Here and Now
by Barbara Rainey
My son, if your heart is wise, my own heart also will be glad. PROVERBS 23:15
When Dennis and I began teaching the sixth-grade Sunday School class at our church, we decided to serve them some "meat," not just the "macaroni and cheese" curriculum we could have offered. But, my, were we ever surprised to find out just how hungry these kids were!
We asked our young students, "If you could ask your parents any question, knowing that I would ask it for you and then give you the answer later, what would it be?" Their responses, which amazed us, included:
•"If I became pregnant before marriage, what would your reaction be?"
•"Did you have sex before you were married? Who with?"
•"How old will I be before I can kiss?"
After seeing children respond this way year after year, we concluded that a lot was going on beneath the surface in these cute little boys and girls. They may not be able to connect all the dots yet, but their bodies and minds are changing and developing fast. Life is in full gear, and they are starting to make determinative choices.
Some parents thought it was too soon to discuss these issues with their sixth graders. But our "research" in the laboratory of sixth-grade Sunday School—as well as in many years of field testing in the Rainey home—has proven that these are "here and now" issues. In an age when many grade-school kids regularly view immoral media content, is it any wonder that they're thinking, talking and making decisions about subjects like dating, sex, pornography, alcohol and drugs?
Many of the most pivotal choices in life are being made between the ages of 11 and 15. And we as parents need to engage our young preteens and teens now and help them make wise choices.
Have you considered talking about big issues with your 10- to 12-year-olds? Make a list of the issues they will face in adolescence and start now. How might you do it?
Ask God to show you the real needs and thoughts of your children, no matter how young their age.