It’s the INGREDIENT List That Matters!

Re-posting one of my articles from 2010, because it’s a good one…  :-)

It’s pretty standard practice for consumers to look at the “Nutrition Facts” label before they buy groceries.  We look at grams of fat, saturated fat, number of calories, carbohydrates, sodium content, etc.  I know I always did.  I’d try to avoid the high-fat items and the items loaded with sodium.  Besides, that’s what we’re taught from “nutrition experts” and from our 9th grade health class.  I’d always opt for the low fat/ no fat mayo’s, dressings, chocolate (HA!), cereal, etc.  Then at home, I’d eat my fat-free items limitlessly “knowing” that I was protecting my arteries and heart from all those fats.  Boy was I wrong!  There’s quite a few flaws in that mentality.

I couldn’t care less about what the sodium, carbs, calories, or grams of fat are now… because I’m buying things with wholesome ingredients that I know are good for me.

In the quest to make our foods with the perfect appearance, the perfect texture in our mouths, the perfect taste to the American palate, and at a price that’s cheaper than their competitor, manufacturers are putting in truckloads of chemically manufactured ingredients, most of which aren’t even edible if eaten solo.  Who really wants to eat potassium sorbate?  Anyone?

I am fully convinced that it’s not really the “Nutrition Facts” that are destroying our health, it’s the INGREDIENT LIST!!!

Looking at the “Nutrition Facts” alone is not the best indicator as to how nutritious our food is going to be.  Here’s an example of one item…

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:  368
Calories from Fat:  282
Total Fat:  34 grams; 52% DV (Recommended Daily Value)
Saturated Fat:  5 grams; 24% DV

Before I tell you what this is, would you eat it?  I mean, in this ONE serving, we are getting 52% of our daily recommended amount of FAT!?  Aren’t you outraged?  Well, you shouldn’t be.  It’s an avocado, 1 cup pureed!  On a side note, if you are buying nutritious foods, there’s no need to pay regard to the “Recommended Daily Value” percentages.  I ate 3 avocados for lunch the other day and didn’t think twice about it!

Here’s another one…

Nutrition Facts:  Serving Size:  1 Tbsp
Calories:  120
Calories from Fat:  120
Total Fat:  14 grams
Saturated Fat:  12.5 grams; 63% DV

Wow, 12.5 grams of saturated fat in ONE Tablespoon!!  Ordinarily, we’d think “yikes.”  But in this case, the fat is so great and so extraordinarily healthy, we should go back for seconds… and thirds!  It’s coconut oil!  I’ll blog more about this superfood later, but the stuff has MEGA health benefits.  The saturated fat in this oil will be greatly appreciated by your body, it’ll get eaten up and used in every way possible to maximize it’s amazing health benefits!

The thing is, GOOD fats actually help you LOSE weight!  Whereas the fats from hydrogenated oils (and sugars from high fructose corn syrup and others) can make you gain like crazy.  Some of these fake “ingredients” are messing with our metabolism and body processes so much, they are inhibiting us from having a healthy weight and a healthy life.  They are one of the reasons why diseases “run” in nearly every family.  I can tell you from my own personal experience that I am at the best weight I’ve ever been in my entire life right now and some days I eat 4-5 Tablespoons of coconut oil, or more!

The real “Nutrition Fact” is that the ingredient list is what can really make or break your health.

Flashlight Hide and Seek

Want to have a blast bonding with your children!?  We have had SO much fun playing this recently!

Flashlight Hide and Seek!

Give each family member a flashlight (can rotate when it’s their turn to count).  When it gets dark outside, turn off all the lights in the house.  Have a couple of people close their eyes and count so that the other family members can hide.  Parents have to hide too!  The seekers can shine their flashlight to find the ones that are hiding.

We like to yell “Gotcha” when we find someone!  Everyone busts out laughing and smiling!

It’s also VERY fun to play this outside when it gets dark!

A side benefit of playing this is empowering your child not to be afraid of the dark.  One of my boys normally won’t go downstairs alone in the dark.  But somehow when we play this game he has absolutely no fear and will explore the whole house with his flashlight!

Beginner Bible Verses for Ages 2 and Up

Here are some simple Bible verses you can have your child start to memorize!  Start with just one at a time and keep adding as they are ready for more!

