Several months ago a friend with a daughter Hannah’s age loaned me Beyond the Birds and the Bees and I knew I should read it. But I left it on the shelf because I did not really want to think about entering a more difficult tween type phase with my kids. I really hate how people push kids into growing up too fast, and I want my almost 8 year old to feel ok playing dolls for a couple more years.
However, as the songs say, time marches on. Some things came up. We should probably be prepared for all this before the moment arises.
And so I read the book. I’m glad that I did. Beyond the Birds and the Bees gives a whole life picture of how to give kids more than just an account of the mechanics involved in maturing and the basic what’s-up about sex. Rather, the book delves into how our identity as Christians and as sexual beings should be informed and enhanced by our theology.
The book is based on the Theology of the Body, which is a Catholic concept but I don’t find it to be anything that would conflict with Protestant theology as I understand it. There are a few points that won’t apply if you aren’t Catholic, but by-and-large I think the application of theology to all aspects of life is really critical for children as they grow up.
Whether you call it the Theology of the Body or just apply theology to these topics, what’s at stake is giving our kids the REASON behind what we say, so that it’s not just “don’t do this” but rather an explanation of how God created us, a shaping of how we define ourselves and our purpose, and the best God defines for us. I feel like I want to give my kids a vision for God’s definition of marriage, so that they aren’t relying on a list of rules, but rather being strengthened in their faith as they grow up and handle different changes and issues in their lives.
Beyond the Birds and the Bees gives parents tools for casting that vision, as well as very practical help in how to talk to your kids about maturing and answer questions they have in age- and stage-appropriate ways. It was helpful to think about laying the right foundations for attitudes and healthy relationships even when kids are very small.
As I mentioned above, this is a Catholic-focused book, but I think it would be relevant to any Christian parents. And if you have any other good books on this topic to recommend, please let me know!
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