The Warrior Marriage

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October 30, 2019  

Episode 39 Conversation #6 with Mylie - Framed Letter

 

 

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October 28, 2019  

Episode 38 - Managing Hurts, Failures & Disappointments

 

 Episode 38 - Managing Hurts, Failures & Disappointments 

Excerpt from my book "I Can't Say That!" - www.icantsaythat.com 

 

 

 

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October 23, 2019  

Episode 37 - Conversation #2 with Blaize

 

 

 

 

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October 21, 2019  

Episode 36 - Boundaries, Choices & Managing Hurts, Failures & Disappointments

Boundaries And Choices

 

A critical dimension of our sexuality and sexual development are boundaries and choices. If those aren’t well established, we are at the mercy of our feelings, desires, and peer pressure. To live within boundaries requires us to step back, recognize the difference that results from living within these, and thankful for their protection. Ironically, it is these boundaries that give us freedom.

 

When I graduated from seminary and began my life as a Licensed Professional Counselor. I was a single twenty-five-year-old male in a female dominated field. Ninety-nine percent of my clients were women and most of my friends were female. I was terrified. I had an ETHOS drilled into me from my family and my training regarding the importance of boundaries. I also knew of a few cases where one accusation of wrongdoing had sunk a person’s reputation and career. I set up incredibly strict boundaries. These were for my freedom. Within these boundaries, I had less to worry about. Later, I was working at a college and was told I needed to loosen my boundaries if I was going to work with college students. I was surprised. I was also quite confused by the suggestion and wondered if I should loosen up. I quickly realized though that I had more freedom by using these boundaries and I added more — like never eating alone with a woman who was not my wife.

 

Boundaries are entrenched into your ETHOS at an early age as we learn from our families and absorb their energy and culture. As we begin to play that out in our lives, we free ourselves, adopting some of the constraints put on us by our families and dispensing with others. We — and our children — have the freedom to choose. Our culture speaks out of both sides of its mouth. On one hand we are told to be free and choose for ourselves whatever we want. But, on the other hand, if someone chooses to act with reservation, wisdom or within a biblical sexual ethic, they are ridiculed as if they made the “wrong” choice. Find freedom in boundaries, your choices, and in saying, “NO.”

 

 

How To Say “No”

 

Learning to say, “NO,” is a crucial skill. We are always saying, “NO.” In effect, every time we say, “Yes,” to something — we are, in turn, saying, “NO,” to something else.

 

Teach your children to say, “NO.”

 

Teach them to have the vocal and internal ability to stand up for themselves and have boundaries. Most of us are familiar with the concept of fight or flight. If we get into a sticky situation, we have a release of adrenaline and we are, in a sense, forced to expend that energy by fighting, or fleeing. However, there is another response — freezing — that has serious consequences since the energy built up by adrenaline and angst rarely gets resolved.

 

When men and women that have been abused or violated tell their story, they usually regret not having spoken up, fought, or run away. Instead, they froze. However, despite — or maybe because of — freezing, they survived. They made it through. Now many remain stuck because the energy that was built up needs a place to go. It needs to be released. From this experience, they quickly learned to remain small and silent. Their ability to say, “NO,” diminishes.

 

 

Example

 

Lisaand Bretthave invested in their children with a vision for their children’s future success. They started young, teaching and training their children in a biblical sexual ethic. As they went into each year of life with their children they also knew that part of the bargain was trusting God in the raising of their children. Hope in things unseen. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Your faith must be in God and His work in the lives of you and your children.

 

Hope breeds a peace that passes all understanding. Hope expects great things as well.

 

Hope for the best things for each of your children.

 

I want you to be able to place the most important thing at the top of your goals in the raising of your children.

 

What is this most important goal?

 

Dr. George Barnaspeaks of this goal in his bookRevolutionary Parenting.[1]

 

What is your primary goal? With the primary goal Dr. Barna’s research found all the other priorities we may have for our children will work themselves out.

 

Hope for great things! Expect much!

 

Be intentional at preparing them well. May your children become adults that are “Champions for Christ.” — this ought to be our top goal.

 

 

[1]      Barna, George. Revolutionary Parenting.U.S.A.: BarnaBooks, 2007.

 

Managing Hurts, Failures And
Disappointments

 

As parents, we can do everything we are supposed to do and bad things can still happen.

 

Paulis a twenty-two-year-old that was taught a biblical sexual ethic, but chose to take his own path. He decided he had to try everything out for himself. Learning the hard way is a reality for many people. We grieve their choices. We love them. We pursue them. But we must also remember that these are their choices.

 

Juliannais eighteen and a survivor. She grew up in a great home with a loving, single mom that talked with her early, used micro-conversationsoften, and built into her daughter a solid sense of identity, strength, and a passion to live by a biblical sexual ethic. Her ETHOS was unshakeable. That is, it was unshakeable until her first boyfriend. She met a young man in college, and they began dating. By the end of their first year together she was a different person. He seemed to be sweet and caring, and said and did all the right things. He slowly nibbled away at her soul though with demeaning comments that she was not quite good enough. He would criticize her appearance, weight, intelligence, and decisions. Eventually, she had no resolve left and when he pushed on her boundaries physically, she had no fight left in her. She surrendered to his desires without a fight or a care. She did not realize what had been happening until it was too late.

 

I have heard this story numerous times from young women. The behavior of these “men” is disgusting and heartbreaking. This is grooming, leading to rape, even though there was no fight and no one said, “NO.”

 

Jillgrew up with a dad that loved her and she was a strong confident twenty-five-year-old even though her mom had left them years ago. Her dad was proactive, engaging, funny, and raised his little girl the best he knew how. She had a strong biblical sexual ethic — an ETHOS — and was excelling in all areas of her life as a teenager. She went to a party though and had something to drink that had been tampered with. She woke up the next morning in a lot of pain and bleeding. She had been “roughed up,” and was unaware of what had truly happened at the party the night before. Now, at age twenty-five, she has grown in strength and resolve to help other girls never find themselves in a situation like that. She has a passion and calling that, when combined with her story, has propelled her to make a difference in a unique way that only someone in her shoes could do.

 

 

Freedom From Shame

 

Shame steals everything — life, joy, desire, and a future. For many of us, our default setting is to stay here — to let it take up residence and settle. My hope and desire for you as a parent is that you can find freedom from shame in your own personal story. I want you to be able to see that when shame enters the story, it is only there to steal, kill, and destroy. Sound familiar? The marvelous truth is that God is a redeemer. Rest in this. Believe this. Live this out. Face that shame. Recognize that it only sucks you into a spiral of self-hatred and hatred of others. Realize that it only steals your joy and any desire you might have left.

 

Dr. Dan Allenderexplains in his speaking and writing how shame can be overcome. The unlikely source of joy is found in being broken. To feel sorrow and grieve your loss allows you to then find yourself in a place of gratitude with no room for contempt or hatred. You can now dance for joy. What does this dance look like? This freedom? This joy?