  • If sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Proverbs 1:10
  • Let all your things be done with charity. 1 Corinthians 16:14
  • He that hath the son, hath life. 1 John 5:12
  • Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Isiah 55:6
  • Hear instruction, and be wise. Proverbs 8:33
  • Honor thy father and thy mother. Deuteronomy 5:16a
  • For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. Psalm 38:18
  • The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10b
  • Seek and ye shall find. Matthew 7:7
  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. James 1:17a
  • A wise man will hear and learn. Proverbs 1:5a
  • A wholesome tongue is a tree of life. Proverbs 15:4a
  • Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
  • And God said, let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3
  • Be ye kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Ephesians 4:32
  • But with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26b
  • I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Romans 1:16
  • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Proverbs 3:5a
  • It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35b
  • For whatsoever a man soeth, that shall he also reap. Galations 6:7
  • But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control). Galations 5:22-23
  • Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13b
  • Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice,… and shout for joy. Psalm 32:11a
  • And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:8
  • O taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8a
  • Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart. Psalm 31:24a
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7
  • Depart from evil, and do good. Psalm 37:27a
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God. Psalm 51:10a
  • All things work together for good to them that love God. Romans 8:28
  • For the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth. Genesis 1:1
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10a
  • All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6

Click here for 11 Tips on How to Teach Your Child to Memorize Bible Verses

11 Tips for Hiding God’s Word in Your Child’s Heart!

I remember the first Bible verse I gave my son to see if he could say it… “Seek, and ye shall find.” (Matthew 7:7).

It was right when he was learning to talk in phrases, right around age two. Little fella impressed me big time, he had it memorized and walked around saying it in no time.

He’s now 6 ½ years old at about 165 verses memorized! My four year old knows pretty much all those same ones also! I don’t think I ever realized the potential for young children to learn so much and memorize so much! Wow! And truth be told, it’s been a piece of cake to help them memorize all these verses! Children absorb so much if you just teach them!

How have they done it? How do you teach your children to memorize Bible verses?

1). Start when they are young! Two-year-olds can start to learn very simple, short verses/ excerpts.

2). I don’t make them memorize the location where it’s found in the Bible. That’s just not as important to me as them knowing the actual Scripture words themselves.

3). Introduce the verse by telling them it’s a brand new one, to listen well. Have them repeat it after you, only 2-3 words at a time. Once they are comfortable with that, have them repeat it after you 4-5 words at a time. Then see if you can start the verse and they finish the whole thing. Continue to say this verse over and over for the next 1-3 days or until they know it well.

4). Only add one verse at a time and each week review ones your child already knows. So there are never any “old” verses, they stay fresh in their memory from the time they learn them until the time they leave home! Keep reviewing ones they know! Never stop!

5). Make them visible. All of my children’s memory verses are on index cards taped to our wall! I know that if I put them away, we won’t say them nearly as much. You might find your child just standing at the wall one day by himself reading them without being asked! It will melt your heart!

6). Start with easy ones. (See My Post:   “Beginner Bible Verses for Ages 2 and Up”)

7). Practice them anytime, anywhere.  Say the newest verse(s) as well as a few review ones every single day, whether in the car, at the store, at bedtime, during play time, at the park, etc.

8). Make songs out of them. A LOT of my children’s memory verses have some kind of rhythm to them that we created ourselves! Singing makes them more fun and easier to remember! These ones are my children’s favorites!

9). Keep it fun. I let my boys jump on our rebounder (indoor trampoline) while saying their verses. Or I give them a jar of marbles and for each verse they say, they get to take one marble out of my jar and fill up their empty jar. Or they get to jump off the couch each time they say a verse. Make games so that practicing is fun!

10). Keep growing and adding and challenging your child to learn more and more! What a precious gift to give your child!  Before they leave your care for an adult life of their own, they can have 100 – 1,000 verses of Scripture hidden in their heart! Wow! If you do nothing else as a parent, this alone is an amazing gift to give!

11). Lastly, don’t forget to discuss the verses and what they mean. Give real examples and break them down so they understand them well. When you experience something in life that could tie in with a verse that they know, talk about it! SHOW them the application.

***An added bonus is that YOU will learn all of these incredible verses and they’ll be hidden in YOUR heart too!!  Shhhh… That’s been my most favorite part of teaching my children Bible verses!

A Peek Inside an Unconventional Family

A family that is near and dear to me who have been my health mentors for the past 6 1/2 years wrote an e-book!  Eeek!!  Actually, the father wrote the e-book.  :-)

It is unique because it is a compilation of their whole life… what they do day-in-and-day-out.  What they eat and why, how they exercise and why, how they celebrate holidays and why (which is very different than the typical American ways!).  I gained much inspiration and snagged ideas that I am now implementing at our house!  Including exercise things they do, their great breakfasts’ (this has revolutionized our mornings!), their Bible reading, water, pineapple, asparagus, eating small bites and chewing well, improving your vision without glasses, and much more!

Click here for the blog post linking to his FREE e-book.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book…

“There is no way to overstate the impact of the resurrection of Christ. It was a cataclysmic shock to the forces of wickedness. They … will … never … recover.  Glory to God in the highest! The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus was a triumph so marvellous, so profound, that we can enjoy spending eternity in growing realization of the beauty and majesty of this one event.”

“You may be imagining Easter bunnies and eggs. That is one celebration we shun completely.  Easter just happens to be around the same time of year as the Resurrection. This, and Halloween, are all but removed from the days of the year, for our family.”
(They DO celebrate Ressurection Sunday with a feast, footwashing, communion, Bible passages on the Passion, etc.  But they do NOT do bunnies and eggs, etc.  The Ressurection is what that holiday is all about, so I love this!!)

