Only four days to the release of Full Quiver Publishing’s new book on talking to your kids about sex entitled Growing Up in God’s Image by Carolyn Smith! Here is the introduction to this resource that should be on every parent’s bookshelf:
“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
(1 Corinthians 12:7)
It’s been many years since that first talk with my oldest daughter about the facts of life, but I remember it very well. Like most moms, I was a bit nervous and consternated over what to say. Actually, I remember resenting that I had to talk with her so soon. I felt pressured because many of the children at school were already “knowledgeable.” Hearing something from a classmate was the last thing I wanted to happen. I didn’t want her to hear about “sex.” I wanted her to hear about the beauty of God’s gift of love. I was getting ready to tell her about a very special and holy love, the love that existed between her father and me. My husband, Jim, is truly God’s gift to me. So I went to the Source of the gift and asked Him, “Lord, what do you want me to say to her?”
I felt certain God wanted me to start at the beginning with Him. After all, He is Love itself. All love, especially this love, comes from Him. God created us to love Him and to love each other; therefore we should talk about His creation of Adam and Eve and His plan for marriage from the very beginning. What we have today is nothing new. It has existed since the beginning of time. And, in the One that we image, it has always existed! Thus, this theme became the beginning of the “facts of life” talk.
The second theme came to me many years later while away with my husband for a weekend. The gift came during Mass between the consecration and the communion. After Mass, I couldn’t wait to tell Jim! It left me absolutely in awe that God has given to married people a love that resembles His own in the Eucharist!
I was then able to share this with my fifth daughter, (and the sixth, seventh, and eighth) when I talked to her about the “facts of life.” Her reaction was everything a mom could hope for. She looked up at me and said in wonder, “Wow, THAT is really neat!”
The third theme talks about marriage as a sacrament. What God intended from the very beginning of creation was elevated to a new level of sanctity by His Son. God is intimately present to every couple through the sacrament. He is the very Center of their life and love.
The first time I was inclined to share all of this came after a call from a friend. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned that it was time to talk to her oldest daughter. She had tied herself up in knots wondering what to say. I told her that I’d done it five times already and would be glad to share with her what I do, if she wished. So we set a time and she came to my house — very nervous. But, what a thrill it was for me to watch her leave a little while later, not only at peace, but excited and anxious to talk with her daughter.
She called me later to tell me that it went great. But, she wanted more. She told me that I should and must write it down in a way that would help lots of people, just like it helped her. She said that there is such a need for this, especially in today’s world. (The ‘funny’ thing was that my husband had also strongly suggested the same thing several times already, including that very morning. The Spirit can be such a “pest!”)
So, my purpose is exactly that — to help! And, if it helps you, thank the Holy Spirit! It is His gift to us all!
In addition, my husband, Jim, very generously contributed the section, “Talking With Your Son,” for fathers to use based on what he covered with our sons.
There is no doubt in my mind that God has willed this. He wants parents to sit with their children and tell them about love. He has entrusted our children, His children, to us, not to the schools, and certainly, not to the state. There are others, such as pastors and teachers, who can lend a valuable hand when needed. They give assistance when we ask for it, but they can never take our place.
We need to be reminded and our children need to hear that nothing on this earth is separate from God. When somebody draws a picture or writes a story, we see a part of that person in their work. This is most true of God. He is the Author of it all and so we see a part of Him in every form of creation. Because He created human beings above all the rest and actually made us in His likeness, He should be the most visible in us! Just as He once did, He still comes into our world through the family.
You will find that as you and your children use this book together, you will be seeing God’s plan for each of us as male and female and God’s plan for marriage and family just as he intended from the very beginning of creation. You will see it as sacramental and holy, an image of God Himself and a reflection of His love for us. In very simple words, this is the message John Paul II conveyed in his Theology of the Body. Of paramount importance to his papacy was that all of God’s people answer the universal call to holiness, especially through their vocations in life. Most of us are called to the married life, but all of us depend on the sacrament of matrimony for our very existence and formation. If we want holy men and women serving God in this world according to His purpose, we must begin with holy families.
In our world, the meaning of family and its value in society has been lost. I pray for its conversion.
To pre-order Growing Up in God’s Image, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2012 Carolyn Smith and Full Quiver Publishing