 

It is being truly broken and then, as Proverbs 31:25 says:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (NIV).

 

What a beautiful picture of strength, grace, peace, and fearlessness that can laugh at the devil’s schemes as you rest in God’s perfect plan for your life.

 

So, what is the task for us?

 

First, we must address our story as parents.

What are you holding on to? Where are you all tied up by the enemy?

This can usually be found as you review your story.

I would dare say that we all have places in our story that need attention, care, and honesty.

 

 

Forgiveness

 

Paulhad to try everything. He made his way. One of his biggest hurdles in finding freedom for himself will be forgiving himself for the pain he caused his family and others.

 

Juliannadid nothing wrong. She knows that in her head, but doesn’t feel it in her heart. She will need to forgive herself for trusting him, even though there was no way she could have known. She faces the insurmountable hurdle of forgiving her ex-boyfriend.

 

Jillbeats herself up for going to that party and touching that drink. She has found forgiveness for the guys that raped her even in the vagueness of some of the memories.

 

Forgiveness is never saying it was okay. Forgiveness is loving someone in the way that God does — not giving them what they deserve for their actions or hearts. Truthfully, we all deserve one thing — and that is hell. By the grace of God, we are offered free, eternal life. Forgiveness is not something we do once we feel like it. It is a conscious choice of our own personal freedom. It is cutting the ties with someone that harmed us and still has a hold on us. This is so difficult for our emotions to grasp, which, if we are not careful, keep us captive.

 

Forgiveness is freedom. Be free!

 

 

Growth And Your Joy

 

What comes from relieving ourselves of the burden of shame and resting in God’s forgiveness?

 

We grow. We truly experience joy. We find freedom. We are who God created us to be — worshipers.

 

Let’s look at this from another angle. Your son or daughter needs to learn about this process. They need to understand about the real world. They don’t need us only for shelter. They need us to prepare them. They need us to prepare them for the hurts and disappointments that will inevitably come. They need us to teach them to stand up for themselves and for others. I was driving home from a movie recently with my oldest son and talking to him about the difficulty of going against the grain with friends — standing up for someone that is being picked on, or calling out dirty jokes and conversations that are disrespectful of women or others different from themselves as unacceptable. It starts with one. He can be that one.

 

Lead your children into parts of your story — your successes and your failures. This should be done carefully, taking into consideration their age, maturity, and discretion — meaning their understanding that some things that are shared within the family aren’t to be shared publicly. They will learn more from your failures if you will be honest and real about how these affected you, hurt you, and even hurt others.

 

Face YOUR shame over past actions.

Face YOUR fears of being found out and being unloved.

Model for them how to live FREE.

Share YOUR story.

Enable them to speak up, to say, “NO,” to flee when necessary, and to change the world around them.

 

You are the most influential person in their life from birth to about age ten. Around the age of eleven, everything changes. Remember, the teenage years do not have to be the nightmare that so many parents have with their children. They need to take more risks. They MUST learn how to fail gracefully.Let them learn this while they are under your watch so that you can show them how to get back up and try again.

 

This is a beautiful part of our calling as parents that began on the day of conception.

 

Prepare them to fail. Show them how to get back up.

Prepare them to face disappointment with a faith in God that brings them back to life, but know that this doesn’t always happen overnight.

Prepare them to face heartache with a trust in their God that He even has all those details worked out for their good. He is a gracious God.

 

Rest in that as a parent. Pass that peace that passes all understanding on to your children early (Philippians 4:7, NKJV) — the earlier the better.

 

 

 

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October 16, 2019  

Episode 35 - Converastion #5 with Mylie - Lies & Truths

 

 

 

 

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October 14, 2019  

Episode 34 - Raising Sexually Healthy Children

Raising Sexually Healthy Children

I am hoping that at this point your heart, passion, and desire is to lead your family with confidence and intentionality toward a biblical sexual ethic. There are many other aspects of our lives that matter as well, but they are beyond the scope of this book. Raising sexually healthy children requires commitment to a specific ETHOS.It then requires that we, as parents, learn how to pass that on in bite sized micro-conversationsas our children grow and receive information from the world around them.

 

A key piece of the puzzle — for you and for your children — will be found in how you manage hurts, failures, and disappointments. Too many parents and their children are trapped in shame loops that are generational.

 

Break the cycle. Find freedom. Find joy. Then, once you have found it, pass it on.

 

Imagine looking at your grown children and seeing that they have made thoughtful, informed decisions that they can defend rather than emotional and impulsive ones. Imagine being proud of the young man or woman they have become. Imagine a sense of gratitude for the adults God entrusted to you who have made the decision to be godly change agents in the world.

 

 

It Starts With You —
The Parent

Jaredand Kendraknew that they both had rough lives growing up and they wanted something different for their children. With the birth of their first son, they began teaching him about his body, about sexuality, dating, and marriage. They continued this with each of their children as five more siblings were added to the family. They invited hard (and weird!) questions from their children and answered them the best they could. As a result of their honesty about their own failings, their stories of childhood abuse, and the role God played in their story, their six children avoided much of the pain and heartache that many unnecessarily face today. Their children did not all arrive at adulthood without drama or failures, but none of them had the excuse of ignorance or naiveté. As each of them walked through their adolescent years, they encountered struggles with pornography and dating when they were too young due to peer pressure. They knew though, without any doubt, what their parents believed, what their parents’ expectations were for them, and that they were responsible for their own actions before God.

 

All six of Jared and Kendra’s children eventually married and they were joyous occasions. All six of them remain faithful in their pursuit of God in their adult lives, passing the same down to their own children. Even though they didn’t have one hundred percent success in all of their choices, they each knew their parents loved them. They knew that God loved them enough to die for them. And they knew that they could choose. Through the knowledge given to them by their parents, they were better positioned to make their choices. They could clearly see the destination each choice could potentially lead to and they could “choose” with wisdom. What a beautiful picture.

 

Do you want that?

 

This begins with your one-year-old, your two-year-old, your three-year-old, and so on.Start today, if you have not already. Begin by intentionally helping each of your children craft their own biblical sexual ethic — their ETHOS.

 

Use short, meaningful conversations —micro-conversations — to plant seeds, and as you intentionally water them you will see them grow before your eyes.

 

 

Helping Your Children
Develop Their ETHOS

 

So how do we pull all of this together for our children?

 

Jeffis a seventeen-year-old young man who has been trained to live by a biblical sexual ethic. His parents prepared him well.

He is respectful of authority.

He honors women and avoids areas of temptation.

He has struggled with pornography, but has chosen to die to those desires and fill his life with better things.

He has a great relationship with his parents and his siblings.

He has great relationships with girls his age and hasn’t dated.

He has a healthy view of marriage, thanks to years of micro-conversations.

 

 

Recently, they have led to longer conversations about the reality of marriage, its struggles, and its joys. Jeff is eager to leave home, see the world, and have new adventures. He has decided on a degree from a college that will set him up to have an income that will allow him to support missionaries, invest in ministries that change the world, and support the family he hopes to have one day.

