• Sarah Sedgwick

Point your kids in the right direction

If we don’t have the conversation with our children about sexuality, where are they getting their information from? This message is for parents and youth leaders alike, our silence is deafening, our silence is damaging.

As the world continues to redefine marriage, gender identity and sexual orientation, can we afford to meekly stand by, embarrassed to speak about such issues with our children, anxious about how they will perceive us, rather than being keen to impart God’s wisdom to them?

Proverbs 22:6 reminds us - Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Training up a child is a massive responsibility and, as Christians, not one we can abdicate to the education system, internet giants or movie moguls.

I believe that many parents are fearful of being called out for being at best a bit of a dinosaur, and at worst a person with phobic tendencies who should be criminalised for holding to a Christian moral ethic around sex and sexuality. But what

I am suggesting is not brain washing, it’s not coercive, it’s simply presenting an alternative view and having healthy and loving conversations around our differences. These allow for conversations which can help them to think about where they are getting their information from, how they have tested it, and how to ensure that they are not falling foul to fake news or unfounded hype. It's also an opportunity for us to talk about the Bible and to help them understand what God has to say about these, and other, issues.

We also have a responsibility to teach our kids how to have healthy discussion without one side or the other trying to shut the other down. Can we agree to disagree? Sadly we are losing the art of healthy debate; but that doesn’t have to be the case in a Christian home. Our job is to train up our children; that means modelling Christian living and our Christian world view, and allowing them to weigh that up against the worldview of the western culture in which they are already immersed. Modelling your Christian faith may mean saying no to watching certain movies or TV shows, perhaps you need to do a self-audit. Is what you are watching edifying to your faith and reflective of your moral standpoint? Making changes to your own, and your family’s viewing habits, may make you very unpopular, but the values you instil in your children are important enough to ride that wave of unpopularity.

We trust that as we teach them right from wrong, as we show them that they can have a significant relationship with God for themselves, rather than relying on a faith inherited from their parents, that they will discover all God’s plans for their lives for themselves, without us pushing them one way or the other. Certainly when we train them up in the ways of God, we can lean into God if they go off track, trusting him to hold them. And if they don’t agree with our Christian values and views, at least we know that we have sown seeds. The most important message is that whatever they decide, we continue to love and cherish our children, embracing them, not shunning them, loving them, not ostracising them, respecting their freedom to choose, not despising them and being the constant in their lives, knowing that God has a plan!

As a word of encouragement, many of our group members who were previously acting on their same sex attraction were brought up in the Christian faith but chose to reject that faith as teenagers. Each of them in their testimony talk about the seeds that were sown by their parents, seeds that never died. Be bold and courageous in engaging in dialogue with teenagers about sex and sexuality, and trust that all the good work you put in now will bear much fruit in their future.

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