Despite being imperfect parents and teachers, our children transform from tiny beings of dependence and need to mini-adults of empowerment. Littles learn to climb, big ones become masters of the digital age. Amidst this, we tend to measure ourselves and their progress. Are we teaching them to play, run, do, behave, act, think, build, believe the “right” way? It’s exhausting.
Perhaps there are lessons here amidst the self-analysis and self-doubt. For us and for them.
When it comes to matters of the heart, we as adults are zero or sixty. All in or all out. We crave relationship and progress with our kids and students. We push, pull, or even yank with all our might to achieve perceived precious milestones – to motivate them to achieve. So, we create a maze of do’s and don’ts. We manically control. For their best interest of course. Especially when it comes to sex and relationships. Don’t have sex, don’t get pregnant, don’t be with that boy/girl; don’t go to that party; we’re a collective mommy and daddy law enforcement juggernaut. Sixty.
When met with natural resistance, we pull back.
But amidst this sometimes hellish cycle, are we focusing on the inside or the outside? Are creating hearts that are aware, hearts that care, hearts that know love from lust?
Maybe we need to just be. Scare tactics can instead become avenues for authentic conversation. Avoiding hard topics can become welcomed opportunities for engagement. Sex can become dinner conversation. Being the model can create the model.
Being means deftly initiating, but also means creating space. Let them lead. Doing stuff together creates the space for the hard talks. Talking fears, hopes, dreams, sex!, comes easier when we’re connected. When it isn’t planned or forced. Let them have ownership, a say in the sex and relationships conversation. Maybe they’ll surprise us. Maybe they’ll learn the hard way, but come out better for it.
Zealousness is a blessing and a curse. Fearlessly diving into a raging sea is both brave and dumb. Risk-taking meeting skill is a fine balance. They want to have sex because it feels good, makes them feel like adults, feel like they handle it. But that’s the raging sea. Damage can be done. Irreparable damage.
Maybe we need to teach them to breathe. Modeling joy has power. Enjoying the depth of relationship without the heaviness of sex thrown in is modeled, learned. Being patient and not giving in to sex day one has value. Being empathetic and really knowing people means going slow. Breathe, so they learn to breathe. Relationships require maturity, and maturity means valuing the preciousness of relationship. Taking moments to value your personal worth and the worth of others minimizes the value of sex. Breath gives us that perspective.
If we be, and if we breathe, maybe then and only then, will the self-judgment wash away.