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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Innocence

As often as I pondered what motherhood would be like as I was growing up, I never saw myself needing to discuss sensitive topics to my children so directly at such young ages. However, due to an increasingly crazy and confused world, my husband and I have found ourselves praying for divine help and inspiration as we've had candid, sacred teaching moments with our children, hoping to convey vital truths in an appropriate way before the voices of the world have a chance to interfere first. Although our children are still young, ranging in ages from 2-9, we have already discussed topics such as procreation, pornography, and the sacred nature of our bodies with our oldest children in an effort to open lines of communication early and avoid confusion about what is true and right.

Traveling home from a short vacation together this past weekend, our thoughts turned to our children (as always), and we began discussing what the topic of our Family Home Evening should be. We decided to use "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" as our main source of study. Although the text is quite mature and difficult for young children to read and understand, we did not want to take from the power of the words exactly as they are written. We decided to take it one paragraph at a time, discussing each point as we went along. I was amazed as I was reminded this amazing proclamation was written over 13 years ago--boy, has the family been attacked in full force since that time!

Praying silently that our children would somehow understand the importance of the message, written by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, and be able to grasp what these inspired men were teaching, we sat down together and began taking turns reading each paragraph.

As is always the case when I approach a sensitive topic with my kids, I inwardly wondered how much they already knew about certain issues, such as same sex marriage. We read about gender being an "essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." Then we read about the powers of procreation being employed "only between man and a woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife." We paused to talk about what this meant, explaining that many in the world believe it is right for two women to marry or two men. We mentioned the word "gay" and asked if they knew what it meant.

I was on pins and needles as we brought all of this information up. I wanted to be discussing topics such as family service projects, plans for summer, or even manners; I did not want to be introducing such heavy topics to our young children. But I knew it was important. I knew I wanted to be the one to inform my children, rather than friends or textbooks, so here I was.

"Why do you think God would want marriage to only be between a man and a woman, rather than two men?" I asked, in an effort to test their understanding. I was amazed when my seven-year-old son piped up with a very good answer.

"Because two men can't have a baby, and God said we should have a family."

"That's right, son," I said, impressed and a bit shocked. Does he understand more about the birds and bees than I thought? It wasn't a topic we had discussed with him yet, and I was getting nervous.

We continued on, but were quickly interrupted when this same child said, "Oh yea, and two women can't get married because then they would have two babies at the same time!"

At that moment, a smile couldn't help but spread across my face as I realized this child was just as naive and innocent as I thought. It all made perfect sense to him: Dad's don't have babies, so two men obviously couldn't produce a child; moms do have babies, so two moms would produce two babies!

We carefully corrected his misunderstanding, wrapped up our discussion and prepared for bed, but as we tucked our children in for the night, I couldn't help but think what a wonderful thing innocence is. And at that moment, I wanted to freeze time. I don't know exactly what our children will face as they continue to grow into adolescence and adulthood, but I am certain they will see and hear and experience many things that will taint them and deprive them of their innocence in one way or another. And that saddens me deeply. When I see or hear on TV or otherwise stories that depict the craziness of the world we live in, I am grateful to be able to shut it out, look at my children and feel peace in their innocence. Oh, that it would never change!

How I would love to be a child again and see the world through innocent eyes once more. Maybe then I would be more compassionate, more loving, and more pure. As for now, I am grateful to live with four sweet spirits who remind me often that the world is still a great place to live, even if it isn't innocent.

3 comments:

Taffy and Tony said...

Such a good topic to teach our children, especially now during these troubled times. I don't know if you saw what happened in the Miss USA pageant, but Miss California lost the crown basically because she doesn't support gay marriage. I think this is direct fulfillment of the prophecy that Satan will call evil good and good evil. For standing up for truth and right, she is looked at as the bad guy. This really bothers me. We need to start teaching our children young to stand up for truth, even if the rest of the world is confused.

Diony said...

Lori I really enjoyed this and good for you for addressing these sensitive topics with your children early. If there were more parents like you and your husband there would be a lot less confusion in the world.

It was great to see you at the conference, you looked fabulous!

Kevin and Desiree Allen said...

Oh how this subject hits home. It has been quite a topic between Kevin and I. I know the time is coming too soon especially with Daxton. I know he understands more than we think though. The other day we were at target and the kids were teasing Kevin to buy a pink shirt. He said that it just wasn't for him and laughed. Daxton then turned to Kevin and said "It's because you are not gay Dad." Kevin then asked "what do you mean?" Daxton's response, "You know, boys that like boys!" Needless to say we were shocked! I had no idea he knew what that was. They sure are learning things much earlier than I remember learning them!