[Editor’s note: The author explains her family’s Lenten commitment to take the Love Dare here . Regular updates will be posted all through Lent. Click here to catch up on previous posts. Due to CE staff scheduling, we will not be able to keep up with these posts daily, but we will make sure they are all posted, even though it means they run past Lent. ]
Turn away from thoughts of lust and focus on real love.
“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” 1John 2:17.
When we first looked at today’s dare we thought, “How on earth can we apply this to our family?” Then it struck us, real love and its focus are the crux of family life. The world tries to pull our family apart with images that are sexual and inappropriate. We can’t separate ourselves completely from the world and I can’t even guarantee that if we make all the right moves that our children will not give in to worldly temptations, but we can strengthen our family against these influences.
As parents, we have great influence, not only by what we say, but by our own example. My husband and I can choose to dress modestly, treat each other with respect, and not make inappropriate sexual comments to each other. We can demonstrate the values of a true Christian marriage and discuss openly with our children our decision to respect and be open to life by using natural family planning. By practicing this, we are giving our children an example of chastity. If we can respect each other enough to abstain from relations (when pregnancy is not a sought after option at that time), then our children know they can have the strength to abstain from sexual relations when they are not married.
We believe in being open at our home and to teach with a sense of humor. In one dinner-time discussion about sex, my husband joked with the kids that they could refer to it as, “Monkey business,” if it embarrassed them to use the actual words. Well, this turned into ‘funny business’ and on it went until our seven year-old son exclaimed, “Or you could call it…None of your business!” This is still a running joke in our home.
Several of our teens and preteens have gone through the Theology of the Body for Teens program. Our oldest daughter has read every book on chastity out there and is a strong pro-life advocate (we believe these things are linked because sex and babies are linked, so understanding the issues helps promote chastity). Does this mean they won’t make mistakes and even possibly have sex before marriage? No. We have come to realize that we are all human and kids mess up, but we can give them a suit of spiritual and educational armor to guard themselves from the temptations of the world. This is where prayer, trust and the mercy of God come in. Do what you can, teach what you can, then entrust your children, your spouse and yourself to the fidelity of God. He will help us guard against the negative influences of the world.
Lord, keep all members of our family firm in their faith and in their commitment to fidelity and chastity. Help us to be strong examples to our children, with your grace.