 

Jenniferis a twenty-one-year-old young woman living on her own. She is watching her friends get in and out of sexual relationships, mocking marriage, and spending money like there is no tomorrow while they mooch off their parents to pay for their cell phone bill, car insurance, and miscellaneous purchases.

 

She remembers all those uncomfortable conversations with her mom and dad that helped inform her about her body, her health, God’s design for sex, marriage, parenting, and even friendships. She is very thankful that she can easily reject the world that her friends are asking her to join.

 

She wants a more peaceful life with less heartbreak, no scares of a sexually transmitted infection, no worries about pregnancy. She has financial stability and is willing to wait for a husband who will treat her with respect and as an equal partner in marriage.

 

These scenarios are possible due to daily and weekly investment into our children’s ETHOS. Our intentional micro-conversationshave planted the seeds and paved the way for a confident, resilient, young adult.

 

Will this always yield positive results? NO.

 

Your children have free will and can reject everything you have taught them. This is also why I propose viewing this as the long game. You must do your part, but ultimately you are entrusting them to God and to their own decisions, since they are ultimately not your responsibility anyway. That is hard for most of us to grasp, believe, and live out. We tend to blame ourselves for their every mistake, but strangely enough, at the same time avoid acknowledging how we have been a negative influence. Be honest with yourself in this process. Be honest with them. You both will be better people because of it.

 

 

Short, Meaningful Conversations:
Planting Seeds

 

These are what I have been calling micro-conversations. They are not lectures. Sometimes they are a dialogue and at other times just a few sentences to plant an idea or perspective into your child’s heart and mind.

 

Remember that this is not about us waiting for them to ask a question and being able to respond. That is great and wonderful, if it happens, but is not normal behavior. The norm is to have zero conversations about these topics because children and teens will not bring them up on their own. So be abnormal and “go there.” Be abnormal and initiate hard conversations.

 

Do not wait until your daughter has a boy over and asks if she can go up to her room to study and close the door. She should know long before that even happens that this is not acceptable.

 

Do not wait until your sixteen-year-old wants to go out on a date alone and get serious with someone. Establish parameters, guidelines and steps that they need to take beforehand. Make these times early, helpful, and often — staying ahead of these crossroads where most teenagers and their parents collide. Stay ahead of this with micro-conversationsthat ultimately leave the decisions in their hands as they grow up, but leave your voice in their heads!

 

Colossians 3:23 is a stern reminder to:

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (NLT).

 

That is how we must see our work with our children—as for the Lord.

 

 

Intentionally Watering
Those Seeds

 

As you go about your days, water the seeds you planted about pornography. Walk past the fifty-foot breast in the window of Victoria’s Secret in the mall and discuss its appropriateness there, what they are advertising, and how it impacts women and men.

 

Use scenes in movies and T.V. shows to open dialogue that leads into further discussions. Use news stories to discuss perpetrators and victims. To discuss harm. To discuss shame. Use these to talk to your daughters about being aware of their surroundings and what she should do if she is ever in a similar circumstance. Consider acting it out in a mild manner, so that she automatically responds rather than freezing.

 

Use family drama and the pains their friends experience to teach your children compassion, patience, and care for another in a difficult situation. Include all ages of your children. Listen to differing perspectives.

 

Be willing to be challenged. Invite disagreement. Let them learn here with you, so they can leave your home confident, compassionate, and eager to be a positive force in the lives of others, without compromising the gospel, Scripture, or their faith.

 

 

 

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October 9, 2019  

Episode 33 - Conversation #4 with Mylie - Two Genders

Episode 33 - Conversation #4 with Mylie - Two Genders

 

 

 

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October 7, 2019  

Episode 32 - Influences & Idols

Episode 32 - Influences & Idols

 

 

 

 

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October 2, 2019  

Episode 31 - My 3rd Conversation with Mylie - Honoring Parents

Episode 31 - My 3rd Conversation with Mylie - Honoring Parents

 

 

 

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September 30, 2019  

Episode 30 - Bullying

Bullying

 

Is your son or daughter a bully or being bullied?

Were you bullied as a kid, or were you a bully?

 

I know that these are not the only two options, but it seems like the case.

 

A better question to ask of ourselves is whether our son or daughter is a leader or a follower.

 

A follow-up question is, if they are a leader, where are they leading others — toward good or evil?

 

If they are a follower, are they discerning as to who they follow and what they will do? No one wants to see their child bullied and most of us hope that our child will not resort to bullying, which is an indicator of weakness and immaturity. Instead, we want to teach them to be discerning in who they follow and in how they lead others.

 

We should attempt to inspire our children to be defenders of the weak and voiceless, so that they will stand up for what is right, speak out against evil, and be change agents for good. Based on how our children manage social media, smartphones, and entertainment, we have a clue as to how they will handle this responsibility.

 

A key role we play as parents is in how we treat other people in our lives.

 

How do you respond when a coach doesn’t treat your child the way you think they should?

 

Do you become belligerent and aggressive?

 

Do you speak critically of other children, adults, or teachers in your child’s life, which they pick up on and then mimic your disrespectful tone and stance?

 

Could they pick up on your prejudice toward minorities and act on that?

 

Parents need to engage with their children on these topics before they become an issue. It may seem like you do not need to have this conversation, but many parents are shocked to find that the behavior of their children away from home or online is quite different from what they portray to their parents.

 

Do not let yourself believe that your son or daughter would never bully someone else and so never speak to them about it.

Don’t assume that your child isn’t being bullied because they don’t tell you. Be the initiator of micro-conversationsthat take place day after day, week after week, so that your beliefs have weight with them and they know they can trust you.

 

 

Social Media

 

Today, most of us use social media in some way. Many people, though, do NOT use this tool appropriately. It is a venue for posting lies, comparing experiences, and feeling jealousy and hatred toward themselves and others.

 

Social media etiquette and ethics must be taught prior to our children having access.There should be micro-conversationsabout what one ought to post, and what is questionable. They need to be taught to distinguish between what is true and what might be a lie. They need to know that it can be misused, abused, and part of illegal activity.

 

Many teenagers and parents do not realize that naked pictures of yourself when you are under the age of eighteen is child pornography. Period!

 

Both the sender and the recipient may be liable for having these pictures on their device. It is critical that our children know this beforehand so that they do not have to deal with the consequences after the fact.

 

It is imperative that you impress upon your children in your day-to-day conversations that anything posted online or sent via email or text, is public and can come back to haunt them in the future.

 

The truth of the matter is that too many kids have killed themselves over what others have posted about them in a public forum or sent to them privately via social media. Social media has become another venue that a bully uses to harass your child. Teach them while they are young to think about the persona they are portraying online in ALL they do.

 

Teach them to be alert for others that are being bullied and to be the young man or woman that stands up for those being harmed. Teach them to use social media as a convenient tool to communicate and to connect with friends.

 

It can even serve as an extension of a face to face community where friends can share funny things. Keep it light. Help them learn to be careful about what they share — both in personal matters and about hot topics. A lot of false information is available online, and if they are going to be part of that world, they need to be wise to its ways.

