Our culture doesn’t respect life. You see that every day in its widespread disregard for the lives of children in the womb and the mainstreaming of abortion by our cultural leaders, politicians and celebrities.
We can and should resist our culture’s willingness to marginalize and exterminate preborn life. But changing the culture will require more than just fighting abortion; it will require changing the way we think about and experience every aspect of the process that makes life come to be.
Yes, I am talking about sex. And yes, I am saying we need to change how we think about and experience sex to reshape our culture’s approach to life.
But no, I’m not saying we need more adults getting on TV to talk about their sex lives.
What we actually need are parents who talk openly, honestly and lovingly about sex with their children. Because if families can change the way sex is thought about from the ground up, from the age that children first start feeling curiosity about sex, we can raise the next generation to respect life like never before.
Parents, of course, don’t want to do that! I talk to many parents who wonder out loud about how long they can put off telling their children about sex. All too often, parents choose to act on their own discomfort rather than to honor their children’s developing awareness of sex with truth and guidance.
That’s a huge missed opportunity. By equipping our children with the knowledge of what sex, sexuality and love are really for, they’ll be better able to understand, respect and even enjoy the reality that we are sexual creatures. They will see sex as sacred and understand the emotional and physical dangers of abusing it.
If parents don’t fulfill this role, it’s not like children won’t learn about sex; they’ll just learn about it through our media’s distorted lens and culture. If children can’t take their burgeoning curiosity about sex to their parents, they’ll take it to the internet, to movies, to pornography. They may even end up learning about sex through deliberate misinformation put out by the abortion industry; there’s a reason Planned Parenthood has its own sex education app, and it’s not to help parents raise their children well.
As a father, I get that talking to your children about sex can be awkward. It can even be really difficult. A lot of us adults carry around unhealed wounds about sex. We haven’t yet fully experienced the freedom from guilt and shame that healing can bring. We feel uneasy discussing sex because we have made sex more shameful in our own lives than it naturally is.
But our children are innocent of all of that; they deserve honesty from the people they trust most — their parents.
And I know from experience how rewarding and often hilarious these conversations can be once you get over your shame and start talking. One time, my son asked me where he was before he was born. When I told him that half of him used to live in my balls, the look on his face was priceless. Needless to say, we had a long conversation after that.
But as we talked, I knew that the conversation we were having would be more impactful and helpful than anything that anyone else could say to him about sex. By getting over my embarrassment, I saw that I could help my son live his sexual life well from the very beginning.
Imagine if every pro-life parent did the same. If parents talked as much with their children about sex and relationships as they talk with each other about politics and abortion. We would not only help our children satisfy their curiosity in trusting, healthy environments; we would also equip them to resist the lies and half-truths of our culture’s distorted image of sex, sexuality and life.
It’s worth it to be uncomfortable for a few minutes now and then if that’s the change we can bring.
If we want to change the culture, we’ve got to start with our own families. Our own children are the future, and the conversations we have with them now will shape them, and the world around them, for years and years to come.
• Benjamin Watson is a former Super Bowl champion and current vice president of strategic relationships with Human Coalition.