I REALLY liked this excerpt!!…

“I have read about the prevalence of wasted time. Success seminars talk about how to detect all of the time that you are not using effectively. They refer to how often we check the news, or gab with the co-workers, or day dreaming about an upcoming holiday, etc. I cannot relate. Maybe I am wired differently, but I don’t think that is it. I can remember a time in my life when I did waste time. That is long gone. When I am at work, I am 100% driven to make the best use of my time for my employer and for my career. Yes, I take breaks, but never in excess. Plus, the breaks themselves are part of the optimum productivity.

Some people enjoy doing nothing. Boring. I get enough rest when I am asleep.   When I am awake, I have too much to do. I cannot afford to be idle.

You may have noticed some missing activities from our schedule. We don’t have a television. We don’t have time for it. The only time we have had a television is when my wife’s grandmother gave us her old one, because we didn’t have one. We sold it. When we got married, we had tentatively put off getting a television, so we could decide later if we really needed one. We decided not to watch television, or consume other secular media.  This is disinformation overload! The stress and vexation from listening to a bunch of humanists is enough to send you to an early grave … slowly and painfully. If you avoid drinking from this cesspool, then you will have more productive years in your ministry and
career, reducing the time spent in a nursing home.

Also, television has been proven to be an income suppressant. Really. There is a significantly strong correlation between income and television watching. The more you watch, the less you earn.

Click on over to get your own copy of their e-book!! 

Praying With Your Children

By reading the Bible you’ll get many ideas on things to pray for.  There are specific things the Bible tells us to pray for.  There are also many other wise things that the Bible mentions, things that would also be good to pray for.

We have a prayer wall going up our stairs where we have people’s specific names so that we remember to pray for them  (friends, family, missionaries, ministries, ministry leaders, etc).  Specific prayer requests we receive get written on an index card and added to our wall!  When I tell someone we’ll pray for them, I want to be dependable and not forget.  This is our way of remembering.  Every time we go up or down our stairs, we are reminded of who/ what to pray for.  We also have pictures and names of specific orphans so that we can pray for them.
DSCN8241Besides specific people and their needs, here are some of the things I pray with my children (we have most of these items written on paper cut-outs of hot air balloons- a fun children’s way of showing how our prayers are being lifted up!)…

-We pray that God would help us to love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, the greatest commandment of all.

-We pray that God would help us to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, the second greatest commandment of all.

-We pray for the fatherless and widows.

-We pray for wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual understanding. (Proverbs)

-We pray a prayer from one of our children’s books, Trusty Tried and True“If someone’s in need today, please send us their way.”  Praying for God to use us that day.

-We pray through the armor of God.  That we would be strong warriors for Christ.  That we would have on all of God’s armor.  (Ephesians 6:11-18)

-We pray that we would have the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (humbleness), and temperance (self-control).  Each one of these items are very important so usually we will just pray for 1-2 at a time.

-We pray that God would help us to obey.  Obedience is a big deal!

-We pray that God would help us to be content with such things as we have. (Hebrews 13:5)

-We pray that God would grow us in character (initiative, diligence, being dependable, truthful, hard working, kindness, etc).

-We pray through the Beatitudes.  We pray that we would hunger and thirst after righteousness, be merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, etc.  (Matthew 5:1-12)

-We pray through Philippians 4:8- that God would help us only think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

-We pray that all people in all nations would learn about Jesus and the Gospel message.

-We have our children pray for their future spouse, the he or she would learn young to love God with their whole heart, that they would grow in character and be kept pure.

-We pray that we would have fruitful works.  (Colossians 1:10)

-We pray that many people would answer God’s call and be a laborer for Christ.  (Luke 10:2)

What about you?  What things do you teach your children to pray for specifically?! 

College By Age 12

I read an e-book a while back titled, “College By Twelve:  The Harding Family True Story.”  I don’t agree with everything in this book, but I sure like their idea of accelerated homeschooling!

The Harding Family has ten children.  They homeschol and their oldest six children have started college by age 12.  They start with just 1-2 entry-level classes.  They take their SAT’s/ ACT’s around age 11 or so, and they take it as many times as they need to in order to get a high score for college entry.

Their first son started his Algebra 1 book at age 7.

“Their 12-year-old, Seth, attends Faulkner University and is studying the Middle Ages.”

“The four oldest Harding children have all graduated from college and are pursuing lucrative careers.”

“Heath Harding, now 17, was the youngest student ever to graduate from Huntingdon College. He graduated at 15 went on to obtain a master’s degree in computer science.”

“His sister Serennah, 22, is the youngest female physician in the U.S., and is pursuing a career as a Navy doctor.”

“Rosannah, 20, has been working as an architect since she was 18. She credits homeschooling and studying on her own for her success.”

“We just [studied] at our own pace,” she told reporters. “Rather than a class of 30, we were a class of three. So, we each did it at our own pace and we just accelerated.”

