So, at some point, every kid, little kid probably, is going to ask their parents, you know, where do babies come from? Yes. Yeah. Do you remember the conversation with my mom?
Yes. I was pregnant with our third, and so we have a four- and two-year-old. We're at Dave's mom. We're visiting her. And I'm not showing, but she knows that I'm pregnant. And she gets down real low to our two little boys, and she says, Boys, aren't you excited that the stork is going to bring a baby to your house? And I am like, what is happening right now?
And looking at Dave like, what in the world? Is this what your mom taught you? Yeah. Well, I didn't know.
So, you know, I was just trying to figure out. No, the funny thing about it was we thought she was kidding, but knowing my mom, she probably wasn't kidding. She liked to cover things up.
Yeah. She didn't like to talk about real issues, and so she would just kind of pretend and make things up. So as soon as we got in the car, I said, boys, I just need you to know the stork does not bring babies. Santa Claus does. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.
And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. We just heard from one of our guests today, which is really fun because we've got Justin and Lindsey Holcomb back with us in the studio today. And we're going to talk about this a little bit.
You guys, welcome to Family Life Today. Well, thank you. I don't want to interrupt the rest of the story, though. I was just having fun. Can you tell me the end?
This is Santa Claus. Well, I just told them, like, God makes babies. And so I don't want to get into it too much because you've written a book about this very topic.
Well, it's interesting. You know, the reason we're laughing is, you know, my mom was a single mom. She's with the Lord now. She's an amazing woman. And looking back, she was incredible.
She did a great job. But we never talked about anything. You weren't allowed to talk about anything. I had a little brother who died when I was seven. He was five and a half years old. We never talked about it after that day.
It was never allowed to talk about it. So this was in that category as well. You're going to talk about babies. That might mean we're going to talk about reproduction. I mean, that's why we all sat there when she said storks. And we're like, first of all, I was like, does she believe that?
I think she's not kidding. You know, and so obviously you've thought a lot about this. First of all, I mean, you guys are parents, two daughters. How old are they?
Twelve and thirteen. All right. So I'm guessing you've had this conversation. We've had many conversations on this. And I think it started with us when they were probably five and seven, four and six. I mean, it was... They were little. They were asking questions early and we just went with the conversations.
Yeah. So you decided to write many books, not just this God Makes Babies books. We had you on before talking about what were the titles? God Made All of Me is the one that we did on helping children protect their bodies from sexual abuse predators. The second one that we got to talk about was God Made Me in His Image, Helping Children Appreciate Their Bodies.
So body image. And this one is helping parents answer the baby question, God Made Babies. So we're trying to take all of the what might be painful or difficult or awkward conversations and try to create resources for parents because we've had to have these conversations. We thought, well, let's see if we can hand these over to others and see if they're useful and they have so far proven to be. And this is important to you guys because, Justin, you're a seminary prof and, Lindsay, you work at a nonprofit as an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. So this area, you guys have talked about, written about, why is it so important to you? You know, when we started having the girls and we were looking around for books to read with them because we felt like that would be a helpful way to have some of these topics, we weren't finding anything that we liked or that we thought was theologically robust or accurate. And so we thought, well, okay, what do we know how to do?
That's right. But Justin and I both grew up very differently. He grew up in a Christian home where his parents talked to him at length about anything difficult, you know, hard, awkward conversations. But I did not.
I'm probably very similar to you. At the time, my parents were married when they had the sex talk with me, but then they divorced and I was raised by my mom and we just were kind of in survival mode. But when I had the talk, it was a video and I watched a video, there was no conversation, no rehash of what you just kind of, you know, it was, you know, sex 101.
Did she just put the video in for you? Just put the video on, we sat down, we watched it, and then we all went on our merry way. So there was, I mean, I just had to figure things out from my peers, which is terrible, and just kind of bumbling through life. And then if you don't have those conversations, somebody else is going to have those conversations with you and most likely your child's not going to get the best information or the most accurate. And then, of course, then you're married and now you're, you know, wanting to talk about sex and wanting to talk about how to engage in that as a couple, but nobody's given you a foundation for that.
So it was a little tricky. So we realized we're like, let's do things differently with our girls. They are very talkative from an early age.
We've been pretty honest with them as developmentally appropriate, but they just started asking more and more questions, like exactly how does God make a baby? So that launched us into that talk. And I mean, the difference is stark. I mean, I haven't even thought about this until you told your story and about, you know. The stork. About my mom. But I was in kindergarten and on recess, I saw two frogs mating. And so I caught them because we had show and tell right afterwards. So I caught these mating frogs and I asked the teacher, I'm like, I got something.
