Yesterday at church as my husband was doing announcements before preaching, I came up from the nursery to see my 3 year old at the pulpit by his leg. He handled it well and she came back to me in the pew, while I grinned as the entire church watched this all play out. Now, how would I have responded to my 3 year old at home WITHOUT 200 eyes looking at me? Is there a gap between how I respond to things in private vs. public? If someone was a fly on the wall of my home what would they observe? Of course we are all different to a degree in the comfort of our own homes. I wear things at home I am not going to parade around church in, I have inside jokes & teasing, playful things with my husband I will not share around others. We have family quirks just for us, not for the world to see. This is not what I mean. When evaluating this area of my life in a healthy way, I am referring more to my heart, my spirit, how I am relating to God. How do I speak to my kids when giving general directions or when correcting? How do I respond when the clothes I just spent 30 min folding are thrown around the floor? In our home, how do I speak about other people not present? How do I speak to my husband? How do I use my time, my energy? How do I use my phone? Is what I post indicative of reality or making myself look good, showing my good works before men? Or is it a healthy, truthful representation of my life, my kids, and authentic? And is my phone or something else making me far less present with my family or am I exercising wisdom with my time?
Our life in private and the thousands of decisions we make when no one is looking will eventually spill over. Charles Spurgeon said, "Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than a talented hypocrite." And when there is too big a gap between our private & public life do we run to fix it or try harder or fake it better? No, we cannot attempt to touch ourselves up and make ourselves something other than we really are. Instead, we need to first run to Christ, the one who takes us as we are but promises not to leave us as we are. He has sent his Spirit on a mission to change every part of us, in every context of our lives. So as we depend on the Holy Spirit's power instead of our own ability to patch up our morality we slowly but surely become authentically Christian in private and in public.
If we are united to Christ, the Holy Spirit is cleaning us from the inside out, making us more Christ-like. So when we are hypocrites, when we are harsh with our kids, when we do things that make us feel the weight of our sin, we run to him for forgiveness and grace. He's lived each day perfectly on our behalf-in private and public. And then by his Spirit's grace and power we strive to close that gap between public and private a little more each day, knowing he is with us as we do so.
If you think your child is too young to start talking about protecting their bodies and naming body parts by name, you might want to think again.
Just like many topics in life, our kids are remarkable on picking things up very quickly and we can find ourselves surprised later in life how much they knew at a very early age. My parents never had "the talk" with me, but I knew about sex as young as 5-years-old. Thankfully, I have never been a victim of sexual abuse, but let's just say that high school and college were eye-opening, and shocking, to me with how low people view themselves and treat other people's bodies.
Justin and Lindsey Holcomb do an incredible job at simply and carefully laying out what it means to protect your body, what God has made our bodies for, and how we can use our words to keep us safe and aware of what others might try to do to our bodies. I read this book to my boys without flipping through the pages first and was pretty surprised at how engaged they were the entire time. My two older boys are 5 and almost 3 and they are at the "curious stage." They want to know everything and I couldn't think of a better time to explain to them important things related to the human body.
Many people believe that only young girls and woman are susceptible to sexual abuse, but actually 1 in 6 boys will also experience sexual abuse in their lifetime! Having boys, this statistic made me realize that I can't be naive to the fact that my boys need to know what is right and wrong behavior and how they can use their voice to 1) tell me and my husband if something happens and 2) that they can and should always say "No!" to unwanted sexual conduct.
God Made All of Me teaches kids and adults the importance of naming each body part their actual name. Predators are very likely to use other words and not actually say "penis," "vagina," "breasts," etc. It is, therefore, important for us to use these terms at home so that they are not uncomfortable words but become second nature. The book also discusses who should be allowed to touch our bodies, when it is appropriate, and when it is necessary to say "No, please stop touching me!".
I am so thankful that there is a book out there hat is raw, simple, and straight to the point. If we do not teach our kids what God intends for the bodies he has made, then someone else will. I may not be able to stop or prevent harm from ever coming to my kids, but with books like this and prayer I can at least give them the tools they need to protect themselves.
I was listening in on the boys conversations recently and my oldest told our middle son, “Our penis is a private part and you can say 'No! Don’t touch me!' Don’t be afraid. God made our bodies.” Even when I think they aren’t paying attention to me, they are. :)
I HIGHLY recommend this book for parents of both boys and girls. Do not be afraid to be uncomfortable, but give your children the tools they need to respect their bodies and the bodies of others around them.
This book was given to me in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Nick loves to read. When we had a fire evacuation a couple of years ago he asked to make sure his two suits (for preaching) and all of his books were safe from potential disaster. I never grew up with a love to read, but after being around my husband the love of reading has rubbed off on me. Inevitably we want not only to foster a love for reading in our boys but also a love for God and his words.
The children's book, God's Very Good Idea, by Trillia Newbell surprised me on how clearly it represented culture, sin, and the gospel. Trillia did an excellent job of describing the different types of people God has created, all in his own image, and then shows the effects that sin has on the world. She clearly shows how God chose to redeem us from sin and points readers, young and old, to Christ.
My favorite quote from the book is:
I truly believe that this book would help adults better understand the gospel, and how from creation to redemption, God has created diversity and is redeeming diversity.
I originally wanted to read this to my boys because of how the book displays the many different kinds of people God creates. Tall, short, skinny, big, old, young, brown skin, light skin, etc. Exposure is the best way we can make sure our kids treat and love their neighbors as themselves, and by exposing my kids to all the beautiful different types of people God has created I can hopefully, by God's grace, instill in them a love for all people.
I highly recommend this book to not only kids but to the church in general. I always recommend that new believers read a Children's Bible, like I was told to do, because it clearly explains the Christian faith. This book explains God's design, plan, and the gospel story very simply.
This book was graciously given to me for free. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.