“His sister Hannah, 25, is now designing spacecraft as a mechanical engineer and holds two masters degrees, in math and computer science.”

Their father, Kip Harding, says “It’s not genes.  All children are a national treasure, and all parents can do this.”  He believes if you just love on your children well and let them excel, they will.

Accelerated homeschool isn’t for just a select few, it can be an option for most children!

“It’s funny how we give ourselves permission to try something new once we have heard an “expert’s” opinion encouraging us to do so.”  Kip had heard of another family that starts Algebra at age 10 and a light bulb went off.  Why can’t my children start Algebra whenever they’re ready, why does there have to be an age attached to their grade level?   

Public schools are more concerned with age limits than they are academic ability.  You don’t have to follow their methods and ideas!  In fact, you probably shouldn’t!

Some of the Harding Family methods:
-Love BIG.  Nurture your children well.

-Focus on character.

-Start each day with Bible first.

-Next do math.

-Write every single day.  You can correct your child’s grammar and spelling as you go.

-Have your child read every single day.  Read history, science, biographies, and anything else of interest that is wholesome.

Well, my lightbulb went off also after reading their book.  Why does my 6-year-old have to do first grade math?  So I started teaching him new things and before long, first grade math was too easy for him.  We cruised through second grade math in no time.  Now, still 6 years old, he’s in 3rd grade math books.  Why hold your child back?  If they’re ready to learn more, GO FOR IT!!

About the Family and Their Book

I got interrupted from typing this post by my 1-year-old needing to be put on the potty.  Reminds me…  Why wait for some magical age to put your child on the potty for the first time ever?  Start when they’re a newborn and it will never be foreign to them.  They’ll be completely potty trained in their own time.  :-)

I’m Not SuperWoman

I did set a lot of goals this year and I am hitting most of them so far.  Some days I feel like a total champ.  Yah for those!  And others I feel like I barely got out of my pj’s!  Oh wait, I’m still in my pj’s and it’s 3:15pm!  Lest you think I’m not human, here’s some things I DON’T do.

I first heard of the idea of having a “don’t-do” list rather than a “to-do” list from MoneySavingMom.  I really like the idea, it’s so freeing!  I don’t have to keep up with Mrs. Jones, especially in these areas!  No guilt!

I don’t sew.  Like… ever.

I don’t do adult-level crafts.  I do children’s ones, but no scrapbooking, quilt making, gorgeous decorating, etc.

I don’t really watch TV.  We do watch DVD’s as a family and I do have a collection of DVD’s I let my children watch.  But even with our own collection of DVD’s, I don’t spend much time at ALL glued to the tube.

We don’t do more than one outside activity/ sport at a time.  This isn’t per person.  This is total, as a family.  We do things as a family so when one is signed up, we’re all signed up.

I don’t hunt down deals like I used to.  If I see a great deal, of course I’ll consider it.  But I don’t go scurrying around for the best price as much as I used to.

I only use coupons that easily cross my path.  I don’t spend more than 3 minutes a week on coupons.  If it requires more than 3-4 clicks to get it to my printer, I skip it.

I don’t do Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, etc.  And as of a couple of weeks ago I would have said I don’t do Facebook either.  But I finally gave in on that one and joined.

I don’t go shopping for fun.  I dislike malls for a multitude of reasons (mostly the immodesty and immorality), but I also gain no satisfaction in shopping for fun.  Actually, I need someone to help me go shop for an outfit every now and then because honestly, I find it a total drag to try on clothes and figure out what to get.  (And remember, I don’t sew!)  I keep a shopping list on my fridge and get in and out of stores as quickly as possible.  Perhaps this has something to do with having four children age 6 and under, who knows?!  :-)

I don’t iron clothes.  I can count on one hand the number of times a year I handwash something.  And since I refuse to use bad chemicals in my home, I really don’t treat stains either!  We buy most of our clothes at garage sales and thrift stores.  So if something gets torn or stained, it either becomes play clothes or it’s out the door.

Most days, I don’t have dinner ready on time.  I’m so thankful for hubby coming home and helping me get food on the table!  We do eventually eat.  :-)

Okay, funny story time… I’ve been babysitting our sweet neighbor friend who is 6 years old and very bright.  This morning when she came over, she asked me why I had moved our kitchen table near the kitchen sink.  I told her I was washing dishes and since my counters were full I needed some place to set the ones I wash.  She said, “Your counters are always full every time I come over!”  Haha, I cracked up laughing.  I don’t know, I don’t want to admit to that one, but she’s probably right.  We get behind on dishes often.  She said her counters are always cleared off.  She must have SuperWoman for a Mama!  :-)

Final Post on Talking With Your Children About Sex

Instead of dividing this up into two more posts, here’s a long one.  This is just such an important topic and I didn’t want to leave anything out!  I hope this series has inspired you to be open and honest with your children.  To build a close-knit relationship with them so that they will feel comfortable asking you about anything.  Click here to start on Part One of this series.

