Are facts the best way to communicate to young people today?
Facts are necessary, especially when you’re talking about sex. But nothing beats the power of a personal story.
#4: Share Personal Experience
This week I’ve been blogging about the need to tell our kids the explicit truth about sex:
- Day one I wrote about why we need to talk to our teens and tweens about sex.
- Day two I kicked off the Four Facts about Sex We Can’t Hush, with Fact #1: SEX ISN’T NAUGHTY.
- Day three I shared the second fact that we can’t keep to ourselves, Fact #2: CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES
- Day four I shared the third fact that we can’t keep to ourselves, Fact #3; SEX IS MORE THAN “A HOME RUN”
Now it’s time for the fourth and final “fact” about sex that we just can’t keep to ourselves! Share personal experience. I guess I’m cheating a little bit with this last “fact,” because sometimes sex-education becomes just that—a bunch of facts. When in fact (no pun intended), we need to stop sharing facts and share life experience.
Sometimes we can share facts with our kids until we’re blue in the face. We wonder, is any of this sinking in?
Try sharing a story from your own life.
Yesterday I shared how sex is a process. I asked my 16-year-old daughter to proof that blog for me before I posted it. When I was done I asked her what she thought. She liked it, “especially the example about Anthony getting a kiss from his girlfriend in front of his grandmother.” She told me, “That example answered the question so many of us are wondering; how far can we go.” She continued. “Sure, you said, ‘Don’t event start the process.’ But that story explained it in a way I could understand.”
Good stories bring life to facts.
Some of the most powerful lessons are taught from our own life experiences. I’ve taught on the subject of sex hundreds of times. Some of the most powerful venues were the ones where I had someone come up and share their own story.
A few years ago I taught about sexual purity to a group of junior high girls. After teaching much of what I’ve shared above, I had a mom come up and share her own story. All the girls knew this mom because she was a volunteer leader and led a small group with many of the young girls sitting there. This mom shared a story of the first time she had sex. It was her prom. She was 16-years-old. She liked the guy so much and wanted him to like her. She gave away her virginity that night, only for him to break up with her a few days later.
As she shared this vulnerable tale from her own life, the young girls in this room cried with her, moved by, and for some, even identifying with, her story.
As I looked at the feedback from that evening, they enjoyed my presentation and were able to cite some of the truths I shared, but all the girls unanimously cited this woman’s story as having the most powerful impact that evening.
We all have stories to share.
Our kids need to hear stories of purity and the heartbreak we were spared; they need to hear stories of failure and the consequences we experienced. Don’t be afraid to share these stories and the lessons learned. Often, they will be the most remembered “fact” shared.
* * *
If you liked Jonathan’s candid approach to this subject, you’ll really enjoy his books like, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, and Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. Right now you can get FREE U.S. shipping on these books and others on Jonathan’s Recommended Books page.