Can I show the class? And so I stood there and I unveiled at show and tell these mating frogs. Kindergarten.
Like, I'm five? And the teacher just stops her eyes bug out. And I was like, what are they doing? And she, masterful, she said, boys and girls, these frogs are dancing. Go home and tell your mom and dad that you saw frogs dancing.
That was a great answer. At dinner, I'm sitting there with my little feet kicking at the table and my mom and dad. My mom's pregnant with my sister. How was school today? It was great. Anything fun happen?
No, not really. Oh. And I told them the frogs dancing. I saw my mom and dad look at each other and they were like, what? And then I saw this knowing like, oh, my dad said, after dinner, you're not going out. Stay in because we want to talk about us.
I want to talk to you about something. And my dad's an artist. So we just sat down and it was so normal because he always drew. So he was like, I'm going to draw. He just drew bodies. And he's like, this is a girl's body and this is a boy's or man or woman's body.
Just explained it. And it was just flowed. It didn't feel weird or awkward. It was just natural. And then he said, hey, this is a conversation for other boys and girls to have with their parents.
So this is just kind of something you keep this at home. And I was absolutely dad the next day at school. I mean, that's when I became a teacher. I was like, they're not dancing. There's something else going on, everybody.
I led the group discussion at our table. But the reason it's important is Christians aren't usually the best talking about sex. We have this kind of what some people call dualistic. We think that the spiritual is good and the body's bad. And that's not how God made things. God made things with body and soul together.
And they're supposed to be together. And we're going to have new bodies and resurrected bodies with the new heavens and new earth. So we're going to have resurrected bodies. We're not going to be floating around as souls in the afterlife.
So they belong together. And so we either talk about sex as a necessary thing for procreation as tolerable, kind of dirty, or we worship it. I mean, there's this weird views from our culture and from churches. So having healthy conversations about reproduction and tying in sex to reproduction and God's creation, that just seems like a healthier way. So I think that our hope, and we're pretty confident on this, that if children start hearing about God made them, how reproduction works, that it'll frame how they think about sex as their teenagers and in their 20s and get married and start having families. It'll frame us. We're hoping this is a legacy changing type of thing, framing how children and eventually teenagers and adults think about sex.
Yeah. As you guys know, for a lot of parents, this is the fearful topic. Like when and how am I going to have the birds and the bees or the talk with my son or daughter coach us through? I mean, the book does a fabulous job. I mean, you're handing a resource to a parent to say, here you go.
But there's a lot of theology behind what you put in there. So first of all, answer this. Is it a one-time conversation? Because, you know, I can remember when I had it with my first son, he was seven. I think so.
Yeah, CJ was seven. I don't know. Tell me, was that too late?
Was that too early? And, you know, there's a part of me as a dad that's like, they're done. Okay, tie it up with a bow and never talk about it again. But I knew this isn't a one-time conversation, but I think a lot of parents think it is. It is not a one-time conversation.
You're accurate. We use the phrase many and many, like, small conversations a lot often. And it can be awkward. Parents that haven't been raised in a home where sex has been talked about well will find it awkward.
Or if there's a history of sexual abuse or painful, you know, trauma from just growing up of how things were explained or things that were done against people that were really inappropriate. It can be a really hard conversation to have. And a lot of parents will worry, I'm going to mess it up. I'm going to say the wrong thing.
I'll say too much. But we often encourage parents just keep it small. Because oftentimes if your child asks a question like, what's that pointing to a pregnant woman? They're not asking for the whole sex talk. They just want to know, oh, that's a mama with a baby in her belly. And then see what other questions do they have. Usually they're like, okay, cool.
And they'll run off and play. And so that's why we say make it small, frequent conversations. But to encourage parents that it is so important, I often tell them, you want to be the voice in their head. So that when they have questions, they immediately think, I want to run this by mom and dad.
I want to get their kind of analysis on this. The trusted resource. Yeah, they're going to be my trusted resource. And that, if you build that at a small age, that will carry through to when they're in middle school, when they're in high school, college. You know, things come up that they're going to want to run to you quickly because they feel like, okay, mom and dad, this is a comfortable conversation.
I can, you know, bring this up to them. Well, Lindsey, was that hard for you? Because you didn't come from a family that talked openly about it.
Justin did. It was easier for him. Did you find it harder? Or was it difficult?
