The Birds and the Bees
I look at my two oldest daughters, Cecelia and Gianna, and can scarcely believe how big they have become. Both taller than me and growing by the day. Both beautiful and looking more like young women than the 10 and 11 year olds they are. Although they look older than they are, they still have so much innocence to them. However, the time had come to explain human sexuality to them this past summer.
When we had done this with Drew a couple summers back and explained why these were things that were private and shouldn’t be discussed with anyone and everyone, Drew’s response was classic. He said, “I don’t think I am going to want to talk about this with anyone ever again!” So funny.
Anyhow, I use a book that was recommended to me by a great family (shout out to the Yankes!!) called The Joyful Mysteries of Life. It explains human sexuality through the life of Jesus. It does explain clearly human sexuality, but it is not portrayed as something crude and mechanical. It is explained in the context of true love, it is explained as a gift of self in the sacrament of marriage. It is not a long book and each chapter is only a few pages. So it is something that can be used over the course of a week or so. One thing I really liked (among many) was it encouraged young girls to offer up the pain of their menstrual cycles for the greater glory of God. In this way, it is beginning to teach and reaffirm the understanding of suffering being a means of growth in faith. It also speaks about all the different vocations for women and men, what true freedom means, and commitment. I cannot say enough about this simple little book. It is wonderful.
I know that these conversations are necessary, but there is also a sadness to them. It is an end to an innocence in some ways. They are getting older, and with age comes more responsibility. This is the way of life.
I pray that my daughters can know the gifts that they are. That they can understand the language we speak with our bodies is far louder than anything we say with our words. I do not want them to feel the pain of being used. I want them to be treasured as daughters of God.
I wonder how to fight against a culture that teaches them the exact opposite of what God wants for them. I suppose the answer is I must be willing to fight for them each day. This must happen through an ongoing process of teaching them why they were made and who they were made for. I am going to have to do this everyday in small ways. Pointing out poor role models, and guiding them toward the good. Our bodies are magnificently made by God; we have a responsibility to protect and use our body to glorify him. It is not something cheap to be used by many and thrown away.
Each night as part of our night prayers, the girls and I ask St. Maria Goretti and Blessed Antonia to pray for us to have a pure heart. Both of these saints were killed when they were young because they refused to succumb to the advances of men. St. Maria Goretti’s main concern as she lay dying was for the soul of her attacker. I know they hear our prayers and are praying for us and this does give me great comfort. What a gift the saints in heaven are to us! It’s like asking the holiest person you know to pray for you times 1000! You can also be assured they will pray for you. Yes, we should all go to our friends in heaven and teach our children to do the same.
My prayer for all of our children is they may remain true to God’s plan for their lives. That they can know the beauty of human sexuality and appreciate it as something to be treasured. This can either be given to their spouse or they may give themselves totally to God as a consecrated religious or priest. Whatever their vocation, they must use their bodies to speak the Gospel. Only then will they find the happiness we all seek. JMJ
Here is a link to the book if interested: