Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Again, driving our 9-year-old to karate, I asked our son about a question he had brought up a few nights ago. That conversation led to this exchange.
K: There's a lot of talk about gay. Like, that's so gay.
Me: Do you remember what gay means?
K: Yeah, it means not cool.
Me: Do you remember what else it means?
K: Yeah, it means a boy likes a boy.
Me: Yes, or a girl likes a girl.
K: Mom, I think Cory (name changed) is handsome. He's going to have a lot of girls like him.
Me: Do you think that might be what gay means?
Me: Actually, gay is more like if you are a boy and want to kiss a boy. Or, you are a girl and want to kiss a girl.
Me: Well, some people feel that way. If you think a boy is handsome without wanting to do something like kiss him, then you are just noticing he's nice looking. That doesn't mean you are gay. I notice when girls are beautiful. But, I don't want to spend extra time with them or kiss them. I just appreciate how beautiful they are. God made our bodies to look like his and we can notice how beautiful or handsome God made anyone. That's different from wanting to kiss and marry someone that's a boy.
K: Okay. That makes sense.
Me: God's plan is that our bodies were designed to be boys or girls for a reason. Boys and girls' bodies are made to fit together and be together to form strong, happy families. Some people don't believe the same way we do and we need to be kind and respectful to them. But, we can also live the way we believe by creating a family. If you ever feel like your body is telling you to be one way or another, you can come talk to me about it. I love you.
K: Okay. Thanks.
He seemed relieved. He was probably unsure of what it meant for him to think someone was attractive that was the same sex. This is a HUGE hurdle for children in our modern world because it's becoming "cool" in middle and high school to be homosexual. But, most of them don't really understand what it means as a tween or early teen. Some older teens may even struggle to really understand what it means. This is a time when they are searching for who they are and what they want to become. They worry that just because they are checking someone out that's the same sex to see if they are developing like others of the same sex means they might be homosexual. Or, they notice someone is attractive that's the same sex. These conversations about homosexuality always need to be filled with positive values, like reinforcing the Plan of Salvation. But, they also need to be free of judgment against homosexuality because your child needs to know they can talk to you if it turns out they do have homosexual feelings.
Friday, October 16, 2015
To combat some of the negativity surrounding bearing children, we decided to tell the children the stories of how we decided to have each of them. I have also started to consciously tell the children how much I love having a family. I admit that it can be hard, but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. Any job is hard, but there are so many moments of joy. There are some things that I like to keep sacred and personal, so I'm not going to share the details of how we decided it was time to try for each of our children.
I will share a recent experience at my house where I was inspired to point out to my children how wonderful a family is.
My husband is the early morning seminary teacher in our area. Our bonus room is a playroom/television room/seminary room. We have a long table set up for seminary. It's up all the time because seminary is every morning, bright and early. It's Fall Break here, so the kids have a week off school. They've actually been playing really well together. I'm trying to keep them busy with activities so they don't start fighting a lot. My husband is gone to a professional conference and one morning I decided to move the seminary table so we could have more space to play. In the process of moving it, I decided to just put one side down and use it as a slide for our little one's tractors, cars, and trucks. Well......as I was sending a truck down I wondered if a person could slide pretty easily. I sat on the top and slid down, much to the amazement of my children. After we had played on the slide for hours - and the next day - I asked:
Me: "So, do you think I would have just put the seminary table down like that and slid on it if I didn't have you kids?"
K (our oldest): "No Way!!!!"
A (our daughter): "I don't think so."
Z-man (just laughs - he was having tons of fun with this)
Me: "You're probably right. Having kids is a lot of fun, even if it's hard sometimes. I get to do things I wouldn't think of otherwise. I'm so grateful to have you kids. You make my life a lot more fun and interesting!"
