another piece of my daughter's heart...gone.
I feel like I've written about this recently, but I must write again.
The conversations with my daughters stir something violent within my affections. I can't believe what they are exposed to at such an early age. But as I revisit the visage of my childhood, I can't believe the things I was introduced to in the same season my daughters find themselves. (and I went to a little Baptist church and a little A.C.E. Christian school). Sin is no respecter of institutions, whether they be public or private. It will hunt you down, it will find you.
I remember being exposed to homosexual pornography when I was 5 or 6 by an older kid that lived right next to the Christian School where my dad was a principal. They were playing cards with pictures of naked men on each card. He said he found them in his garage and we looked at them at least twice after school. I remember my eyes widening and my curious spirit being fed. I had no idea how to process what I was seeing, but I was seeing it nonetheless.
From there I remember vividly the talk in the bus to and from school. They were kids that I went to school with, but they had dark hearts and were flirting with the devil in about every area imaginable. They would talk of popping girl's cherries (whatever that meant) and making obscene gestures with their hands to reenact the sex act. They would speak of sexual things on a regular basis and then tell me not to tell my parents (since they were teachers at the school we all attended...I can't tell you how awkward it was to live in secrecy for so many years of my life simply because my parents were in ministry...this scares me about my own children).
I would sit across from guys who had their hands up girls shirts and down girls pants completely unabashed about their sexual exploitation and exploration. I was a little kid being led to the slaughter house and I didn't even know it. (other than the pit in my stomach that told me something was terribly wrong). Everyone was daring each other to do something even more scandalous in this sick game of one-upmanship. They would make fun of me for refusing the offers, but the images were as bad as the act itself. Again, I was 7, 8, 9 yrs. old at the time navigating my way through the world of sex like a rodent trying to cross a highway during rush hour. Fortunately, I was one who made it to the other side without becoming roadkill, but that doesn't mean my insides weren't smashed and smushed flatter than a fruit roll up.
Words like masturbation, pornography, virginity, vagina, penis, boobs and the like were standard fare in the course of conversation during a typical week. I hadn't even hit puberty and I was beginning to fantasize about and wonder about sexuality and the anatomy of females. So much so that I would recognize the breast size of my babysitters and try to be hugged by them on the couch while playing games or reading books. (tell me that more isn't going on that we think in the little psyche's of our children...or maybe I was just an exception to the rule).
At the age of about 9 a guy brought a Playboy to school and all the guys in the entire school from the 2nd - 12th grades were crammed in the bathroom getting an eyeful...and, unfortunately, a heart-full. We got kicked out of school for 2 weeks and the ones who brought it to school were expelled. I remember adults being mad at us for partaking of this debased and detestable act, but I never remember anyone explaining the longing to me and trying to teach me about the goodness and God-ness of sex and sexuality. It was just bad, bad, bad and we needed to stay away from talking about it, looking at it, or longing for it with all the strength we could muster. It just goes to show that telling someone not to do something doesn't fix the problem. Who's going to answer the question why? Why is everyone talking about this and thinking about this and looking at this? It was always written off as Hollywood's obsession, but it seemed to be just as much as an obsession in my Christian school, what with all the kids kicked out of school along the way for inappropriate sexual behavior and former deacons of the church being caught in strip clubs, and my pastors son, come to find out, secretly struggling with homosexuality. All these things were happening in "Oswegowood"...who needed to go to Hollywood?
So back to my story today...
My daughter Aly came home yesterday and said that she needed to tell us something. (I owe her inability to keep a secret to the genes of her mother). She said she was embarrassed to tell us because it was about sex. Heidi told her that she could tell us anything and that we needed to know just in case it was a lie. We told her that we would tell her the truth about what she heard so that she didn't have to believe a lie her whole life about sex.
She proceeded to tell us that one of her friends was talking about sex and went on to describe oral sex to the little girls on the playground that day. She said that she had seen her older siblings do it in her bedroom. Aly didn't call it oral sex, she just described that act in her own words which completely sent my insides into a fit of rage. I couldn't believe my 7 year old was saying these things. She was so innocent in her sharing, so pure, so unadulterated.
We went on to explain how sex and sexual activity is only for those who are married. And that it is good when it is experienced after a couple is married. We don't want her to grow up scared of sex and scarred by sex.
Does this unnerve anyone out there?
I share this backstory and current story, I guess, for this reason. We need to wake up to the axis of evil that exists in our own backyard. Terrorists don't just live in the middle east or the inner cities...they come in innocent forms on jovial playgrounds. Our children are being terrorized and they don't even know it. And if we don't protect our kids by constantly monitoring their encounters and conversations and friendships, we're co-conspirators in their demise. We cannot wait until they are "teenagers" or until they hit "puberty" or after they have their first "sexual experience" before we talk with them and teach them about this dicey subject of sexuality. I'm not sure you can start too early, I'm dead sure you can start too late. It's a "teach or be taught" culture and we need to beat the world to the punch.
I lost another piece of my daughter's heart yesterday and I'll never get it back. No matter how much I try to clean up the mess, I'll never get that innocence back. Never.