The lessons I plan for the day, are rarely the ones that get remembered or impart the most knowledge. It's always the ones the Lord plans and executes. Case in point:Today, as my 6th and 7th grader were reading an encyclopedia entry preparing to write a 2-paragraph "essay" on hermit crabs, we came upon the word "copulating". They liked the sound of the word and kept repeating it.
Me: "What does that mean?"
E & D: "Mating". (No problem so far with these words . .. let's keep going . . . )
Me: "What is mating?"
E & D: "It means having babies."
Me: "Well, it means the 'process' of 'creating' more babies. What does the word 'reproduction' mean? (This was actually the word for the topic of our second paragraph.)
David: "It means to make . . .then re-make."
Me: "Right. To make more of what you already have. What do you need to make more living creatures of the same species?"
E & D: "A male and female".
At this point we determined what each creature contributed to the process (egg and sperm).
Me: "So, somehow these two 'parts' have to get together and that is what is called 'fertilization'."
Now here is where one of them asked how that happened. I said it was different for different creatures and that God was a very creative God. E suggested a way and we agreed it could happen that way, but I really didn't know how it was for hermit crabs.
Still not sure how many of the "dots" they are connecting in their own minds, but this was a good start to understanding and discussing things later more specifically. That ended the discussion as it pertained to hermit crabs. I silently was thanking God for this very unexpected, but very natural way of talking about a sensitive subject, as well as thanking Him for the grace to remain calm and not show embarrassment or uncomfortableness of my own. (Now, I must mention that my 2nd and 3rd grader were in the same room working independently.)
About an hour later, Jonathan, our 4 year old, came in the room asking something about "sex". I had him repeat the word several times 'cause it just didn't make sense and D & E were beginning to giggle. We determined that he was saying "checks". Sigh. (Need to work on talking with the fingers in the mouth . .. sounds the same even when they're NOT in!). Anyway, E & D began telling J to not say that word 'cause it's bad . . . "sex", that is.
Me: Looking right at E & D . . ."What does it mean?" (They look at each other and giggle and this particular word obviously has some uncomfortableness associated with. I'm wondering where they've heard it talked about . . .etc.)
E & D: "It means 'copulating'" (There's that word again!)
Me: "Right. It's just another word for 'mating' or 'reproduction'. Why is that bad? Weren't we just discussing this as something God has designed?"
E & D: Silence. Looking at each other and smiling.
Me: "Look, guys. Nothing has changed. Sex, mating, reproduction . . . it's all good. It's beautiful because God has designed it that way and has given His creatures the privilege of participating in His creating of new creatures. That's AMAZING! But it is meant to take place among mankind within the boundaries that God has set: marriage. When sex is talked about in a way that implies that it is not protected by marriage, then you have reason to be uncomfortable and embarrassed. The Bible calls that sin and your conscience is trying to tell you something. However, if you are discussing it in truth and in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, rejoice . . . and be amazed!
I know that there are many more "details" that I could have explained. I left a lot of holes. And I don't know who they are listening to (or what they are hearing) that would cause them to feel uncomfortable about this topic. But . .. I'm rejoicing that we are able to continue to lay a foundation of thinking about sex in a biblical and God-honoring way, so that wherever they are or whomever they are listening to, they will have a foundation of truth upon which to stand. They need never to be ashamed if they are standing in the path that God has laid out for us in His Word!