The following quotes are from Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young:

“We need to help equip our sons to keep their thoughts away from sexual sin, and that will mean training them to keep their eyes away from the imagery that surrounds them.  Job the righteous said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how can I look on a maiden?”  (Job 3:11)  Fathers will need to be diligent to do the same; if Dad is ogling the young woman sunning herself on the beach, how can his teenaged son (who at least still has the moral right to marry her!) be expected to discreetly watch for shrimp boats on the horizon instead?”

“First, it is clear that sexual immorality is sin, and indulging in lustful thoughts is sin as well.  It’s a basic rule but in our culture it has to be taught explicitly.”

“We’ve also taught our boys the Golden Rule applies here- we do to to others as we would want them to do to us.  Any young lady they meet is almost certainly going to be someone else’s wife (since only one will ultimately be their own).  How would they want someone to treat their future wife?  They shouldn’t do anything toward that young lady that they wouldn’t want to hear about their bride’s past.  That really clarifies it for a young man!”

“The Bible teaches us not to defraud one another in relationships.  Fraud is the practice of persuading someone to believe you have promised a thing which in fact you are unable or unwilling to deliver.  how about winning the heart and affections of someone that you are not seriously considering for marriage?  Isn’t this what happens in the usual teenage dating situation?  We teach our sons that the Biblical pattern expects them to be able to support a wife before they go out seeking one, which means they won’t be “going steady” as 14-year-olds.  They have a responsibility to guard the hearts of the young ladies they know, and not entangle them in a romantic web which frankly means very different things to a girl than it does to a boy.”

“A barber once asked one of our middle-schoolers, “Do you have a girlfriend?”  Our son answered with mild surprise, “No, I can’t support a wife yet!”  We’ve taught our boys that the Bible places responsibility on the man to support his family, and the Biblical counsel is, Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.  (1 Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 24:27)  Don’t go building romantic attachments when marriage is still well out of the question.”

And the final notes from Straight Talk by Josh McDowell…

“Speak up.  If you don’t like a TV show, CD, video, pair of jeans, or doll, say why.  A conversation with her will be more effective than simply saying, “No, you can’t buy it or you can’t watch it.”  Support campaigns, companies, and products that promote positive images of girls.  Complain to manufacturers, advertisers, television and movie producers, and retail stores when products sexualize girls.”

“Use teachable moments in your daily life.  Something on TV, seeing a pregnant woman, hearing real stories about real people, seeing nude pictures, wanted posters, homosexuals you see in public, discovering a condom, sex misinformation, wedding albums, animal behavior at the zoo or elsewhere, school assemblies, sporting events, practice, school plays, and music.  Instead of dismissing negative information, make a conversation out of it and use it as an opportunity to teach and mold your childWhen you see something that doesn’t uphold your values, point it out to your child.  Make it a conversation.  Be your child’s cultural interpreter.”

“For example say, “I feel sad about some news I just heard.  My cousin’s son has to drop out of school to get a job.  He and his girlfriend had sex, and now she’s pregnant.  He will have to work and pay child support instead of finishing his education.  What do you think about that?”  These real stories provide excellent teachable moments.”

“In January 2012 the lives of Melissa, Tom, and their children changed forever.  The police showed up at their house to interview their oldest son, 13-year-old Kyle.  Under questioning, Kyle admitted to being addicted to pornography and to have crossed sexual boundaries with two of his siblings and a little boy who visited their house often.  Melissa and Tom were utterly shocked.  Their son was taken from their house that day and put into juvenile detention.  He was charged with three counts of sexual abuse, one of them a felony.”  It happened to their family and unless you are a super-involved, proactive parent, it can happen to yours.

“Definitely monitor all of your child’s internet usage.  But do it with them, not sneaking behind their backs.  Make it a relationship instead of a rule.”

“You must buy a quality internet filter for every internet device your family owns.  It is unwise to have Internet access without some form of blocking and filtering device.  Consider putting every single family member (including both parents!) on an “accountability program” where emails of inappropriate usage gets emailed to the accountability partner.”

“Choices have consequences.  And when your kids choose not to have sex before marriage and then remain faithful in marriage, they thankfully miss out on a lot of pain and heartache.”

“Does it concern you that so many young people lack sexual boundaries?  Have you been in a mall and watched how some 12-, 13-, or 14-year-old kids act?  It’s as if no one has taught them moral boundaries or how a boy should treat a girl?  The most effective way to communicate how your son or daughter should treat the opposite sex is by modeling love and respect within your own marriage.”

“One of the best ways to teach your young daughter how to respect and treat the opposite sex is for her dad to take her on dates.  This will also help her know what standards to expect.  Tell your daughter, “If a young man doesn’t treat you this way, then you need to walk away from him.”  Open the door for your daughter, dress up, be very polite, talk kindly, and model the way that a man should respect a young woman.  This will set the bar high for her future dates.  Dates with your daughter can be a behind the scenes way of making sure your daughter doesn’t feel pressed to do anything that she isn’t comfortable with and to help her avoid the pressure to cross her boundaries.  The same holds true for sons.  Moms can take them out and model how a lady acts.”

“The relationship you have with your kids is one of the most important keys to helping them say no to sexual involvement.  If the relationship is good, if you really connect with them lovingly, your kids are far more likely to have a healthy self-image and realize the boundaries you set for them are to provide for and protect them.  When you instruct your kids within the context of a loving relationship you are helping them develop a healthy self-image and giving them added strength to stand strong in the midst of a destructive culture.”

“As much as this might get our stomachs flipping, being available for any question your child asks is important.  If your children are asking you the questions, then you are in a position to guide them.  They key here is to be as calm as possible with any questions you kids might ask and be honest and candid with your answers.”

“Be an askable parent.  Let your children know they can talk to you about anything, anytime.  Even if you feel uncomfortable with the questions, try to not let your kids sense it.”

“Be a “Listening” Parent  When we listen to our children, it tells them they are important and we want to hear what they have to say.  Many parents say they want to be good listeners, but their kids just don’t talk a lot to them.  This is where asking them questions can get them talking.  Asking them questions can show them respect and confirm that you value their input.  It can let you know how much they know or don’t know about a subject, help to clarify statements, and help you evaluate your child’s maturity.”

“Be a Parent With Values.  Your kids make decisions about their sexual behavior based on their values and by and large, they get their values from you.  The following is just a list of possible value areas to consider in your family and discuss…
sex in marriage,
children are a gift from the Lord,
created in the image of God,
the Bible is God’s truth for us,
sex is beautiful,
dating or courtship,
how we dress,
God is love,
love one another,
love people vs. loving things,
a wedding.”

“Be a Parent Who Befriends Your Kids’ Friends.  How do you want to be remembered by your children’s friends?  Get involved with your kids’ friends and choose to have a positive impact.  As you do, it can 1) make a statement to your child that people who are important to them are important to you.  2) It will put you in a position where your kids and their friends will want to communicate with you and listen to your opinions, which will most likely reduce negative peer pressure that your child’s friends will have on him or her.”

“Be a hero to your kids’ friends.  Take the time to talk to your child’s friends, let them know you care.  Take the time to get to know each child on your child’s sports teams and let them know you’ll be rooting for them.”

“Be a Parent Who Dreams with Your Kids.  Kids who feel they have a promising future are the most deliberate in preventing pregnancy… Hope is a great contraception.  When we champion our kids and dream their dreams it raises them to a whole new level of hope and they end up wanting to live up to high expectations.”

“Dream with your children and enter their worlds.  The sky is the limit in creative ways to communicate your unshakable support.”

The following notes are from How and When to Tell Your Kids About Sex by Stan and Brenna Jones:

“Sex education is never done.  You will think that you have already covered something, but if your child was not ready to hear it, it is as if you never said it.  Kids need to hear the most important lessons over and over again.  Repetition is critical.”

12 Principles of this book:

“Sex education  is the shaping of character.”

“Parents are the principal sex educators.”

“First messages are the most potent.”

“We should seize those teachable moments and become askable parents.”

“Stories are powerful teaching tools.”

“Accurate and direct, truthful messages are best.”

“Positive messages are more powerful than negative messages.”

“We must inoculate our children against destructive moral messages by teaching them.”

“Repetition is critical; repetition is really, really important.”

“Close, positive parent-child relationships are crucial.”

“Sexuality is not the most important thing in life.”

“Our God can forgive, heal, and redeem anything.”

Pray with your children.  Pray through the Ephesians 6:13-17 list of the armor of God, beseeching God to equip your kids.  Pray through Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit.  Pray through Matthew 5:1-12, the beatitudes of our Lord.  Such prayer can have a profound impact.  God works through prayer both to impact our children and to impact us.”

“You, the parents, are the most important influence on your child’s character.  Either you will be a haphazard and thoughtless teacher who gives little thought to what you are doing in your parenting, or you will be a prepared, thoughtful, responsible teacher.”

“We want our children to believe the following:”

-”They are loved.”

-”Their choices matter, they make a difference.  They are responsible for their actions and for the consequences.  We teach them this by the way we respect them and discipline them.”

-”The goal of life is not necessarily to be happy, but to love God and to become good in the way God intended.”

-”They are children of God, made in His image, and their sexuality is His gift to them, meant to serve beautiful and wonderful purposes.”

“How to handle sexual curiosity:  How do we respond when we find our children playing with their private areas, or playing this way with another child(ren)?  The most important principle is not to exaggerate the importance of the incident, but instead to use it as a teaching opportunity about the privacy of your child’s body and what a blessed gift and miracle that body is.  If you handle such an incident in a calm, positive, and reasonable fashion, it can be a constructive experience.  If you overreact, you run the danger of instilling in your children a deep sense of guilt or the sense that sexual interests and feelings are bad, and of pushing them away from you when they have questions or concerns about sexuality.”

“If your child doesn’t want to sit on Uncle Bob’s lap or hug an older cousin, stand behind them.  Praise the child for being polite but assertive.”

