Strange terms, fresh imaginings, embarrassed moments and puzzled looks. And for some extra intrigue, a batch of fried pickles.
My son and I spent some time this past weekend in the quiet of a county park. On a grassy knoll (no, not that one) under a budding oak tree we talked about (drumroll, please…) sex.
We also talked boundaries, purity, dating and exclusivity. For fun we tossed in marriage, commitment, and self-control. We discussed allurement and our curious minds. We were honest about beauty and wandering eyes. It was entertaining to observe my boy’s expressions of wonder, confusion, and realization. Our time together wasn’t the end of innocence – it was a gentle awakening to the beautiful work of our Master Craftsman.
The enormity of our conversational topics necessitated frequent doses of refreshment. My son’s choice for lunchtime refueling? Burger – in a 1/3-pound slab. Plus onion rings and bottled root beer. I partook of a similar spread, which was almost too much for me. But my boy proudly devoured every crumb. His conquest required that we email a photo of his plate back home so the whole family could share in his triumph. At the time I didn’t realize this was only the first half of his gastronomic ‘super bowl.’
My son chased lunch with a man-sized box of cookie dough candy and 32 ounces of Mountain Dew at the movie theatre. Then, because theater snacks are not an adequate substitute for a real meal, we grabbed – you got it – a burger. My son ordered an ‘All-Everything’ Burger. I grimaced. I thought it might be time to be all-done with everything. Nevertheless, I paid. He grinned. We waited.
He got two bites down…then turned pale. He paused, then muttered, “I feel sick.” Together we raised a white flag signaling our desperate need for a to-go box. Had this been an episode of ‘Man vs. Food’ we would have gladly declared food the winner. I was grateful for my son’s restraint. I did not want to spoon chewed burger, onion rings, root beer, chocolate covered cookie dough and mountain dew from the interior of my car.
I was impressed by my boy’s stomach capacity. Yet my real amazement came in the midst of our sex education. He surprised me with the strength of his commitment to God’s design and desires. He encouraged me in his personal convictions. As he considered the range of behaviors and attitudes and perspectives about his body and how he plans to relate to the opposite sex, he willingly accepted responsibility to act with respect and restraint. And the more we talked, the more he fortified. His commitment strengthened. I didn’t coerce or prod. Instead, I watched and learned.
Sure, my boy’s still naïve in many ways. Knowing of birds and bees and associated issues doesn’t guarantee chaste living. The Tempter lurks. But having a plan and a firm resolve are fine traveling companions down the path of purity. I wish I had a bit more of my son’s ‘God said it, I believe it’ confidence when it comes to the rigors of life.
For the times I wake with worry. Or am held captive to a manipulating relationship. In moments when I surrender my joy instead of fighting for it. And for the many days I skirmish with the monster of self-pity. Such things erode my courageous resolve. They weaken my soul and increase my craving for sin’s bait. They deafen my ears to God’s voice.
While pondering these tensions, I thought of my son. As we talked last weekend, my boy took me higher than the flight of birds and bees. He lifted my spirit into the transcendent through his whole-hearted trust in God’s good plan. I was attracted to the confident innocence of his young faith. I have faith, too. But when I give audience to my inner skeptic instead of digging in with Christ-centered confidence, my perspective gets jaded. I speculate and assume as my foundation of faith shifts from God to my own limited reality.
My heart yearns for a deeper, more radically-trusting faith. A faith that steps-out with strength and courage. That faith is mine to claim, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV)
Kudos to my son for his God-inspired confidence and burger eating abilities. His no-nonsense trust in our Creator’s plan for sexuality has inspired my own rejuvenation toward a God-glorifying trust and obedience in all things.
And I thought I already knew all there was to know about the birds and the bees…