I do believe this was a moment of inspiration because I wouldn't normally ask my kids to consciously think about the awesomeness of having a family. But, because I've been concerned about the kids not desiring families when they get older, I've been able to feel inspired at different moments to point out the beauty of being part of a family and choosing to have one.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Our two younger children were in the tub yesterday, our 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. They were playing around when I heard our 3-year-old say, "Ewwww, gross!!!!" I poked my head in the door to make sure nothing was totally amiss. Nothing seemed to be problematic, so I asked what was gross. "That!" He was pointing to a generic place on his sister's body, a knee or something. There was no gross sore or anything. I was confused.
Me: "What? What's gross?"
Z-man: "Sister's body!"
Me: "Where?" (I'm still confused).
Sweet Az: "He thinks my body is gross."
Me: "Oh. Z, why do think Az's body is gross?"
Z-man: "It's different!"
Me: "Oh. Who made her body?"
Me: "Heavenly Father made her body. Would Heavenly Father make your sister a gross body?"
Z-man: He started to nod (he likes being silly), but then his expression changed and he shook his head.
Me: "Is your body gross?"
Z-man: "No way!"
Me: "That's right. Heavenly Father made all of our bodies to look just like him. That makes both of your bodies pretty awesome. He loves you so much he wanted you to be just like him. That included giving you a body like His that can do lots of cool stuff."
Sweet Az: Smiling - love this girl's spirit. "I already know that!"
The whole point of this was to change the spirit of the reverence surrounding his comment about his body (or lack of reverence). I don't think it would have been totally detrimental if I would have left them alone and not addressed this. He would have given it up pretty quick and moved on to playing with the bubbles. But, as I shut the door, the whole spirit of the bathroom had changed from one of mild disgust and disrespect to one of loving reverence. They were happy and playing nicely in the water in both cases, but I left them with a better understanding of the sacredness of their bodies. I could feel the difference in the spirit of the room as I left and I could tell by their expressions that they felt the change too.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Our 9-year-old son wanted me to drive him to karate because he had something on his mind. He wanted to talk. I know I've said before how much I love having a drive with just him because it's a good opportunity for him to open up. Here is the conversation:
K: Mom, Bob (friend's name has been changed) is obsessed with S-E-X.
Me: Really, what makes you say that. You can say the word, too. You don't have to spell it. (He's already starting to feel that discomfort that comes with this age. I'm so glad we've already had some of the "tougher" conversations. Although, they don't feel tough when we're in the moment, discussing them at home. They feel right.)
K: He wants to talk about it all the time.
M: Oh. Does he talk about it a lot at recess (that's the only time our son interacts with this particular friend)?
K: Yeah, and at lunch. We play this baby game (where they pretend to be babies and have a "mom" who takes care of them. I bet they make annoying babies....). One day he started talking about how you make babies (boy am I glad we already had this conversation with him). He said that the penis goes in and out of the girl's part.
M: Well, yes. The penis does kind of rub to encourage the sperm to come out. That is probably what he's talking about because rubbing would be going in and out.
K: Oh. Okay.
Me: How did you feel talking about this with Bob?
K: I didn't like it.
Me: Why not?
K: It felt like the wrong place to talk about it.
Me: Yeah. It's something that's very special. Was Bob talking about it in a special way?
Me: I'm glad you asked about it.
K: Yeah, me too.
Me: Has Bob ever showed you pictures or videos about sex?
Me: That's good because that wouldn't be appropriate.
K: I know.
Me: What can you do if you're uncomfortable? Do you know that you don't have to keep playing the game or can ask your friends to do something different.
Me: That uncomfortable feeling is the Holy Ghost telling you that you need to do something else.
Me: Sometimes it's hard to tell your friends you don't feel comfortable, but you can always say you don't want to do something and suggest another game or idea.
K: Yeah. I can try that.
Note: We have talked a lot about choosing good friends. This particular friend moved away this week. K recognized that he wasn't a great friend, but wasn't sure how to end the friendship. He still missed him because he was a friend, but we've talked about other kids in his class that he might be able to make friends with and how to decide who might make a good friend.