Wednesday, July 19, 2006

WFMW: Teaching the facts of life

In light of the upcoming wedding in our extended family, for his week’s WFMW, I’m going to recommend a resource we have used for teaching our oldest two (so far) about “the birds and the bees.”

I don’t know about you, but I had a certain dread of telling our kids the “facts of life.”

I didn’t want it to be just technical knowledge, but wanted it to include our our biblical convictions about purity as well as make it a special time, not hampered by stuttering and sweating palms.

So we did Passport to Purity (P2P).

Passport to Purity (designed by Family Life, a Campus Crusade ministry) is a weekend getaway with your preteen. It is intended for a mother/daughter or father/son time. We did it with our oldest two during the last half of their fifth grade year, when they were 11. (Family Life recommends doing it before your child goes to middle school, when hormones aren’t quite as raging, and peer pressure isn’t quite as much of an issue). It includes a CD set and workbook that you go through with your child. Each session is about 20 minutes long – Dennis and Barbara Rainey give down to earth, easy-to-listen-to biblical instruction on topics such as:

  • Running with the herd (peer pressure)
  • Growing to s*xual maturity (separate CD for boys/girls)
  • Staying pure
  • Dating

You also get a step-by-step manual for how to plan your time, and it includes instructions for cool object lessons and conversation starters. Everything is very detailed, including supply lists and alternatives, so that even those of us with overflowing plates can’t possibly forget anything!

When I took my daughter, we just went to a local motel. I took her out to a nice dinner, we started listening to the tapes (they now have CDs), and then enjoyed a special evening and Saturday together. We did all the object lessons (don’t skip those!), ate junk food, laughed and had a great time. The conversation starters are very good, and we talked on a level I didn’t think was possible with an eleven-year-old.

She was an early bloomer, so she knew all the “girl side” of physical maturity, but I was so nervous about talking to her about the “whole picture.” That tape was done very tastefully (and thankfully, it was brief!).

When it was over, I asked her, “Do you have any questions?” Nothing but blushed silence (not to be confused with Broken Silence).

But the door to talk about intimacy, purity and dating (or not dating) was opened. Over the past year, we have had many frank conversations, at first a bit tentatively, but now quite freely. My mother never talked with me about physical maturity, let alone s*x (it’s not her fault – it was the generation) so I never felt comfortable talking with her about anything very personal. Incredibly, my daughter tells me everything. I’m seeing her come back to those P2P conversations (especially the one about running with the herd) as situations in middle school come up. It is a joy to see her personal convictions building.

I credit P2P for getting me past my embarrassment and helping create that atmosphere of openness and acceptance that I so wanted for my relationship with her.

Our next child is 8, and cannot wait until she has “her” P2P weekend. It is becoming a rite of passage in our family, and rightly so. It marks the beginning of a change in the relationship with our kids – one we are enjoying more all the time.

I saw that the Family Life website has the “Ultimate Teen Pack” on sale right now. Only $34.95 and it includes:

Our church purchased a set and makes it available to parents of 5th and 6th graders.

Can’t recommend Passport to Purity highly enough!

Be sure to drop in on Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer for the rest of the Works for Me Wednesday tips!

17 comments:

Jennifer said...

Gulp, 5th grade is just two years away. Thanks for this reminder. I know of another friend who did this years ago.

P.S. the WFMW link didn't work right,but I found you anyway.

Katrina said...

Thanks for this recommendation. We still have about 3 years, but I'm already thinking about how we're going to handle this, and I appreciate your thoughts!

Heth said...

Great tip. I'll have to check it out!

JennG said...

That sounds like a wonderful way to handle such a "sensitive" topic! I'll have to remember that when our turn comes. And think of the memories you've created for your daughter! I totally credit my mom being able to talk open and frankly with us about s-e-x. =) We never had to blush over an inappropriate question, she was great about making us feel comfortable.

Susanne said...

Great idea for a church to have available for it's parents!

GranolaGirl12 said...

What a wonderful resource. Thanks for sharing! I'll be sure to file it away into the "don't forget when Elijah reaches that age" category.

Gina said...

I'll definitely have to check this out. I've used the "Story of Me" books but found them too revealing for little kids. They recommend the books as early as 5 years old. I had to skip over some parts in the book and didn't give my son the FULL story. Just curious how detailed this gets.

Code Yellow Mom said...

I've never heard of this before! I was just talking with a mom of two girls coming up on middle school and she is stressing about this big time. I am going to pass this along to her...Great recommendation!

I also heard not too ling ago that it really is important for parents to be the first people to talk to their kids about this, and they are introduced to it so much earlier than I used to think. But if parents establish an open door, then there is a place for the children to discuss the inappropriate things they learn from their peers and make good, value-based decisions when they are confronted with it.

Great WFMW.

Overwhelmed! said...

I'm bookmarking this one! Great info. I have a few years before having to tackle this topic (my son is 18 months), but it's nice to be prepared.

I've posted a WFMW tip as well. Stop by and take a peek. :)

Jen said...

Thanks so much for this info..we have talked with Madison about the birds and the bees....but I still want to do this...just to go over some things before middle school..thanks for the info.
jen

Barb said...

It's surprising how difficult it can be to talk to your kids about this. This is a great resource.

Joy said...

I LOVE P2P!! Of course, I haven't used it yet with my kids, but I already have one!
My parents speak for Family Life Conferences (my dad's full time job is a pastor), but they also speak around the country several times a year!
I love this idea...it would be really cool to raise up a new generation of kids who plan on staying pure!!
Blessings!

Tammy said...

Thank you so much, I will look into this for the near future. My oldest is only seven, but the talks on all this are coming up. I plan to at least talk to her this year about boy-girl differences, since without brothers, I'm not sure she even knows about yet.
Thanks again!

Julie said...

I had no idea such a thing existed. What an awesome idea. Luckily I've got some time (6 & 3) but this sounds a lot better than the method my parents used :-) Am making a note of it.

kim said...

Katherine,

Thanks so much for this resource. I have a great relationship with my 5th grade daughter, she is very open yet I was still feeling stressed about talking all of this over with her. We actually went away for the week end for her birthday this year alone (no Daddy, no brothers) and she loved it so much, just the two of us but I couldn't bring it up (altho I planned to) , just couldn't. We were having such a great time and I so want her to be my sweet little girl a bit longer. I think having a resource and a plan may be the push I needed. Thanks again!

RobinD said...

We have done P2P with both of our daughters and have a son who is anxiously awaiting.
I highly recommend this program. It was such a great time to get away and be open with each other. I love the way Dennis and Barbara present the facts in a Biblical way and share how God has designed us to be.
At the end of the 2 days we then went and picked out a purity ring which they wear to this day.
Love your blog. Blessings to you. Robin Dicks

Mary said...

not sure if you get a message when a new comment is posted, but I couldn't resist leaving a comment. I need to purchase a new set of Passport 2 Purity. Mine is so old that it is cassettes and 1 is missing (not sure who would just stick one in for easy listening!) Well I googled it to see if I could find a new cd set cheaper than thru a regular source, and google pulled your blog up as one site that talkes about it. I thought "very cool!!"

Love to all - Mary McElyea