 

 

Smartphones

 

Most adults and increasing numbers of teens and children have smartphones. I wonder if parents realize the power of the device they are entrusting to their kids.The computer behind the smartphone is more powerful than ALL the computers used in 1969 to get us to the moon. Isn’t that mind boggling?

 

So, what are we entrusting them with besides a $500–$1000 device? We are giving our children access to everything — to the world.

 

I call them “porn portals.”

 

On a smartphone, you can open Safari, click on Google, type in “porn” or “boobs” or “sex,” click again, and you will find text-based results. At the top of the screen are two additional choices that, if chosen, will alter your child’s life forever. The choices: “images” and “videos.”

Do you truly realize the implications of what our children are carrying in their pockets?

 

I will be the first to say that this is NOT about keeping them from everything — and I say this as a homeschool dad! This is ALL about teaching them, training them, and permitting them to steward some choices for themselves. The earlier they are taught to do this, the greater the chance they will have a strong ETHOS as they enter adulthood.

 

I have seen too many families that shelter their children and are then surprised when their child is getting around filters, seeking out videos and images they shouldn’t see, and deliberately disobeying family rules. Many have not been allowed to steward small things and now that they are older and MUST be prepared to steward greater things, they are ill-prepared. The key to preparing them rests again with hundreds of micro-conversationsover the course of time.

 

Smartphones are not bad — they allow us to track our kids and keep in touch with them throughout the day. They allow our kids to stay connected with friends and call us if they are in need or danger. They can give a child a sense of security. They are great for taking pictures and sharing memories with friends. They are not evil — they are a tool. Alcohol is not evil either, but if they are not stewarded well, both smartphones and alcohol are dangerous.

 

Who is talking to your kids about smartphones the most — you, or their friends and advertisers? Let it be you!

 

 

T.V. And Movies

 

Stewardshipis also critical when it comes to T.V. and movies because of the overwhelming choices that kids have access to. A lack of access leads many kids to seek out media elsewhere in ways that are more harmful. As you can tell, parents have a difficult task of maintaining the tension between free rein and lockdown. To do so, you must set a good example.

 

First, are you managing this for yourself in a way that you can confidently say, “Watch me?”

 

Secondly, what sort of micro-conversationsare you having about what they have already viewed?

 

I took my kids to see a movie recently that had a few scenes that were subtly sexual. I talked separately with each of my kids about those scenes. I was surprised by what they noticed.

My twelve-year-old son noticed the sexual and was uncomfortable.

My ten-year-old son just laughed and focused on the guy that was hit in the crotch — he is such a goofball!

My eight-year-old daughter thought the girl’s dress was beautiful.

 

What did your kids think about that scene in the latest movie or TV show you watched as a family?

 

I don’t know, I wasn’t there. They were thinking something though! Ask them. Let them tell you. Create a safe space to have those micro-conversations. Use specific scenes to highlight conversations about how someone was treated, about modesty, strength, power, friendship, and sacrifice. Use scenes to create dialogues about who they hope to be when they grow up, or what they would do if they were in that situation.

 

The more intentional you are about having these micro-conversationsas you are viewing various shows / movies, the more your child’s ETHOS will be crafted intentionally to look like yours. Be assertive. Be ahead of the game. Start when they are young. Any cartoon or commercial can be used as a teaching moment and an opportunity for another micro-conversation.

 

 

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September 25, 2019  

Episode 29 - Conversation with Mylie #2 - Story of Talia

Join me in my 2nd conversation with Mylie about a story of Talia from the Lies Little Girls Believe. 

 

 

 

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September 23, 2019  

Episode 28 - Intimacy Challenged & Redefined (in Pornography)

Intimacy Challenged
And Redefined

 

Consider the impact of these video clips on a viewer’s understanding and framework for what is healthy between a man and woman in marriage. This assumes that a biblical sexual ethic is vocally being taught in your home. This is not successfully accomplished with lectures and the degrading of others’ choices, but through micro-conversationsover time that lead to your son or daughter making up their mind to choose God’s design for marriage and intimacy.

 

Imagine how their intimacy will be affected after a few years of viewing pornography.

Imagine the impact that the constant download of video clips into their brains over the course of years will have on them if they decide to marry.

How will pornography influence their view of how they should treat their “love” and/or how they should be treated? This is HUGE!

 

This is why it is SO important that we become the small voice in our children’s developmental years to create a healthy framework for marriage and intimacy. They need to be able to recognize healthy touch so that they can discern abuse in all its forms. This requires that we be willing to “go there” and have thought through our own beliefs on the subject.

 

Is the use of pornography okay in marriage as a marriage aid? Is it okay to use sexual toys, dildos, props, sexy lingerie? Is it okay to engage in anal sex or mutual masturbation? Is it okay to “swing” with other couples? Where are the lines? Does the Bible have anything to say on this subject?

 

It is important to know where you stand on these issues so that you can have micro-conversationsthat guide your growing children. The Lord entrusted them to you so that you can raise them up

“in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

 

 

Sex Over Relationship

 

A final aspect to consider is where pornography puts sex in comparison to relationship. Sex trumps relationship. Relationships require time, patience, managing differences, having conversations, and compromise. Sex requires almost nothing. A lonely future awaits our children if they buy into the belief that sex is “no big deal.” If you have ever watched video clips of porn or XXX movies, then you know that there is always something important missing in each encounter, despite the drama and cinematic wizardry. It is all “doing” and completely void of intimacy and relationship. This is a million miles away from God’s design. It is not about the bigger orgasm, longer foreplay, or the experience of ecstasy. Sex was meant to bring together a husband and wife to do three things — yes three things — provide pleasure, protection, and procreation.

 

Scripture is clear about our hearts, our minds, our eyes, and our bodies.Here are a few samples:

 

Job 31:1

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman” (NLT).

 

Proverbs 5:18–20

“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?” (NLT).

 

Proverbs 6:32

“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself” (NLT).

 

Matthew 5:27–28

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart’” (NLT).

 

Matthew 6:22–23

“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” (NLT).

 

Romans 13:13–14

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” (NLT).

 

1 Corinthians 6:18–20

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (NLT).

 

Colossians 3:5

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (NLT).

 

1 Thessalonians 4:3–8

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (NLT).

 

Hebrews 13:4

“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (NLT).

 

 

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September 18, 2019  

Episode 27 - Interview with Alex: Music online

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert and his son Alex discuss a range of topics from the ads/album covers on Spotify, to evaluating the lyrics of a song and the pornography inside of music videos.  They discuss temptation, the importance of accountability, and the importance of knowing what your children are listening to and helping them to be able to make decisions about what they should view or listen to on their own.

  

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September 16, 2019  

Episode 26 - Our Children and Pornography

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses why it is imperative that parens have conversations with their children, while they are young about what is and is not okay regarding nudity, images, and video.  He also discusses how to handle a conversation with your child when you realize that they have been exposed to pornography.

