Saturday, July 07, 2012

Sponge Filling

I have been doing a bit of research lately on the 'how and when' of the Birds & the Bees discussion(s). Some great material has been recommended to me by like-minded friends, but so far, this and this have looked the most appealing.

A couple of days ago I spent some time watching a few of the video segments on Mary Flo Ridley's page, and this one struck me as simple, but profound truth. She compares our children's hearts to sponges and the incredibly important role parents have in laying a foundation for our children.

"(Parents) get to be the one that decides what goes in that sponge first. When they go off to school they take that sponge with them in their mind and if you have, out of a sense of protection, made sure nothing has gotten into that sponge then actually they are exposed to whatever message they may hear...

You have the opportunity as a parent to fill this sponge with what you think is important...and then it's a full sponge. What happens with a full sponge is that when something else is poured on top of it, it rolls off but if there is nothing there the very first thing they hear is what lands...

As a parent it is so much easier when you know what is in there because you got there first. The culture will have an impact on your children, but the good news is, you get them first. You get the power of the first impression...Take advantage of this time when they are young and fill their sponge."

Mary Flo is speaking about sex education, but the implications of this thought process are far reaching. Are we intentionally filling our children's sponges (hearts) with messages of grace, love, truth, purpose or are we allowing the world to fill in the gaps?

I think there is so much truth to her assertion that whoever strikes first presents the truth that the world then has to offer a compelling reason to question. I know the world will challenge them. The nature of adolescence is to investigate and question. I am realistic enough to expect that.

Honestly, I want to raise children who embrace their faith for themselves/personally...not just as a matter of tradition.  I want to live out a faith that is compelling enough for my children to believe that it is real and true...but, alas, I am human.

I am asking God to reveal the areas where I am missing the boat in my sponge filling & to reveal the relationships and resources that can assist us in this process. Such good food to pray, ponder and be challenged by...

UPDATED TO ADD: This same concept translates into adulthood. We should be mindful about what we are filling our own sponges with as well. I really appreciated this post regarding the 50 Shades/Magic Mike popularity.


Bill and Jenn said...

You are probably already aware of this, but just in case... There are a set of 4 books in the "God's Design for Sex" series by Stan and Brenna Jones that are age specific, and kind of help pace you as your kids grow. They came highly recommended to me and I recently purchased them to start the discussion in my own home with my 5- and 7- yr old daughters. I really like the way they kind of ease you into the topic... And yes-- so important to FILL THEIR SPONGE!!

dee said...

I LOVE every word of this- so true! Thank you.

Colored With Memories said...

hey there! great post. i am so thankful to have mary flo as a part of our church body. i love listening to her talks.

i agree with your first commenter too, that book series pairs well (at least the first two books) with mary flo's ideas. i have changed/left out some words though to keep in line with MF's ideas regarding not introducing the dangers/pleasures until a later age (12ish).