(this post not suitable for younger readers)
I grew up in the heart of the Bible Belt in northeastern Tennessee. My Dad was saved when I was very young and I don't remember any time before he became a preacher. I went to public school but public school back then was very, very different from what it is now. Most of the people I went to school with at least went to church on Sunday mornings. It was the "popular" kids that were into the "bad" stuff -- but most of what I heard of was a little bit of drinking. I can honestly say that I remember only one incident in high school of hearing about a couple my age having sex and that story in retrospect sounds like a good urban legend (the couple supposedly being caught in the dugout of the baseball diamond). College wasn't that different of a story -- now, bear in mind, I was never a popular kid (too fat to be so), I was a band geek, and most everyone knew of me as a Christian (or, at least a preacher's daughter) and I never went to the mall or any dances so it's not exactly much of a stretch of the imagination that I just didn't hang out in the right circles, even in college. I met Jonathan within days of landing at Carson-Newman and, well, never really looked for very many other friends! :) And, even though we couldn't stand each other that freshman year, by the time we were sophomores, I was best friends with my roommate and a handful of her friends and consumed with singing in Foundation and Jonathan. Jonathan and I were engaged in January 1998 with a wedding date set for June 20 (almost 10 years -- yay!). In April (or was it May?) of that year, we rented our first apartment practically on campus. Once school was over, he lived in the apartment and I stayed within walking distance with some other girls until our wedding. As scandalous as it sounds, I even spent the night in our apartment with Jonathan a couple of times when the girls from the other apartment were going to be gone (can't stand being alone at night). BUT, and here's where I'm going with this -- we made it to our wedding day WITHOUT having sex, even though we slept in the same house several nights just weeks before our wedding! There was a time that I just assumed we were the norm. I was FLOORED to find out close friends both who were recently married -- friends who are Christians, who I would have thought were "just like us" -- had premarital sex with their boyfriends when they were JUST boyfriends (not fiances, in other words), one of them slept with her boyfriend on their first date! (Don't misunderstand, I'm not passing judgement on them!) While I'm not passing judgement, make no mistake that I AM saying that sex outside of marriage is wrong, plain and simple. It's not the way God intended it to be. How do I give my children something strong enough to get them to persevere in the face of such overwhelming temptation and perhaps even ridicule? Obviously this is something that needs great prayer but I can't just pray about it without praying for Jonathan and myself to have the right words -- what I mean by that is I can't just pray about it but not take the time to educate my children about it. And I'm not saying that sex is the only subject that I need to educate my kids on, either, don't misunderstand. This just seems to be such a biggie. If premarital sex is assumed as normal, especially in Christian homes, then we as Christian parents are missing the mark. Sure, I still have young children, but I believe that parents can do more than have a little talk and then just pray that the outcome comes out right. I don't see how this can be a one-time-conversation-and-done or a "they're going to do whatever they want to do and there's nothing I can do to stop it" deal. Sure, there's nothing we can do as parents of teenagers to stop our teenage children from having premarital sex. I agree with that statement. But there is a lot we can do when they're young, when they're mold-able. I think about Nathan -- he's learning an awful lot about marriage and family simply because he has a married Mom and Dad, right? And while we haven't had "the talk" with Nathan about sex, we have already had "talks" about how it takes a Mommy and a Daddy to make a baby and about how God intends for only a married man and his wife to have babies (and, for that matter, how God intends only for men to marry women) so we're not that far away. Just the other day, there was commercials on about an Oprah show featuring a "man" who is pregnant. Nathan asked me how that was possible and I explained to him (after having to find out myself!) that "he" was born a girl but decided as an adult that he didn't want to be a girl (at least on the outside) so he found doctors to help him become a man on the outside. Several minutes passed and Nathan said "Isn't that a lie?". I thought he meant that I was lying to him and I tried again to explain it and he said "No, I mean wanting to change from a girl to a boy, isn't that just like a lie? I'm sure God isn't happy with that". Right on, my boy, right on! While praying that we're building some good foundations and for the future to come, I encourage anyone reading this who is a Christian parent with children still at home to do the same. Let us be found faithful in teaching our children God's design for marriage, sex, and family.