For many of our children, the first time they view pornography they will not see a naked picture like many of us did. They are viewing videos of gross and abusive scenes that most of us would consider horrifying. How can we limit the attraction and draw of this powerful drug? TALK ABOUT IT! Be honest regarding its impact on YOUR heart and relationships. Explain that it distorts love, intimacy, and peace. Talk about your own struggles when they are mature enough to handle it. I know that can be tricky. Be honest. Be real. Be candid.

Pornography rewires the brain for novelty. It makes the ability to settle down with one spouse and find satisfaction nearly impossible. Today’s pornography is more shocking, abusive, and disturbing than ever before. It lacks true intimacy, yet the viewer is drawn in by the skin, bodies, and freedom that many wish for.

 

 

Nudity has a place and a context biblically. It is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. Outside of that protective relationship, nudity decreases in value, is cheapened, and erodes. Ironically, our culture sees this as freedom. It isn’t though. It is bondage.

 

 

This is why it is SO important that we become the small voice in our children’s developmental years to create a healthy framework for marriage and intimacy. They need to be able to recognize healthy touch so that they can discern abuse in all its forms. This requires that we be willing to “go there” and have thought through our own beliefs on the subject.

 

 

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September 11, 2019  

Episode 25 - Interview with Mylie: Lies Girls Believe

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert and his daughter Mylie discuss the Lies Girls Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free bible study that she has been doing with her mom and other mothers and daughters from their church.  They discussed the "Girl Drama Quiz" from the book and other resources that accompany this one from Dannah Gresh and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

  

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September 9, 2019  

Episode 24 - What Do I Say and Do When My Child Says They Are Same-Sex Attracted?

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert shares some ideas of what should you do if your son or daughter expresses they have attractions toward the same-sex

Have conversations that are shaping of their worldview, but not demanding that they conform, or feel something they do not feel. The more that these feelings and attractions can be processed verbally and not in the subconscious operating system, the better. This could be with you, a caring Christian counselor, a mentor, or a teacher.

What you and your child believe about love matters. Some people’s definition of love means that others cannot use their own discernment, make judgments, or question anything they do. This person will seldom see growth or maturity. Other people have a definition of love that allows others to use their own discernment, challenge them, and disagree. This person will experience growth and enjoy their relationships.

 Which of these is biblical? I would have to say the latter one. God loves us so much that He does NOT let us stay as we are, but expects growth, maturity, and sacrifice so that we become more and more like Christ every day. The first definition of love demands its own way and is looking out only for itself — not the other person.

So, what does care and compassion look like? Think of it this way: You are playing the long game.They may not be willing to listen to you today, so remain in their life, listen, be compassionate, show genuine care for them.

Playing the long game is staying “in relationship” so that when their life falls apart — and it does in everyone’s story — you are there and have been there as a constant reminder of God’s love.

 

Be consistent in your love for them. Wait expectantly for an opening to enter a new level of relationship where they may listen to you for the first time. Be present, even if it is uncomfortable. Choose your battles wisely, ruled by God’s love for them, and with care and compassion. What is this compassion? It is a breaking heart for someone you deeply love. It is patience. It is endurance. It is the long game.

 

 

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September 4, 2019  

Episode 23 - Interview with Alex: Smartphones

In this episode Dr. Gilbert and his son Alex discuss the responsibilities that come with having a smartphone, how their family approaches this topic, and the importance of communication between parents and children.

If you have questions, join my free facebook group:

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September 2, 2019  

Episode 22 - Same-Sex Attraction

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses same-sex attraction. Some research points out that more than twenty-five percent of adolescents will struggle with their sexual identity during their teenage years.  He addresses the common questions: Is attraction to the same sex a sin? Is arousal sin?  How much weight should "attraction" be given in any of our relationships?

For some of us, our children are going to go through this struggle. A word of caution — be careful about how you love and encourage them in this process. They probably already know your thoughts, opinions and judgments regarding homosexuality. They do not need that. They need space, questions, care, touch, and leadership.You will hopefully still have permission to lead them — at least somewhat — so take what you can at this stage. Prayerfully walk with them, offering guidance through these struggles and questions.

I would encourage you to read the thoughtful books written by Dr. Mark Yarhouse and Dr. Preston Sprinkle for a compassionate Christian viewpoint.

 

August 28, 2019  

Episode 21 - INTERVIEW - My first interview with my middle son Blaize

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert's son Blaize, who is 11, joins the podcast for the first time.  They discuss video games, screen time limits, and the importance of each family intentionally thinking through how they want to handle this in their home.  They also discuss the importance of children developing their own relationship with Christ.

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August 26, 2019  

Episode 20 - Real People We Love

 

Real People We Love

 

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses the importance of recognizing the foundation for our sexual ethic and honestly evaluating if that ethic is informed by scripture.

 

God has a perfect design for sex and intercourse, and that is in a heterosexual marriage. Teaching this to our children is critical. Living this out is imperative. We also need to explain to our children why we believe as we do, so that they can, in turn, lead others toward good things, not condemn them. We ought to be full of love, grace, compassion, care — even worry — and then reach out a helping hand and be patient for God to do His work in the lives of those we are serving, in His time, and in His manner. We are just called to be faithful. Your theology matters. Your beliefs about homosexuality matter.

 What does Scripture say about homosexuality?

There are five passages that specifically mention homosexuality, but these Scripture passages are quickly twisted and manipulated to mean something different from a traditional ethic. At this point using these passages for any debate or argument becomes difficult. What I personally choose to do is to stick to a biblical sexual ethic in a more general sense. Scripture clearly limits sexual relationships to one single place — between a man and a woman - within the committed marriage bed. There is no other place for genital sexual expression. This confirms a sexual ethic that answers questions about homosexuality. Genital sexual experiences are never permissible with the same sex.

 A biblical sexual ethic rests in scriptures such as these:

 Naked and Unashamed—Genesis 2:24–25

“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame” (NLT).

 Her Breasts—Proverbs 5:19:

“She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love” (NLT).

 Lust = Adultery—Matthew 5:28:

“But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (NLT).

 Become One Flesh—Matthew 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (NIV).

 Remain Single—Better to Marry than to Burn — 1 Corinthians 7:8–9:

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (NIV).

 Sexual Immorality—Mathew 15:19:

“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander” (NLT).

 Acts 15:19–20:

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality...” (NIV).

 1 Corinthians 6:18–20:

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (NLT).

 1 Corinthians 7:2–7:

“But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that” (NIV).

 Galatians 5:19–21:

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (NLT).

 Colossians 3:5:

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (NLT).

 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5:

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways” (NLT).

 Hebrews 13:4.

“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (NLT).

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August 21, 2019  

Episode 19 - INTERVIEW - Second Interview of my Son Alex

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert has his son Alex join him again as they continue to discuss the importance of having regular conversations with your children on the issues surrounding sexuality and the importance of being part of a healthy community.

August 19, 2019  

Episode 18 - Homosexuality

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert continues to discuss the importance of a biblical sexual ethic. The desire for love, intimacy, security and to be known are God-given desires, but they must be stewarded.

In years past, the church reacted to sexual choices that were outside of God’s design with criticism and anger, not redemption and compassion. A lot has changed over the years. One of the consequences of the church’s growth in compassion and understanding has been that young adults now increasingly believe that everyone should make up their own mind as to what makes them happy and embrace it — whatever it is.

The goal is that parents will be able to equip their children so that they can address these complicated issues with compassion, biblical truth, and a servant’s heart. My hope is that we will raise a generation that knows that the hope of the gospel is for everyone and the power of the gospel is that it transforms us all to be more like Christ.

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August 14, 2019  

Episode 17 - INTERVIEW - My first Interview with my daughter Mylie

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert has his 9 year old daughter Mylie join him.  They discuss her interests and the journal that she has started sharing with her mom where they can ask each other questions and answer them.

 

If you have questions questions, join my free facebook group at 

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August 12, 2019  

Episode 16 - Questions About Gender - Femininity

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert continues to address how we address the issues of femininity and gender. 

How would you define femininity and womanhood? Would your description include their bodies, personalities, actions, or character? Do you think of cooking and cleaning, pornography, empowerment, or something else? Your definition matters.

My goal is to expose some of your ways of thinking as a mom or dad about womanhood and femininity, so that you can lead with intentionality and forethought. Much of what occurs today in conversation about femininity is not well thought through and is reactionary. Some is abusive and offensive. I am saddened as a father and husband by the narrowing definition of identity centered on their body. The church’s definition has not been much better when it limits women with a strict definition linked solely to a woman’s role as wife, mother, and homemaker.

How do we counteract this as parents of daughters and sons who will be marrying one day?

Think about your own story and how the lies you were exposed to and believed impacted how you view God, yourself, sin, marriage, children, emotions, and your circumstances. We want out daughters’ foundational beliefs about themselves and their bodies to be based on TRUTH and not the lies she may be tempted to believe.

We should educate our daughters on the complexity of the endocrine system and that the food she eats, her exposure to toxins, and the fluctuating hormones in her body will affect her mood and outlook on life. She will battle addictions, anxiety, and the comparison trap.

Your daughter’s social connectedness is a powerful tool—and it can be both an asset and a liability. Each of our daughters were uniquely knit in their mother’s womb. Some are impulsive, and others are compulsive. Some lean toward sadness or anxiety. Preparing your daughter to know herself and providing her with the tools she will need is a critical part of raising a young woman into adulthood.

You have approximately ten years to speak into your daughter’s life as her primary influence.After that, life changes drastically. Our daughters are vulnerable and many of us are unwilling to engage in the hard conversations needed before they are twelve or fourteen. By the time they are in their pre-teen years, they are much more interested in what their peers and the media say than what you say.

It is never too late, but your tactics and approach MUST change after they reach the age of eleven, though this varies between children.

Over the years, what you have voiced as beautiful influences what she will see as beautiful. When you complain about your body, its shape, or that of your spouse, your daughter’s opinions are being formed.

This affects what they see as negative, unwanted, or unacceptable. The discussions you have driving around town influence them. Have you ever heard your child making a comment verbally that sounds offensive — even downright mean — yet you immediately realize that they are only repeating something they have heard you say? That’s painful. They are little sponges and mirrors. This is why the micro-conversations we have with them PRIOR to puberty matter more than almost any of the others we will have with them during their teenage years.

I tell my children, even before puberty, that they are their own person, make their own decisions, and, thus, are fully responsible for those decisions. This matters as we prepare them to bear the weight of more difficult decisions and their consequences.

If they forget to take something to school or camp, and you come bail them out, what are they learning? Are they learning responsibility, or that others will cover for them? Do we let small mistakes shape them, so they can avoid the larger ones down the road? 

Prepare a list of the character qualities and skills you want to see in your sons and/or your daughters when they leave your home.

List ideas for how to prepare your child to meet these goals.

Have a conversation with your son or daughter about what qualities they (and you) believe are important in themselves, their friends, and the opposite sex. What boundaries in dating need to be established before their heart is involved?

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August 7, 2019  

Episode 15 - INTERVIEW - First Episode with my Oldest Son Alex

In this episode Dr. Gilbert has his oldest son, Alex, age 13, join him in discussing gender and modeling how to have these difficult conversations.

If you have questions, join my free facebook group the Family Launch Academy @

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August 5, 2019  

Episode 14 - Questions About Gender - Masculinity

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert addresses the responsibility we have to our children to address the critical issues of gender, homosexuality, and same-sex attraction from a biblical perspective with grace and compassion through micro-conversations.

Do you have a theology and framework — an understanding — that will allow you to share with your children the beauty and intricacies of masculinity, femininity, and gender?

Much of your children’s sexual ethic is established early on through observation of the world around them and personal experience. Be a source of intentional teaching and education for them.

I am not surprised by the gender questions that are filling the airwaves today. When most of us were growing up, some of these same questions were being asked by your peers or family who were beginning to buck traditional gender roles. 

First off, I want to clearly state that the idea of two genders — and only two genders — is not a mistake. It is by God’s design. What you believe about that will shape how you lead your child. We are born male or female. A small number of people are born with ambiguous genitalia and this creates a lot of difficulty for their parents and the young person in knowing who they are. These families need incredible support and biblical counsel. The decisions to be made are also never simple.

Others are clearly born either male or female and this is determined in the womb. How this plays out individually is a different story. How you personally relate to your masculinity or femininity matters. But even more important in our psyche is how we relate to the image of who we think we are supposed to be.

My personal development was filled with angst, confusion, frustration, and questions — with no answers. This led to disturbing self-beliefs and even hatred, and this is not uncommon. No one knew that I was struggling — I told no one. I’ve learned that as parents we need to engage in these conversations with our sons and daughters because they most likely will not bring it up on their own.

Our children need to know it is okay to process ideas they have heard elsewhere. You need to be a safe place for this to occur, or secure a safe place for them to ask these questions in a healthy biblical community, with a Christian counselor, or even a trusted mentor. Don’t do this alone, but remember that you are the one on the front lines with your children.

Where do these conversations start? With you. Do not wait for them to ask. Do not wait for them to bring it up.

Engage daily in micro-conversations that draw them to a healthy self-awareness, identity, and a biblical sexual ethic.

For many, when they think of masculinity, their experience leads them to associate it with negative stereotypes of foolishness or aggression. And it is right to challenge these stereotypes and their damaging expression in our sons.

What are your son and daughter being taught about masculinity in your home?

What can you do to intentionally teach your sons and daughters about masculinity?

The first thing we should do is teach them about pornography — its allure and danger. This is NOT a one-time conversation — rather, it is a thousand micro-conversations that plant the seeds and thoughts of an intentional ETHOS in our sons’ minds. If we do not have these micro-conversations, someone else will, if they are not already.

Limit video game play and encourage and reward real-world engagement.

Make sure they are employed as soon as they are legally able. Teach and model a healthy work ethic.

Encourage dreams, passions, and interests that promote them getting outside of themselves and into the lives of others. Video games are often a selfish escape to avoid relationships with others.

Teach them an ETHOS of time management, relationship engagement, and investment in others.

Dads — we need to be engaged with our children. We are the leaders, whether we want to be or not. Be a positive example in how you talk to and treat your wife. If you are a single mom or a mother parenting with a disengaged husband, you need to intentionally seek out healthy male role models for your son to spend time with.

So much of our children’s future is dependent on our sons having a healthy, biblically sound understanding of masculinity. It is NOT aggressive, but can be assertive when it needs to be. It is NEVER domineering, but is a servant leader.

Spend some time in prayer and studying Scripture for yourself to see the characteristics of a man that the Lord boasts of and teach and model these characteristics to your children.

Have micro-conversationsoften about the sort of man you hope he will be, or the sort of man you would want your daughter to partner with for life.

 

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August 2, 2019  

Episode 13 - Talking to Your Kids about Sexuality & Gender - Ages 11-17 (Middle to High School)

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses how to talk with your teenagers about sex and sexuality.  He also discusses the crucial role of independence in your teenager's life.

If the teen years are entered into with complete freedom and no boundaries, there is a tremendous consequence to that child, their future, and society at large. If this stage of life and development is entered  into without the freedom to experiment and grow, they will also suffer consequences which, ironically, are often the same as the young person who had no boundaries.

Problems arise when parents fail to recognize and adjust for how their relationship with their child needs to change. They must be allowed more freedom and space to make choices. Every child is different and their unique needs and brain development will play into when this hits for your family, but be warned that it will come.

Adolescence does not have to be a nightmare. Paul David Tripp calls this life stage an “age of opportunity.” If this is true, why don't see those fruits? There are two key reasons that this might be the case: 

1. We continue parenting our teenager like we did when they were a nine-year-old.

2. We did not prepare them well. The truth is that in the pre-teen and teen years we are beginning to see the fruits of the kind of person who developed under our care.

By age eleven, most of our programming and beliefs are already set in place in our hearts. 

Puberty hits soon. Are they prepared for the changes? Help them enter that stage without fear and with anticipation, ready to be a young man or woman that will steward their bodies, sexuality, and gender well.

Through micro-conversations and the confidence they gain, your teen can become a leader among their peer group. It is natural at this stage of life for our children to begin pulling way away from us.  

Dating standards, rules, and a biblical sexual ethic must already be in place by this age.Your child should know what you believe and expect, but also have been allowed to express and test their own ideas.

What kind of husband or wife do they desire one day? This sounds like a crazy question, but remember, parenting as you did when they were younger is over; and we must change our approach with them and even our ways of leading, conversing, and guiding them.

The truth is that for most of our children, their peers and media will have a stronger influence on them than we will from this day forward. Does this scare you? It should. This is why all the previous conversations matter more than ever. Ironically, this is the age that most parents are beginning these conversations - “the talk” - and it is already too late.

Your son’s masculinity matters. How he expresses his masculinity, however, is as different and unique as he is. Stand ready to offer advice, perspective and encouragement for the man God created him to be when his masculinity is challenged by peers or society.

Your daughter’s femininity matters. How she uses, expresses, and lives out her femininity matters. She is unique. She needs permission to feel in her own way, express herself, find herself, and become the woman God created her to be.

Our sons and daughters need clear expressions and boundaries when it comes to gender, its expression and limits. They also need to know we love and care for others that are different than we are — male or female.  

All that happens now in your child’s life is an expression of all that you have invested in them up until now. If you have been intentional in their early years, then this stage of their life can be an amazing time of growth and maturity.

I am often asked, “How do we handle social media and technology with our children?”It is a quickly changing field and parents are being left behind in the dust. We have a responsibility though to prepare our children to steward this tool well. I have found that if I think of a smartphone (for example) as a tool and not a toy, it helps me to put it in its rightful place.

Today, the new sign of being grown-up is to have a smartphone. And just like a driver’s license put us behind the wheel of a powerful machine, the smartphone puts the world — the good and the bad — at our fingertips. Researchers are now reporting more and more ways that smartphones and other forms of technology are detrimental for our brains.

We need to model integrity for our children. Online tools have minimum ages and we should heed that at minimum. Many Christian families lie about their children’s birth year to give them access to tools they are not ready to have.

Purposefully decide what your child needs access to — and when they should have that access. Be able to articulate “why” to your teenager. I have known many adolescents who were forbidden access and kept completely away from all forms of technology and this strategy tends to NOT play out well.

What you watch, whether streaming or a movie, are key opportunities — tools for these micro-conversations. Dive in. Use pivotal, awkward scenes as the springboard for deeper micro-conversations. Discuss what happened between the characters. Ask if they have ever experienced something similar. Continue to prepare and build into the young adult in your home so that they can make decisions for themselves, and learn boundaries with movies and what they consume.

The key word for success is “stewardship.” We are responsible for our children, but the responsibility begins to shift to our teen as they prepare to leave the nest.

Our role is to provide guardrails that keep them on the road.

Remember the goal of parenting is NOT just protection, it is about preparation, and your child’s heart. 

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July 31, 2019  

Episode 12 - Topics to Cover for Ages 6-10

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert continues to discuss the micro-conversations we should have with our children when they are between 6-10 years old.

Dating and Boyfriends / Girlfriends — Be intentional about developing a frame work of thinking about dating and relationships that they can own as they mature.

What is the purpose of dating?

What does boyfriend / girlfriend mean?

What is attraction, desire, and lust?

How do they manage these weird feelings?

Prepare them to say “NO.”

Prepare them to question a culture that deems them broken or same-sex attracted if they do not lose their virginity in their teens.

Inspire them with a desire for a marriage that will go the distance.

 

More Descriptive Anatomy and Human Reproduction Lesson. This is the time that you need to be sure your child has a good grasp of basic anatomy. They need to understand the human reproductive system so that they know the effect of bringing a penis and vagina together.They need to know the “why’s” and “why nots” of sexual activities before their hormones are raging and their decision making becomes further impaired.

Help them become protectors and leaders of a healthy sexual ethic. As they live amongst peers that have a very different sexual ethic, my hope is that our children would treat others respectfully and show themselves to be people of honor. This is a huge win!

Teach your daughters — and sons — about menstruation. Your daughter especially needs to know what to expect and what products are available to her. Your sons need to know that this is NOT something to tease a girl about and how to react when a young female peer has a clothing issue during their period.

Help them know how to process visual stimulation that is arousing by normalizing it. Explain to them that their thoughts and feelings should NEVER be their guide — this is usually unreliable data.

 The “M” Word — This is a real issue. My first word of advice is NOT to be a parent that fuels shame. Be a redemptive voice. Almost all boys — and even many girls — will engage in this behavior. Be ahead of the curve and prepared by talking about it. It is okay to express your feelings and opinions, but be careful to refrain from pure judgment. This subject is covered in greater detail in chapter eight of I Can't Say That!.