“Continue to remind your children that there are to be no secrets where their bodies are concerned.  Their bodies are private, a special gift from God.”

“How much information do you give your child?  Err on the side of providing too much information.  And give detailed, clear, and direct information.  We don’t mean indiscreet or lewd.  Avoid using language that is figurative, too technical, or obscure.  Typically, little damage is done by giving too much information if the information is true, sensitively described, and offered in a positive spirit.”

“Kids wonder what a penis is even for?  What is a vagina used for?  What do they do?  They are curious and they want to know the answer.  Talking about sex with your kids isn’t something you need to feel embarrassed or shy about.  A simple, “Sex is when the man’s penis fits inside the woman’s vagina.”  They may say, “Gross!” and that’s okay.”

“The parent can say, “You know what?  I like talking to you about this, and I’m glad that you want to know.  Would you please tell me when you have more questions so that I can talk more about it with you?  Sex is very beautiful, but a lot of people believe the wrong things about it, so you will hear other kids telling you really dumb and wrong stuff.  And TV shows many people who have the wrong ideas about sex.  I want to talk with you about it so that you will know God’s truth about sex.”

“Talk to your children early about sex- early elementary school- and then repeat and repeat the message in new forms as they move toward and through puberty.”

“You can tell your child, “A baseball glove is used to play baseball.  If you use it to go down to the pond and scoop mud, you are not using the glove very well.  And it is that way with God.  He gave sex to us as a gift.  If we don’t use the gift the way He wants, it’s like we are telling God we don’t like His gift, like we don’t love Him enough to use it just the way He wants us to.”

“The world will be repeating its messages about sexuality over and over to our children in movie after movie, joke after joke, television program and commercial after program and commercial.  On and on the sexual messages of the world will come at our children.  Our lessons cannot be offered to our children once for all, but must be renewed, revisited, and repeated over and over again.”

“One of the great dangers of the busyness of our lives, of our investment in careers, church, and everywhere but the family, is that we simply will not be there for our children, available to be close to them and enjoy them.  Build a relationship with your child that is grounded on encouragement and praise.  Mindful of their fragile sense of self at their pre-puberty age, take every opportunity to build your children up; communicate your confidence in them and your excited expectation for what life has in store for them.  It’s easy to let your child slip away in their late elementary years as they want to spend more time with friends, be more independent, and more difficult to communicate with.  To continue to build a close relationship, put effort and creative energy into the relationship.  Think of good opportunities to spend time with your child.”

“Praise your children when they ask questions, any questions, but especially questions about sexuality and relationships.  Acknowledge how threatening it can be to talk about such things.”

“Restrain your impatience to jump in and talk; give them time to develop their questions.  Attempt to provide a good answer to any question a child asks, regardless of how confusing the question is.  Often our discomfort leads us to hurry the child or demand clarification that the child cannot provide; this comes across as rejection or other negative reactions.”

Discourage early romance.  Given the realities today of when marriage tends to occur, parents should discourage early involvement in romance.  There is strong evidence that adolescents who start dating early are more likely to begin having sexual intercourse early.  Those who mature early are more likely to get into trouble with premarital sex than are “late bloomers.”  Because of the influence of peers, kids who are in groups that start dating early are at greater risk.  Early dating is not harmless.  (Elementary and middle school dating is not harmless).”

“Tell your stories.  Remember the power of stories.  One of the most helpful things you can do as a parent is to tell your stories to your kids.  Tell them of the ups and downs you experienced.  Tell them what the power of infatuation felt like when you were sure it was lifelong love.  Tell them about the obsessive way you wrote your flame’s name over and over, the way your whole day revolved around when he would call you, or the way you got an electric thrill to see her smile at you.  Tell them about your confusion and pain as a relationship died a lingering death.  Tell them about the agony of betrayal.  Tell them how your powerful feelings blinded you to his flaws and led you to exaggerate his perfections.  Do all this to give your children a wider range of experiences, namely your experiences, to serve as vantage points from which they can see their own experiences more clearly.”

“In their relationships with the other sex, teens will experience feelings of sexual attraction and have opportunities to learn how to handle those feelings rightly and glorify God in the process.  It’s a normal and good thing for them to feel sexual excitement for someone they care for.  But we must also tell them, again, that sexual purity requires discipline.”

Whew, you made it through this long series!  Any thoughts/ comments??

Straight Talk: Part Four

Are you enjoying all these notes on how/ why to talk to your children about sex?  I have learned so much!  Here are some more great tidbits from the McDowell’s book, Straight Talk With Your Kids About Sex.

“Sexual issues are not learned in a “big talk.”  It is, instead, an unfolding process with information given out in little chunks at a time.  Deal with issues and opportunities as they arise.  The best sex education is 30 seconds here, 1 minute there, 10 seconds here, 2 minutes and 45 seconds there, and so on, starting as young as possible.  When something comes up- step in, address it, and step back.  Don’t make a big deal out of it.  In our family, about half of all conversations we had with our children about sex were no more than about two minutes each time.”