That is a really good question. I think being married to him, we had had a couple years of marriage under our belt where a lot of, you know, conversations had happened, a lot of healing. And just realizing, I want to do things differently because we didn't have that relationship with my sister and I, with our parents, where we could kind of talk about things, good or bad. There just wasn't a lot of talking going on. They were in chaos with their marriage.
And then it became in survival mode. So I knew I wanted to do it differently. And we just kind of think from when the girls were little started talking about, you know, abuse prevention, naming body parts, just making it a regular thing. And then he would tell me stories about how things have been done so well in his family that I was like, I want that for us.
So I kind of learned from his stories, like, this is how it could happen. This is how we could have these conversations. But I think the other thing that's important that I would encourage parents with is, you know, when you have a young child, you're getting the best car seats, you're getting the safest car, you're putting them in swim lessons. You're thinking of all these ways to keep them safe. This is another way to keep them safe, to really prepare them and equip them with this information so that they have accurate information so that they know if they see something, if a friend shows them something on their phone when they get older, they happen across something on the internet when they're doing a search for schoolwork. Or if someone tells them something that's really just dark and dirty, that they're going to come and talk to you because they know mom and dad have had these conversations. It's not going to freak them out. They're not going to be so bewildered by this or grossed out.
So it works. Actually, we put it to the test with our 13-year-old when she started middle school. Jess and I both said to her like, hey, if you ever have any questions about anything, especially pertaining to sex or anything you hear as you're going through middle school, and she's in a really sweet middle school, but she's going to hear things, come and ask us and we will answer you honestly.
And if we don't know the answer, we're going to look it up and we'll figure it out. And she says all those questions for me now. So I actually have a list of all the terms and phrases that she's asked me that she heard at her classical Christian school from the other classmates.
Usually most of them have been boys just kind of shouting it out in and a few girls have said some things. But I have a running list of about 15. I actually knew the answers to all of them. But one, I actually had to look something up. And I told her, I was like, I looked it up and this is what it is.
And she was like, whoa, OK. Kids are hearing new terms on TikTok or whatever the latest social media thing is. There's just different terms that we don't know what that means. So we'll go look it up and then we explain it to her.
But how cool is that? I mean, we don't parent as experts at all. We are figuring this out as we go along.
Yeah, we apologize a lot. But I think kids have questions. I remember, I mean, this is going to go pretty deep, but I was abused, sexual abuse. And when that happened, a boy told me that was involved with that. He said, you know, that's how you have babies. And it wasn't.
He was incorrect. But my first prayers to God were Jesus. I wasn't a Christian.
My family, I knew nothing. But I prayed for some reason. I said, Jesus, please don't let me have a baby in the second grade. And I prayed that every day because I saw on an encyclopedia babies inside of a mother and how it can take a while.
And I thought, you know, I had no idea how long that would take. But for kids, and I was exposed to porn early. I was living in that all by myself, having no idea what to do with all that information, the incorrect information. And so what you're saying is, it's our job because kids are being bombarded with wrong information.
So you're saying as a family, as parents, let's ease their minds, bring them into safety and speak truth of God's beauty in it. I love that point because when kids are asking the baby question, they're actually asking about themselves. They want to hear a story about like, where did I come from? So it's not, they're not asking for the mechanics of how babies are made. They're not thinking like that. Like, they like fast cars, they don't really care how the engine works. They see a baby and a mom and they go, what the hell is that happening?
Where did they come from? And they're actually asking the bigger question of themselves. And so we get to actually tell them about how God wanted them in his world and made them on purpose. Like, what a great thing. And your story is so true because, I mean, think about the need.
So you asked Dave about, hey, was seven too late? Probably not because, well, it actually depends on each child and the family, but probably not because there is a point where it can be late. Just think about some of these statistics. So one in five children are sexually abused before they're 18. So there's a lot of sexual abuse happening. So they're going to have, there's more children than we know of that have your story. The idea of a second grade girl asking not to be pregnant.
Like, people need to hear that. People need to be aware that that could be their child. Their son or daughter because they haven't had these conversations with them.
Or to think about the fact that porn exposure, average age of porn exposure is 10.1 years of age. And the vast majority are not on purpose. They're not searching. They're bumping into it and they feel, then the kids feel shame. Like they did something wrong, so they're not going to bring it up. So it's a secret.
It's a secret. Lindsay told me that early on, kindergarten, first grade, second grade is when children start noticing pregnant moms and asking just normal questions. If you see a woman that you know who normally doesn't have, looks like a watermelon, like that's a normal question to ask. And so avoiding it makes them think that they're asking a wrong question, a shameful question. Like they're doing something wrong. And the point that we want to make with parents is you don't have to go to the mechanics of it for a while. I mean, you get to say like a few different levels, like, well, God made it possible. Like that's the first step. God made it possible. We can get into the specifics.
