool uses a curriculum that teaches kids among other things that anywhere a bathing suit covers is their private parts and to always tell a grownup if someone touches them and keep telling more grownups until someone actually listens.
But in the last few months, a new issue has come up. A friend shared with me how her naive preteen little brother, homeschooled and well protected from sexually explicit influences, sexually fondled/assalted another friend’s little sister. Now THAT scared the h*** out of me. I have thought lots about protecting my sons from being abused but had never given thought about equipping them to not be the abuser. I thought it would be enough if they weren’t exposed to sexual content on TV or in song. Now, as I examine my earlier assumptions, I realize how niave that was on my part. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and it doesn’t take explicit exposure to such things to bring it out in ourselves.
I am only just beginning to think on how to prepare my boys to neither be abused or the abuser, but to have God’s view of sex and respect for the worth of each individual created in the image of God. I thought I’d need to start worrying about that when they were preteens. But now I am thinking that it’s past time I started.
I have found John Stott’s perspective on Paul’s teaching on sex in Ephesians 5 very helpful. In his Message of Ephesians commentary, Stott summarizes Paul’s teaching against innapropriate sexual language and practices as “don’t joke about sex, but rather give thanks for it.” It’s an excellent summary. I realize I need to start thinking now about how to teach my boys to value sex as God intended it, with neither a Victorian prudery that refuses to acknowledge it or our modern flippancy that treats it only as fodder for stupid jokes or chick flicks.
In the end, I think this will be a test case for how I teach them to think about being created in the Image of God, and I hope to instill them with a strong identity of who they are in Christ. But despite my awareness and resolve, I realize I am utterly dependent on Christ to protect my boys from both sinning against others and being sinned against by others. Jesus’ instructions on prayer now makes great sense to me. I will definitely be praying for myself and my boys, “Lead us not into temptaton, but deliver us from evil.” This is definitely a joint venture with God in which I depend on Him to do the heavy work.