“Look, Mommy! A rainbow flag!”
My 4-year-old daughter excitedly pointed at a suburban front porch as we drove home from a luncheon with friends. I shifted uncomfortably in the passenger seat and paused before responding to my precocious preschooler who has a penchant for princesses, unicorns, and rainbows. On one hand, it would be easy to say, “Yes, that is a rainbow flag,” and move on with the day. However, I could not, in good conscience, sidestep her comment. To ignore my child’s statement of excitement over this brightly colored banner would be to ignore an issue that subverts our family’s beliefs, principles, and basic values.
“Yes, that is,” I replied. “But we don’t support that rainbow flag.” I anticipated her follow-up question: “Why not?”
I turned around in my seat and gently explained how some people believe that women can be married to women and men can be married to men. I referenced the part of the creation story in Genesis 1:27 where God made Adam and Eve — male and female he created them. The rest of the drive home was quiet. I thought about our brief conversation and the following questions that will undoubtedly arise as my children grow older and become more observant about the culturally divided world around them.
Our discussion reminded me of my own introduction to the topic of homosexuality. I was much older than my daughter, however — perhaps 11 or 12. Naturally, the conversation I had with my mother as a preadolescent was much deeper and more unsettling than the exchange I had with my daughter. My mother brought up the topic of homosexuality because she knew I was mature enough to handle the knowledge; I was on the brink of my teenage years, after all, and already had a basic understanding of concepts like procreation and human sexuality.
In contrast, I engaged in the conversation with my daughter — who is nowhere near her adolescent years — because my only other option was to feign ignorance. The stark difference between these conversations was unsettling to me because so much has changed since I was a child. The left today forces its ideologies about sexuality and the sexes on everyone, even small children, with the entire month of June dedicated to the public and corporate praise of these ideas.
The next time my children go to the library, the grocery store, or even watch someone open an internet browser, they will most likely see pride flags. If I had chosen to avoid the conversation during our drive home, the topic would have still come up at some point.
How will you answer your young children when they come to you with questions and observations about homosexuality? It is imperative for families to have a plan of action, especially during pride month. My husband and I decided to outline some ways to encourage our children in the truth throughout the month of June.
Five Practical Suggestions
First, read Genesis 1-3 as a family. The biblical accounts of creation and the fall into sin not only reveal God’s design for marriage and families, but are also reminders of how that order is subverted. Additionally, it is important to remember that all sin is sin in God’s eyes, whether it is theft, homosexuality, dishonesty, gossip, etc. Speaking the truth about God’s created order must be done in love.
Second, read Genesis 6-9. The biblical account of Noah, the flood, and God’s ensuing covenant reminds us of God’s promises, particularly His guarantee to protect His own in the ark of faith through Christ Jesus. Furthermore, this passage presents the perfect opportunity to discuss the true origin of the rainbow.
Third, invest in quality literature to teach your children about human sexuality in an age-appropriate fashion. I recommend Concordia Publishing House’s Learning About Sex series. While I have only utilized the first book in the series, Why Boys and Girls are Different, I do know that the series is well-written, builds upon itself gradually, and is straightforward, allowing parents to use it with discretion according to their children’s needs. I would also recommend reading series such as this on your own before reading them with your child in order to anticipate their questions ahead of time.
Fourth, rejoice with your children in their identities beyond their sexuality. Everyone has many stations in life to which they are called, whether that be a brother, sister, son, daughter, student, friend, cousin, neighbor, etc. Recognize unique attributes in your children and discuss the importance of these unique vocations with them.
Fifth, remind yourself that you cannot control every single item or agenda your children are exposed to, but you can control how you address these things. As parents, we of course must be discerning and proactive about the movies, books, TV shows, and social media accessible to our children. However, there is no way to completely shield them from the brokenness of the world. The best thing we can do is continue in our calling as parents — leading our children by example, guiding them in the truth, and equipping them to remain steadfast.