“It’s not that we talked about it all the time in our family, but when it came up at the dinner table or in the car or before bed we simply talked about it.  It was just like other topics- just a normal part of our conversation.  This creates an environment where kids feel comfortable coming to the parents with questions and they can be the source of information.”

“The Bible is clear about the most effective way to teach truth to our children- Deuteronomy 6:7- teach them when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up.”

“You would never consider waiting to talk to your children about your faith in only “one big talk.”  You would lovingly and intentionally be sharing things about the Bible and God over time.  It is similar regarding sex.  We shouldn’t assume that “one big talk” will answer every question our children have about the subject.  Sex is a subject that must be examined early, often, and with honesty.”

“Pure and simple, if you don’t talk to your kids about sex, someone else will.  Your kids will gain an understanding about sex one way or another.  And the misinformation they receive can range from the unfortunate to the tragic.”

“Not talking to your kids about sex means they will learn it from other sources.  And if that source is the Internet, that opens them up to the over 5 million pornographic websites that are out there.”

“If we are the ones who reach our kids first with God’s design for sex, it will go a long way in insulating them from the negative impact of pornography, perverted morality, and the misinformation about sex.”

“Children by nature are curious- some more than others.  And there is something fascinating, mysterious, and intriguing about sex.  So the issue isn’t with our kids being too curious.  The problem occurs when their curiosity isn’t satisfied.”

“It is completely normal and natural for our kids to wonder about sex and want to have answers to their questions.  There is a real danger if we don’t respond to their curiosity.  Remember, they will get answers from somewhere or someone.  Curiosity about sex will not go away if it is never discussed.  In fact, avoiding the subject can make sex seem even more mysterious and exciting.  How a child’s curiosity is satisfied from 4 to 12 years of age often determines their sexuality from 12 to 18 years old.”

“When I (Dottie) would bathe my young children, I would routinely refer to body parts with their correct descriptions.  I made it a point to talk about private parts as calmly and deliberately as I did fingers, toes, and ankles.  This was an intentional decision to communicate a natural comfort level when discussing our bodies.  This honesty early on set the stage for relaxed discussions later.”

“A preschooler is content with vague sexual information such as “Babies grow inside mommies.”  But later on, there will be questions and curiosity about how the baby gets inside the mom’s tummy.  They may ask questions like “Does Mommy vomit up the baby?” Or “Does Daddy unzip Mommy’s tummy?”  Or “Does Mommy poop the baby out?”  The child is looking for simple, honest explanations.  One little boy believed that if a girl kissed him, that would make him pregnant.  He was so afraid of his great aunt!  Some pre-teens think that when you have sex you will pee out semen.  Some teens think you can get pregnant by having oral sex.  They need honest explanations from their parents.”

“Just because a teen or pre-teen has questions about how a girl gets pregnant, what condoms are for, or what oral sex is, that doesn’t mean they are planning to become sexually active.  It’s best to answer their questions without assuming that curiosity is a danger sign.  The danger sign is in not satisfying their curiosity with honest answers.”

“What About Using “Nicknames” for Body Parts?  When you use correct words like penis, testicles, vulva, or vagina, explain not only what they are but also what they do.  Your kids will find out sooner or later, and it’s becoming much sooner now because of the Internet.  You will want to become your child’s authority on what body parts he or she has and what they are called.  You don’t want it to be the Internet.”

“One of the top three things parents can do to help their children say “no” to sexual pressure is to not just share information or knowledge, but share accurate knowledge.”

“Research actually suggests that young people who are knowledgeable about sexuality and reproductive health are less likely to engage in early sexual activity.”

“If our children find that we as parents are not honest and accurate, they will lose trust in us and we will lose influence.  And count on it- our kids will often “Google” their questions on the Internet and compare the answers with the ones we give them.”

“Shouldn’t Certain Issues Be Off-Limits?  Some of the material our kids are seeing and reading is horrific.  Much of it is horrible and makes us uncomfortable.  Yet from the moment our children are born, we need to create an atmosphere of openness and approachability that makes any and all questions from them acceptable.  If you act repulsed or surprised or appear uncomfortable about your child’s question, it may be the last question he or she will ask.  No question should be off-limits.“

“The attitude that no questions are taboo will have a tremendous impact on your child’s understanding and behavior.  But you need to verbalize your openness.  Let them know they can ask you anything.”

“Children are very perceptive, and they will be able to tell if their parents are uncomfortable with the topic of sex.  If children sense that their parents are uncomfortable, they will be less likely to come to their parents with problems and questions later on.  Children might also be led to believe that sex is bad or wrong, or a taboo subject.”

“How Often Should I Talk to My Kids About Sex?  Since most young children can only take in small bits of information at any one time, it’s important to let a little time pass between discussions.  Ask your child what they remember about the previous discussion, this will help you correct any misconceptions and fill in missing facts.”

Straight Talk:  Final Post, Part Five