I’ve gotten these sorts of questions in the past couple of months from various readers, so I thought I’d round up some representative ones and give it a go:
From a parish priest:
I hope you are well. I am planning a discussion with some parents who are looking for some guidance on how to raise their kids with the truth about marriage in our current situation. [The subject line of the email was “Parenting in a post-Obergefell* world.]
I was wondering if you have any particular advice or things to read on this issue.
God bless you and your family.
*Obergefell is the Supreme Court decision that upheld “right to same-sex marriage” laws in this country.
From a mother:
Hi Auntie Leila,
Can I pester you for some specifics on how to explain to my girls all about (ahem) “growing up” stuff? … You know what I mean. Marriage. Sex. Everything that surrounds it emotionally and spiritually. What makes this harder is that I didn’t get it right in my own life, not by a long shot. <insert ghastly history here>
You know? I mean, I’m a Christian *now*….but there’s so much baggage.
I thought it was going to be hard a few years ago to have these conversations, but now, with the explosion of just everything — everything! — being okay in our bent culture, it feels like trying to open a door against a hurricane. I mean, I know this is not all up to me and my husband, but even we aren’t on the same page with some things…
… I’m not without inner gumption. And I know that at a certain point on these issues, after we’ve done our duty, we give our children over to God’s protection as they go off to college, etc…. But I feel like what used to be swimming against the tide is now swimming against a tsunami wave. (Maybe all parents feel this way. But it really feels like how the world sees these matters is inexplicable.)
Thanks for any thoughts/resources/encouragement you may have.
From another mom:
I am leading a small group of young couples with small children from our parish we are discussing the incorporation of Theology of the Body into the upbringing of our children. I’m not sure if you’ve already posted about this, but in your experience, what have been some good age-appropriate answers to questions like “where do babies come from”? and age-appropriate discussions of their bodies and anatomy? We want to preserve their innocence, but we also don’t want them to be ignorant and learn things from their friends on the playground down the line (like some of us did!). We are considering two age groups: babies until about age 5, and elementary age, from about 5-9 or 10. Thank you!
The answer isn’t an easy “get this program/book for your child and you’ll be good.” The answer will likely get you in trouble with all sorts of people — including probably the bishop!
I wrote out my answer and Crisis Magazine published it today. It’s called A Family-Friendly Guide to Sex Education. Go on over there to read it!
Then come back here and we’ll talk. I’ll answer questions in the comments, because over here we like to talk things out, don’t we?
(And may I ask you to please share the important encouragement for families to, in the words of Pope Saint John Paul II, “become what you are!” — Thank you!)