Remember middle school and the frequent shrieks of delight or laughter emanating from classmates? We all know how excited middle schoolers can get! Imagine my shock when a youth pastor recently told me that some of the noises coming from middle schoolers today sound more like the sound track of a porn video. “Moaning” is what many kids are doing (or hearing), and it’s really disturbing on many levels.
On a related note, some girls are finding school rather toxic because of the ways in which porn is affecting interactions with many of their male classmates. In an article in the Dallas Morning News, one mom shared about her middle-school aged daughter’s experience. Her male classmates had been watching rape porn and making inappropriate comments to the girls. The child wasn’t comfortable talking with her mom about it and instead, wrote a letter. She closed with the words, “And this is why I HATE SCHOOL.”¹
Porn is shaping the way most of today’s kids are learning about sex and sexuality. Most of today’s porn is violent, degrading, and harmful to children. It’s impacting how they view themselves, others, relationships, and even God. It’s also impacting their friends and classmates. And it’s not going away.
If you’re a follower of TrueNorth, you know we believe the best way to help children internalize a God-honoring understanding of sexuality and steward their sexuality well is for them to have an ally, because parents cannot protect their kids from every harmful expression of sexuality.
An ally is someone children turn TO rather than hide FROM as they begin to encounter sexual things or experience sexual feelings.
You were once a little boy or girl becoming more aware of your sexuality. Little things happened or came into your life. Some gave you a “funny feeling” or made you curious about your body or sexuality, though you didn’t have a name for it then, for example, playing doctor, showing your private parts or seeing someone else’s, seeing ads for lingerie, or experiencing the soothing feeling of touching your genitals. Other things perhaps made you feel excited, intrigued, fearful, or ashamed such as seeing porn, discovering masturbation, or experiencing sexual abuse or inappropriate touch. Perhaps you sexually abused someone or acted inappropriately yourself.
What did you do in that moment or season? Did you have someone to process your feelings or experience with? Were you shamed or chided? Were you not believed or was your experience minimized? Were you essentially silenced by fear? Did you feel alone in your confusion, intrigue, or shame?
What could you have used? A safe person to process your experience with or answer your questions? Someone to help you with your emotions? Someone to protect you from an abuser or an uncomfortable situation or person? Someone who could relate to your experience and help you manage the associated feelings?
You could have used an ally.
Today’s children need an ally to turn to, someone to guide them in today’s sexualized culture with compassion, truth, and grace.
Why should you engage with your kids on sexual topics starting early or starting now? And why should you attend an Allies event? We believe there are many reasons and want to share our top five:
- Without your ongoing, loving, and compassionate guidance, your child’s sexuality will be predominately shaped by worldly influences.
Did you know that sexuality (our understanding of bodies, sex, relationships, etc) is shaped over a lifetime beginning with the emotional bonds we form or don’t form as infants? Because the world is becoming more sexualized every day, and because shame can quickly inhibit conversations about sexuality, your children need natural conversations about bodies and sexuality beginning in the early years. They need to see you as approachable, compassionate, and knowledgeable. Few of today’s parents had the ally approach modeled for them, and it may feel foreign or even impossible to you, but it’s not hard. Come and learn from us and let God lead you toward your next step.
- Learning about sexuality from culture, friends, and personal experiences didn’t go very well for most of us, and without an ally, it probably won’t be different for your kids.
The ally approach is proactive, helping children avoid many of the mistakes, shameful feelings, or internalized mis-information about sexuality that most of us experienced. Our Allies talk is engaging, compassionate, and practical. You’ll leave with a better understanding of the science behind sexuality as well as God’s grace for each of us as sexual beings living in a sexualized culture. You’ll also gain an appreciation for how God may want to use your story to help you become more approachable to your kids and strengthen your other relationships.
- Silence leads to shame, and negative or overly protective approaches to sexuality can lead to a fear-based understanding of it that can leave a child feeling alone or afraid to discuss it.
While the world is not silent on sexual topics, most parents are, or they focus on rules or the negative aspects of it. To quote Fred Rogers, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.” The opposite holds true also; what’s unmentionable, or cast in a negative light, can feel unmanageable or like something to be avoided. Many of today’s kids are growing up unable to discuss sexual topics with their parents or caregivers. Many parents feel ill-equipped to guide their kids. God has more for us, and we want to help you discover how to journey with Him toward His best for you and for those you love and lead.
- Sexuality connects the heart, mind, body, emotions, spirit, and soul of each of us in profound ways.
Sexuality is sacred, purposeful, and powerful. It’s not all about sex, though the world would have us believe that. We teach more about this in our Allies presentation. Why would we not want to learn more about these aspects of sexuality? Why would we leave it to chance as to whether or not our children grow up understanding sexuality from God’s perspective? For many of today’s parents, their own shame or discomfort may keep them avoiding sexual topics or putting off needed conversations. We believe God wants to lead parents in their own journey of discovery regarding sexuality, for their children but also for themselves.
- The “sex talk” is now the “sex talks,” which means ongoing dialogue, and TrueNorth has resources to help you.
In our Allies presentation, you’ll learn of great books to read WITH your kids as they grow. It’s been over 30 years since we welcomed our first child into the world. We sought to teach him biblical sexuality and used the best resources we could find. Many of today’s parents are using the same books and materials we used! While they may be good, many of them aren’t very relevant to the current cultural challenges today’s children face. We share the latest materials based on biblical principles. We also teach the importance of not relying on books alone, but rather becoming the ally kids need through honest conversations that build over time.
Allies is for parents of toddlers through teens. It’s for grandparents and caregivers. It’s for women and men who hope to one day have the joy of being a mom or dad. It’s for Christians and ministry leaders who care about how sexuality is taught and modeled in the Church today.
Allies for every one of us.
If you’d like to bring Allies to your church, Christian school, parent conference, or homeschool event, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start talking and praying about how we can make that happen.
Please pray for the powerful work that God is doing through TrueNorth that is so needed today! It is an honor to be on this journey together. As always, we’d love to hear from you!
Founder and CEO, TrueNorth Freedom Project, Atlanta, GA.
Want to help us in our mission to help parents understand their sacred sexuality, live it out in the power of Christ, and lead the next generation to do the same? Click here. TrueNorth is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax-deductible. EIN 46-5767272.
¹ Herndon-De La Rosa, Destiny. “When 6th graders can access rape-porn on their smartphones, school becomes toxic.” Dallas Morning News, 12 December 2019.