But God made it possible for a mom and dad to make a baby. And they're like, okay, great. Like that might actually be good enough. Like we got like a year out of that. At what age would you think?
You got a year out of that. That's probably, I would think four and five, because around four and five, it's very developmentally appropriate. They'll start noticing their own body parts, their own private parts.
So they're going to want names for those at that age. But I think kindergarten, first, second, they're noticing pregnant women. And then all of a sudden a baby shows up. I remember when we had a baby shower, I think a kindergartener, a first grader was there. And she's like, well, where's the baby?
And I was like, oh, so sorry. The baby is not here yet. So they're so curious.
So at any of those ages. Yeah. And then the next level is God takes a little part from mom and a little part from dad and puts them together and puts them in the mom's uterus, whatever language you want to use. So that's another one.
We got another year out of that. And then finally, and then finally, our oldest asked Lindsay, so, okay, how does God take the one part from dad and the one part from mom and put it together? And she was like, oh, God puts it together. And she's like, you're not hearing the question. How? Like she was asking for mechanics.
Yeah. Well, that was a third level question. And so many parents think they have to go straight to the mechanics of everything about male parts and female parts.
And you don't. That's actually the last step for the birds and bees talks. When do they usually want to know the mechanics question? Um, I'm thinking fourth, fifth grade.
Okay. They want to know exactly how it all comes together. And if you have, like we had three boys, none of them asked those questions. You know, girls may be more curious. You might have a boy that's more curious, but our boys never asked those questions. So we had to initiate that. Exactly.
And as parents, is that important if they're not asking? Yes. Okay. Average porn exposure being 10 tells you, you need to get there before porn exposure gets there. So I'm thinking, I mean, I'd be saying nine would be my cutoff. And I have friends who have not done that and they're kind of regretting, but also fearful of it. And now it's too late.
What do we do? Like, it's never too late. Like mom and dad need to have the conversations with their child at some point. So they know just for the sake of getting that pathway trod and letting them know, like, I'm initiating this conversation. I'm starting this conversation.
I'm not being passive with this conversation. And you can come back to me and then bring it up a few times. I mean, practically do it in the car. That's the easiest place. It's the best place. Because you don't have to make eye contact.
They're safer. And that's where I get some of my most intense questions. All of the good questions happen without Lindsay around, which is interesting because she did all the heavy lifting.
That's right. I set the foundation. When she talks about her background, it's shocking to me because like all of the different conversations about sexual abuse prevention and body image and where babies come from just flowed naturally.
So it just happened. I'm not trying to stay out of the conversation, but she did all the heavy lifting. But I get all like the really intense stuff. And it's usually in a car or late at night when the lights are out and they can't really make eye contact with me and kind of be weirded out. I love the fact that I get asked really specific questions because they're curious and they want, they trust me. The fact that they trust dad to answer those questions. Yeah, especially with your two daughters. I think oftentimes people think, okay, I've got daughters, so mom will have the conversation. We've got sons.
Dad will have the conversation. And one way to encourage parents is, okay, our hope is our children are going to grow up and get married. And if they don't, that's okay, but that they're going to grow up and get married. And we want them to be able to have conversations with their spouse that are easy, that are healthy, that are fun. That are normal.
That are normal. And so having your spouse talk to your child who maybe is not their same gender is really helpful for the right now, but especially for the future. So I would encourage parents, you know, crosstalk, like go across gender lines. But going back to the porn piece, this is why it's so important is if your kids are on other kids and they're hanging out, a lot of kids have devices when maybe they're over at someone's house and you don't know. I mean, it used to be 10 years ago, we would ask, you know, when we dropped our kid off at someone's house, like, hey, are your guns locked up? That's not really probably anyone's concern now. I mean, it probably is in the back of people's head, but really it's what kind of access do they have? Exactly. Because even just in our kids' sweet, sweet school, there are several of them that are on all of these different social media platforms where it's just unfiltered access. And they are seeing things.
And if your child sees something that is dark and sinister and evil, which is what porn shows them, they're going to feel the guilt and the shame and the darkness. And if you can come alongside them and say, hey, if you see something, I want you to tell me so we can talk about it. And so that you don't have to sit in that fear and that darkness on your own. We can bring Jesus into this and bring light into it so that darkness does not win. How cool is that, the role that you can play?
