One of my father-friends included us in a family email, reminding us that we were recently told in General Conference to teach our children about their bodies with accurate names for body parts, and another father-friend included us in a family email reminding us we were recently told in General Conference that we need to start teaching our children about the dangers of pornography. These two reminders felt like “two witnesses”, and when there arose some confusion about how Six’s teacher was going to get her twin babies out of her belly, I knew it was time to address it directly and act in response to these promptings.
As an outline, I used an FHE lesson from the church website “Overcoming Pornography”, specifically the lesson called “My Body is From God“, but then I supplemented with content specific for what our family needed today.
Nathan opened with the “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” song from primary, and I added this video version as well:
We talked about body parts, and the sixes loved grilling the toddlers on which body parts they knew. I was proud of the Baby, who has been working on that with me, and she really participated and knew most of the answers! I was so thrilled for her! She is still young enough to often be fussy and then asleep before Family Home Evening even can finish, that it was really fun to have her with us (and happy!) and participating in the evening. I loved it!
Then I announced our new memory verse for this week, and started working on it with the children:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.
~ Genesis 1:27
That’s when we talked about male and female, just a little, developmentally appropriately. I did not use any outlines or drawings or pictures for this, though they do have a science book that depicts it in very general terms. I am ready with that when they ask, but they haven’t gone there yet, and did not ask tonight, so I didn’t bring it out. But they do know from school, and from public bathrooms, and from our playtime rules (no girls in the boys’ room, and no boys in the girls’ room) that there are differences in gender.
Then I read this from the Family Proclamation:
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.
The kids were able to talk about being children of Heavenly Parents, and that they came to earth to get their bodies through their biological parents. This has been a big topic of conversation at our house anyway, as the kids prepare for adoption and we discuss the difference between biological parents and adoptive parents. I said that when a mother and father come together physically, it is called sexual intercourse, and that it is also a coming together spiritually and mentally and emotionally. They did not ask any more questions, so we did not give any more details than that this time. We did, this morning, already talk about babies being in the womb – and the body parts that make up the womb, and that the baby comes out of the vagina, and you know if the baby is a boy if it has a penis and a girl if it has a vagina, and that there are lots of other things as we grow up that help us become boys and girls, and lots of things we experience that are for both boys and girls.
Both the sixes have already been exposed to pornography from their biological parents, not extensively (thank goodness), but enough to know about “naked pictures on your phone”. They were not in these pictures (thank goodness, again), but knew the adults in their lives looked at them. They also have had many boundary violations, though none of our current kids have been sexually abused (that we are aware of), but have lived in homes with really poor boundaries. So we have to be very explicit with boundary setting, and very direct and overt with discussing these matters. I think it’s important anyway, and we have been commanded to do so, but it’s not something we can neglect at all.
We talked then about our bodies and privacy, and that we only touch our bodies to take care of it (bathing, lotion, etc.) and to get dressed. We talked about how foster parents and adoptive parents are able to touch bodies for the same reasons: bathing and dressing help, or for first aid or medical attention (or wiping bottoms!). We talked about how doctors look at bodies to take care of bodies, but they only look or touch a body if a parent is also in the room. We talked about how we only take pictures of people with their clothes on, or sometimes swimsuits in summer, but that we do not look at or take pictures of people without clothes on. We talked about how this is called pornography, but that pornography can also be written – either stories or songs or how people talk on the computer, and that’s why the prophet said our computers can only be in the living room and why we look at song lyrics before adding them to our playlists.
Then I read this, straight from the church website, without editing or filtering any of the content:
Our bodies were created in the image of God. They are a gift from Heavenly Father to allow us to experience mortality and continue to become more like Him. This knowledge can change the way we treat our bodies and how we feel about Heavenly Father and ourselves. When we treat our bodies as sacred temples created by God, we obtain physical, emotional, and spiritual blessings. One way we can show respect for God’s amazing gift is by avoiding sexual misconduct, which includes any involvement with pornography. Pornography is any material that depicts or describes the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses or is intended to arouse sexual feelings inappropriately. It is distributed through many media, including magazines, books, television, movies, music, and the Internet. We must prepare ourselves so that when we do encounter such materials, we can respond in ways that will preserve our spiritual well-being and ensure protection from further involvement.
I reminded them of the addiction video we watched a few weeks ago when it was my turn to do the Family Home Evening lesson, and we talked about how pornography can be an addition just like the drugs and alcohol and other things we talked about that week.
We focused on the temple, then, looking at a picture of the temple:
We talked about the parts of the temple: it is white, it is bright, it has Moroni on top, the fence (boundaries), the grass, the windows, the symbols, the square blocks that mean learning covenants, etc. We talked about how the temple is a place where the Lord can visit, and a place where we feel the Holy Spirit.
Nathan read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17:
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Then we talked about how our bodies are like temples, because our spirits live in our bodies. We talked about how we behave at the temple, taking good care of it, dressing up for it, keeping it clean, whispering while we are there, etc., and how we take care of our bodies by eating healthy food, sleeping, being kind to others (who are also spirits in temple-bodies), and helping others. We talked about why it is important to keep our bodies and our minds clean, and what blessings come from working so hard to do that.
From a different lesson in a 2011 Liahona, I read the following:
You are like the temple. You are different from everyone else, but you too are a house for the Spirit of God—the Holy Ghost. The Apostle Paul said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). Your body is a temple for your spirit.
Just as you treat temples with respect, you should treat your body with respect. You can do this by obeying the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89), by dressing modestly, and by keeping your body clean. You should also keep your heart and mind clean by reading, listening to, and watching only “things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father” (see My Gospel Standards).
When you are clean in mind and body, you can receive great blessings.
We closed by talking about how we care for our bodies and each other, just like we care for the temple. We talked about following the example of the Savior in choosing the right, so that we can treat ourselves and each other like children of Heavenly Parents. Then we had a maze activity to finish, which I found HERE. Then Nathan played a board game with the sixes while I put the babies down, which was very sweet after missing them while I was at the hospital all day yesterday.
I think we all had fun, and we were able to introduce serious and heavy topics without making it too much for their developmental level – yet still being very direct without skirting the issues.
FYI, another excellent resource is the website “Porn Proof Kids”. I am grateful for so many who want to keep my kids safe, and for resources to help them learn to keep themselves safe.