It’s no secret that I have three young boys: Philip aged 7; Isaac aged 4 1/2; and Aaron aged 19 months. They have taught me a lot about the way boys see the world and the way their humour is. A lot of times I end up rolling my eyes at their silliness, but at the same time, I am also in awe of the wisdom that comes out of their young mouths.
They teach me to have more fun and to let go a little. I love the way they make my heart melt with the warmness of their love. They inspire me to be a better mother and better role model. SOOOOOOO…… the reason for my post this week is to talk about the importance of raising my boys to treat their future spouses with respect and love that Christ has bestowed upon us.
Since learning about the Theology of the Body and how it saved my marriage, I vow to make sure my boys know about this beautiful teaching and hope they take it to heart and be able to live in this society working to heal it from its deep wounds.
I have a lot of funny stories that pertain to the raising of young boys…. oh…. tons of them… hahaha
Let’s start from the beginning…. Philip was born in 2009, and he will be catalyst for this teaching. He is also the one that is now truly responding to it. Thankfully with the grace of God, he has been understanding the teaching and even reminding his brothers what to do.
Having boys definitely has its challenges, especially in the realm of appropriating their bodies. Philip is a silly kid and he often dances silly at home and then brings his silliness to school, and that often gets him in trouble. The boys and I often have discussions about making sure they respect their bodies and that their bodies are sacred because we don’t just have a body, we are our bodies.
Soooooo I’m going to give some practical tips on what I’ve been doing to teach my boys the basics of the theology of the body:
- Use appropriate terms for body parts. Always, always, always use the proper names for body parts. Think about this…. we don’t have silly nicknames for our eyes, elbows, or feet, so why do we insist on using names like “bird” or “doodle” to describe the male anatomy? We used to use nicknames for the anatomy, but now we have fixed this and have continued to use the proper terms for the proper parts.
- Find out what they know. Before you start divulging all the ins and out of the birds and the bees, you need to figure out what your kids know and what made them think of asking that question. Because kids are curious, they ask lots and lots of questions, but you need to know what information they have received and from where. One time Philip asked me “Mommy, what does sexy mean?” I thought it was a funny question, but I asked him “where did you hear that word?” He said “I heard it on the radio.” My first thought is… Definitely have to filter their radio station… the next thing I said was “Well, sexy is a word that people use to describe another person, but it is not the most respectful word that we can use. You can use words such as beautiful or pretty instead.”
- Always tell the truth (age appropriately) of course. Before you tell your children everything under the sun… give them simple answers. They are curious, so you can stay away from giving so much detail, but they do deserve a response: the TRUTH. Philip asked me one time “Mommy, where do babies come from?” My answer was simple: “Well buddy, when mommy and daddy love each other, their love, along with God’s love brings you into the world. It’s through our love that has allowed you to be be born.” This satisfied his curiosity, for now, at least…. we’ll see how long that will last. haha
- Give your kids lots of hugs, kisses, and appropriate affection. It is important to show your children that you love them by showing them. Give them lots of hugs and kisses. Tickle them and make them laugh. It is also important to make sure that your children know what inappropriate touches are. You want them to know that their private parts are covered by their underwear, and that no one should be touching that area of their bodies.
- Teach your children the glorious reason that God created them. I constantly talk to my boys about the reason they should keep their hands away from their penises (because their bodies are sacred and that is disrespecting their bodies). I talk to them about the sacredness of their bodies and that God created them to be a gift to their future wives, so by touching themselves, they are choosing self-gratification over God’s glorious purpose for them. If marriage is their chosen vocation, they are going to learn how to treat their future wives. Quoting St John Paul II “Only the [human] body is capable of making visible what is invisible:
the spiritual and the divine. Through…bodiliness,… masculinity and femininity, man becomes a visible sign of…Truth and Love, which has its source in God himself.” (TOB 19:4) My boys are going to know that they were created to love as Christ loves.
- Show affection to each other. It is important that your children see their parents kiss and hug. It’s funny because Isaac, my middle son, hates it when Rios and I hug or kiss. Rios constantly tells him “I kiss and hug mommy because I love her! But it’s important to respect her!” I must say that I am blessed to have a husband who loves me as Christ does.
These are the things I’ve learned while studying the theology of the body, and how it relates to my child rearing. My sons are the fruits of my labour and by the grace of God, they will continue to learn how to treat others with respect and dignity. This is my job and I’m going to do the best I can to raise these boys right!
Thanks for reading,
Your sister in Christ,