Otherwise, they're just going to keep having these layers of shame build up, and then you'll have a lot to unpack, you know, when they finally do talk to you in a couple of years. I still remember in fourth grade at sleepover, a boy brought one in a magazine that he found from his brother's room. In fourth grade, it was some intense stuff. And I'm so glad I had the category that I had, because if I hadn't, and that's the first thing I saw. Say what your category was.
The category of what my dad taught me when I saw the dancing frogs. God made things like this on purpose. God put the nerve endings where he put them. He made your body to be the way it is. He made a woman's body to be the way it is. And isn't this amazing that God likes creating so much? So it was framed with almost mystery and awe of what God did. And how cool it was, and this is what God did, and he likes making things so much, he made other things to make things. So that was my category for what reproduction was.
Sex was a piece of reproduction in God's creating and empowering his creation to make other things. So it had wonder to it. So then when you saw porn in this dark side, it made you feel?
Afraid. Looked violent, and it looked cold, and it looked distant. So I remember looking at that and thinking, that doesn't fit what I thought that was like at all.
Because it was, it was a distortion of God's good gift. I mean, it was like the gift that my dad described a few years later, I see it, I'm thinking, that's not even close to what dad described. And what I've learned is supposed to be like, you know, just from hearing other people talk. I mean, it was from kindergarten to fourth grade. There were some, there were some other questions that were asked in conversation. So that's important for parents to hear is as bad, as awkward as you think it might be, as bad as you don't really want to do the conversations.
Think about that possibility, because that's actually most likely for most children. That's why I'm saying like, man, risk it, risk it for eight, risk it for nine, risk it for seven, like get the conversations going if you can. And that's, I mean, literally, that's what the book is for is to really to make it, we don't do mechanics. We're literally setting the stage as easy as possible.
So a four year old or three year old can actually hear the story and just kind of be like, okay, God likes making things and framing it. Is it okay if I just kind of get into the? Well, I want to ask you this, Justin, do you remember after you saw that image? Because even now you're tearing up remembering the power of that. Did it become a secret or did you have a conversation with anybody?
I did. My mom asked me about it. And the reason it got me is because no one asked me how I felt about it ever. I've been through that before. I remember telling people, like, I still remember the image that I saw and then realizing, like, that was, I'm 49.
So whatever, I mean, this is decades later, I mean, that's how powerful this stuff can be. And I did not have a conversation with my dad about it. What happened was, is my mom heard from another boy that was there, his mom, and she brought it up and said, hey, I heard that this happened. Anything you want to talk about? And I thought, oh, what a relief. And I was like, yeah, I don't even know. And she said, tell you what, I'll have dad talk with you about that.
That'd be a really good conversation. I kind of wanted to avoid it because we had, I had baseball. He was my baseball coach and we had a baseball award night. And so we went to the award dinner and on the way home, I decided I don't want to have this conversation with dad. And so I just thought, I don't feel too good, dad.
I'm going to go to bed early. And he let me save face and five minutes later came in and unpack some questions. He said, what questions do you have? And I said that, what is that? And he described pornography and he described that you might look at porn. You're going to feel guilty when you do. And the desires, God put them there. How those desires are expressed is where we get off track.
So desire for pleasure in marriage is great. I don't want you mixing up, feeling guilty for that. Like he's teaching me stuff.
I'm thinking good grief. Thank God dad is talking to me. How old were you?
Ten. Justin, every parent's thinking, could you come and live at our house and talk to our kids? His parents did it so well. Your parents, like that's remarkable. Here's what I want to say, because I know there's a dad listening or a mom that is scared to death of this conversation. You know, we've had conversation with parents. They're like, I'm just going to farm that out to the Christian school or to the youth minister or the church.
But our culture is teaching it every single day. Yeah, I'm just saying, get on your knees and ask God for courage and go in there. Get the Holcomb's books. Yeah, get the book. That'll really help you. Go in there, sit near them and open it up. You're listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Justin and Lindsay Holcomb on Family Life Today. If you're eager to start having these tough conversations with your kids, but you don't know where to get started.
Well, make sure you pick up a copy of Justin and Lindsay's book called God Made Babies, Helping Parents Answer the Baby Question. We'll send you a copy as our thanks when you financially partner with Family Life and help make more conversations like today's possible. You can partner with us online by going to familylifetoday.com or calling 800-358-6329.
That could be a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift. Again, the number is 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. As parents, let's face it, having tough conversations with your kids can be, well, just extremely difficult. Well, tomorrow, Dave and Ann are joined again by Justin and Lindsay Holcomb to tell us really how to do that. You won't want to miss that tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. family life today is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most
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