To My 5th Grade Son As You Watch "The Movie"

How is it possible that you are in 5th grade and watching the puberty video at school? Didn’t I have to change your diapers last week and teach you how to brush your teeth just the other day?

Are you really embarking on young adulthood, learning about body changes and sex?

{Finger in ears} La, la, la, I can’t hear you. Please take me back. Please take me back!

Okay, actually, let’s talk. In fact, let me cut to the chase: if there’s nothing else that you hear from me right now, hear this:

1.       Take a shower. (Please actually use soap and shampoo when doing this.)

2.       Change your socks.

3.       Wear deodorant.

In my opinion, these are the top three things you and all of your 5th-grade comrades can do to make the world a better place. I’m going to keep hitting these points hard. For all of our sake. I’m going to push and pull, remind and cajole. I’ll put up signs if I need to.

I know you don’t understand why you need to take a shower after a 90-minute basketball practice when sweat is pouring off of you. But, you do.

I know you can’t smell those socks from where you stand, but the rest of us are about to pass out, so let’s be a good citizen of the world and change those puppies.

And while body odor hasn’t completely kicked in for you yet, deodorant is just a good habit to get into. You’ll want to be ahead of that curve, trust me.

These three, simple steps will get you well on your way toward the teen years.

But, what about “the movie”? The one that made you and your friends giggle and blush. Your dad and I pledge to always be honest with you. We promise to lead with truth and be a safe place for all your questions, fears, and mistakes.

So, let’s talk….some more.

This whole changing of your body is wild. It goes so far beyond showers, socks and deodorant – although please don’t disregard my previous points. Please. God created your body perfectly and wonderfully, designing it to run, leap, breath, sing, touch and feel. And what’s about to happen in your body – growing from a boy into a young man – is miraculous, plain and simple.

So first, let’s pause to marvel at that. How cool are our bodies? How cool is God? Answers: very and VERY!

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s weird stuff along the way. I mean, why do voices change and crack? How come hair has to grow in weird places? And who was in charge of naming all the body parts? (Couldn’t someone have come up with less giggle-inducing words like:  “thing” or “other thing.”)

“The movie” answered those questions (minus why the human anatomy has weird names - sorry). You learned about the chemicals floating around in your body and how they cause your body to grow and develop. The film also discussed the basics of reproduction and how babies are made.

But what the “birds and bees” talk didn’t explain, is how wonderful God created sex to be. You can’t quite convey in words or a goofy graphic the magic that happens when two people become one.

And that’s what happens when you make love – two people become one. It’s powerful and moving. You share the most intimate part of yourself with another person. It’s vulnerable and awkward. It’s also uniting and holy.

God created it like that. He created sex to be awesome. He wanted us to be united to another person in such a way that we were forever changed and impacted by them. What a great gift!

But, since that impact is forever, God wisely instructed us to keep sex within marriage. He didn’t want us united that intimately with this person and then that person. With her and then with another.

Here’s a picture: sex is like a fire. Inside of a fireplace (marriage), a fire is beautiful and captivating, providing warmth and enjoyment. But, outside of the fireplace, that same fire can burn your house down.

God and your dad and I aren’t buzzkills when we encourage you to save sex for marriage. We just want you to experience all of the joy, intimacy and freedom that sex within marriage brings without all of the pain, abandonment, and brokenness that can come from sex outside of marriage. In other words, we don’t want your house to burn down.

 I know right now it seems impossible to imagine yourself holding a girl's hand let alone anything else. But, it won’t be long before that will change. {Fingers in ears, again} La, la, la, la!

Someday you’re going to think some girl is as pretty, fun, and cool as your mom {wink!} and you’ll want to make her your girlfriend and possibly wife. And that will be awesome when it happens.

But, there’s no rush. Shoot, you can’t decide what you want to eat for a snack most days, so I think choosing a life-long partner can wait awhile.

In the meantime, be nice to girls.

They have hearts which don’t want to be broken, just like you. They have insecurities and doubts, just like you. And while there may soon come moments when girls are hot towards you one minute and cold the next, just remember they’re simply trying to sort out their own feelings, just like you are.

Girls have incredible traits you can learn from. They are smart and brave and kind. They thoughtfully see people others might miss and they understand ways of the heart.

Girls are incredible friends to have and I hope you gain many. I hope they give you opportunities to be a gentleman, treating them with honor like your daddy treats me and like they deserve to be treated. I hope these girls show you kindness when you take risks with your heart and encourage you to be the awesome young man God created you to be – funny, caring, sensitive, and determined.

So, while “the movie” discussion is just one in a series of talks we’ll have about puberty, sex and relationships, please know we already believe in you and the great decisions you’ll make. We’re cheering you on as you grow and mature and figure out more about life and love. We’ll always be here to talk, answer questions, offer advice and give hugs. You can count on us praying for your future wife and all of the friends you’ll make along the journey to find her.

And we’ll be praying for your buddies, too. That together you’ll become young men who honor God, yourselves, your parents and your friends.

You can change the world, you know. I believe it. So does your dad.

But now, you can start by changing your socks.