In conjunction with the release of Hearts at Home newest book 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex by Bill and Pam Farrel, this week has been dedicated to equipping parents to talk to their kids about sex.
Yesterday, we discussed leaving a TradeMark on your kids’ hearts with Traditions and Memories. These are proactive moments aimed at helping your son or daughter eventually make great choices when it comes to love, dating, marriage and sex (hopefully in that order!) We shared about Traditions yesterday, so today we will dialogue about Memories- those once-in-a-life-time special events!
Often memory making involves Rites of Passage, or special days that mark a moment. Jill and I share a long list of ideas for both sons and daughters in our book Got Teens? For example, you can mark their double digit birthday (11), or entering their teen years (13), or the day you allow them to date, drive, or depart home for college or the military!
Often these Rites of Passage are gender specific:
• Modern Day Knight celebration is when you as a parent prepare a son to become an “adult” then celebrate this marker with a party, often inviting friends and family. Since we had all sons, our celebration was a “Walk into Manhood”. One son, a quarterback, invited mentors to the football field for a walk up and down the field sharing wisdom for manhood. We followed that with a BBQ. Another son, who loved his truck, had a “Drive into Manhood” at a race track and mentors walked the race track and poured wisdom into his heart. The last was an “On Target for Manhood” held at a shooting range accompanied by dinner. What does your son enjoy? How can you tie stepping into manhood with the things he enjoys?
• Modern Day Princess party: In our book, Raising a Modern Day Princess, Doreen Hanna and I share numerous ideas to mark a teen girls’ transition into being a grown up, from a simple tea with her mentors to a Sweet 16 celebration but with a Biblical, meaningful twist. Often girls enjoy these parties together, as a group they can go through Becoming a Modern Day Princess girls journal, and all the parents can pitch in to celebrate, bless and pray for their daughters.
Another resource we recommend to you that we developed as youth pastors, and then also used with our own kids is the Teen Relationship Contract. At age 11 or 12, each of our tweens completed their first contract (a Bible study and Q and A workbook they fill in), and they were rewarded with a dinner out with mom and dad. (This dinner often included more dialogue and discussions on love, sex and relationships). Each year we would then take each son out solo for a meal and they/we could add more privileges to the contract, ask questions, make adjustments, raise accountability, etc—whatever they needed to be more successful in the guy-guy relationship area. (You can download a FREE copy of the relationship contract as well as other helpful teen contracts here on Jill’s website!)
This might all seem like some WORK on your part, but we talk, plan, pray, and prepare because it does make a difference!
To close our our week, I want to share how making memories with our kids and answering their tough questions is making a difference in my life and the next generation, too!
For me (Pam), the pay off is the beautiful, God-loving women my oldest two sons have married. Those wedding days were the precious dividends for the investment of all the late night meaningful conversations (and some painful days of “restriction” to help them stay on course). It is precious to watch your kids find, “the one my heart loves” (Song of Solomon 3:4) – God’s best mate for them. But it is really the words of my daughter in laws themselves that bring tears to my eyes because somehow in partnering with God and doing things with heavenly values in mind, Bill and I ended up with three sons who are leaders who love God—and love their wives well.
And from my daughter’s in law:
Hannah: “I don’t think I can put the payoffs into one quote, It would take a [book] to summarize the benefits of being married to a Farrel. For our anniversary, I came up with 84 things that I respected about Brock. One for each month we’ve been married. What’s crazy is that it was EASY to come up with that many things!”
Caleigh: “Marrying a man who values his relationships as his top priority is the biggest blessing I could ever ask for! Zach tells me almost every day that he wants to make an impact on anyone that comes in his life. He follows this by saying, “As a couple, I want us to make that same impact on every couple we come in contact with! It is our goal to show people our love for one another and our passion to have such a STRONG relationship!’”
What you do daily and deliberately with your children as they grow and how you answer their questions, all that work– it can have a precious payoff for you and your children’s future families!
What about you? Is there something your parents did that had made a difference in your marriage? If you have married children, what payoff have you seen from the investment you made in leading your kids intentionally?