We have 3 boys and my middle one, Harrison, turned 4 recently. He is so excitable, energetic, fun, cranky, deliberate and fearless. When I think about what his future holds I’m filled with excitement, speculation, hope, expectation and also some trepidation. I’m scared he’ll end up struggling with the same junk I have. I’m fearful he’ll be unfaithful to his wife, assuming he marries. I’m even more concerned over the self-hate he might have to deal with from the shame of his behavior. So, along with my other 2 boys, I have begun the process of (hopefully) preparing him for the road ahead. Specifically, I’m trying to prepare him to not need porn, sex, etc. as a way to cope with life. Here’s how I’m approaching it…
The issue with using our sexuality sinfully is not a problem with sex. It is not about sex. It’s about what sex (and sexual things from lust and fantasy in the mind to the act itself) does to us emotionally. I ended up using my sexuality as a mood-altering drug, and further, as a way of coping with insignificance, inadequacy and a sense powerlessness. If I want my boys to avoid getting tangled up in the web of misusing their sexuality, I need to first address these underlying issues. Since I can’t reason with my 4 year old, and his understanding of himself is in part formed by the feedback he receives from me, I’ve decided to tell him what he needs to know about himself. The hope is that my words (reinforced by my actions towards him, of course) will sink into the deepest recesses of his heart and soul. My words to him are setting the model for God’s words to him. In all likelihood some concept of who and how God is will be predicated on how he experiences me. So I want to be incredibly intentional about what he hears.
Since being born, almost every night (I’ve missed a few here and there) I tell him (and my other boys) these 3 things:
1) I AM PROUD OF YOU. Just because you’re you. Just because you’re my son. Not because of anything you say or do, but just because you’re you.
2) I LOVE YOU TO THE MAX! Nothing you could ever do or say would make me love you any less, and nothing could ever make me love you any more. I love you to the max.
3) I BELIEVE IN YOU. And I know you have what it takes to make it as a big boy.
What message does your child need to hear from you? Remember, its never too late to tell them!