Help your children to set boundaries. The family system invites this activity continually. Conflicts between siblings and parents require the implementation of boundaries. However, we as parents often do not model appropriate boundaries. For some of us, we deem setting a boundary as unloving, when it is quite the opposite. When this activity is simply operating in the background of our minds — like an operating system — it is less helpful.

The goal is to bring this out into the open via dialogue. Express where appropriate boundaries are with different individuals. You will most likely see improvements in your own boundaries at home and elsewhere. Discuss options and make decisions about what to do when boundaries are crossed.

It is not too early to talk to them about pornography.  We discuss pornography at the dinner table and it comes up almost every day in some form or fashion. It is a normal point of conversation. We want to have talked about this so much that they have an almost automatic reaction when the door to porn opens so that they are able to close it. Expose it. Talk about it.

Help your son and daughter see for themselves why this is damaging to their future selves. You cannot protect them for long. You can try things like filters and avoiding all screens, but this only protects them if they are at home on your monitored devices and networks.

Pornography works. It sucks us in because we are naturally and healthily drawn to nudity and beauty. Create an ethic and ETHOS that is redemptive and not punitive.

Remember that the door to pornography, once opened, can rarely be shut permanently. I’ve often wondered why God chooses NOT to remove this temptation ten or twenty years down the road and have come to believe that it serves as a reminder of our humanity and need for a Savior. We cannot do this alone.

If your son or daughter has opened this door — and the average age is between six and ten — be a listening ear and a place of love, compassion, hope, and care. DO NOT punish or shame them for their behavior. Please do not do that. The voice of the enemy is already at work in your child’s heart telling them that they are dirty, broken, irredeemable—that no one will be able to look past this. That will need to be addressed separately. Prepare them for the REAL world they will face today and in ten years so that they can leave your protective nest and soar.

 

Sexual Identity — Many children between the ages of six and ten are beginning to question their gender identity because they hear what others are saying about them and they believe what they hear. We must be attentive as these questions tend to be internally processed and traumatic.

You can help them by painting a realistic picture of masculinity and femininity that does not tie activities to gender. Help them see that they are their biological sex, and this isn’t tied to the activities they enjoy or personality traits. The longer they linger on questions of identify the more they will question everything. 

For some children, this confusion often centers on attraction to the same sex and they are wondering what they are supposed to do with these feelings. For others, it is a personality quirk. This may become a battle for some as they get older and wonder why they have never had a date or even wanted to go out with someone of the opposite sex. This is real.

Many, many, many preteens and teens will question their sexual identity. Most will settle it quietly and without worry or concern. Some will struggle. Many will be severely affected by these emotions and thoughts.

Help them take these out of the mind — out of the dark — and process them out loud. Many will not want to talk to their parents about this either. This is a critical place to bring in a trusted mentor and friend with a similar biblical sexual ethic who is willing to have these hard conversations on your behalf and offer your child guidance.

 

Several books have been written that can be of help to youth pastors and teens as they navigate these troubled waters. Do not do this alone. Seek counseling from a trusted, trained Christian counselor. Become knowledgeable by reading the work of those committed to a biblical sexual ethic, or attending conferences or lectures. I highly recommend resources from Godly examples such as Mark Yarhouse, Preston Sprinkle, and Wesley Hill to families facing these issues.

Love them with the long game in sight. We want to raise them in the way they should go, but for some, we may not see the fruit today or in the next twenty years. This is a sobering reality.

Encourage them to always seek God’s will for themselves by knowing His word. Help them to separate fact from feelings and identify thoughts that are intrusive so that they can consciously and intentionally decide for themselves. I know this sounds like we are talking about a twenty-year-old, but I have had conversations with parents whose children are between the ages of six and ten and they are questioning themselves and their attractions and desires at this tender age. It happens all too often. Prepare yourselves (and them) for this possibility.

Dignity / Modesty — We are teaching our sons and daughters about modesty and dignity every day and we can be intentional as we make wise decisions. Teach your sons and daughters to honor others and themselves — this is dignity. Help your children grow up aware of the impact of ALL their decisions.

Teach your sons to be respectful regardless of what a girl is wearing.  Teach them that they are fully responsible for their actions and thoughts.

 Teach your daughters when they are young to think ahead. Teach them to honor their brothers with their choice of clothing. This is not popular, yet still so important. We choose how we decide to raise our sons and daughters regarding dignity and modesty, and how those are defined.

 Abuse / Trauma — Many parents — more than we realize — must deal with abuse and trauma in their children’s lives. The best parents, even those that are aware and involved, will miss something. Harm comes in all shapes and sizes.

How do we prepare our children? You do this by giving them a voice. By giving them tools.We also give them the awareness that even trusted people may not always do good things. This is a hard concept to grasp at this age. Prepare them with skills they need to fight or flee, so that they will not freeze when faced with danger. Run through drills.

It is key that you do NOT put too much emphasis on what your children say, since they will often tell us what we want to hear. However, we want to capture their hearts as that is what will ultimately guide behavior and the choices they make.

 

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July 29, 2019  

Episode 11- Talking to Your Kids - Ages 6-10

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses how to talk with your children aged 6-10 about issues of sexuality. Between the ages of six and ten most kids are looking for answers and they are ready for those to be blunt and explicit. Give it to them. Be honest. Be casual, but remember that in every response you are helping them form their belief system about sex, sexuality, gender, and their bodies.

Your silence preaches. Also, the world is speaking loud and clear through movies, music, online videos and social media about its beliefs on these things. My recommendation is to begin at birth and have constant, continual micro-conversations so that your kids can say, “My parents were always talking to me about sex.”

During this age range, our children are absorbing the culture of the home, as well as the world around them. They begin to absorb the energy of a home at birth, but somewhere around age six it becomes more about the culture. Their vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Their opinions and personalities are not only being formed, but already becoming more solidified. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve regarding micro-conversations on sex, sexuality, gender and the various other issues they will soon face.

The average age a child in America views pornography is nine. Most of the parents I talk to believe that their child is the exception. I then talk to their children in college and those parents were wrong. Their children were normal, but were hiding behind shame, afraid of being exposed, living in fear and full of desire gone mad which is lust.

 

You MUST be the one to initiate dialogue, asking questions of your own. Keep the conversations short though so you can have them often—micro-conversations.

 

Be a constant in your child’s life.There are key areas that ought to be covered during this formative stage when most parents would prefer to ignore the fact they are soon to be young men and women.

Continue using the correct terms. It is very important that a discussion about masturbation occurs during this time of life. Are they ready? Prepare them for what they are about to feel, desire, and potentially obsess about if they are not careful.  

Focus on a more thorough understanding of anatomy— as well as what is about to change in their bodies and those of the opposite gender.

Prepare them to face the onslaught of sexual images they will notice at the check-out stands, in entertainment, and people they pass on the street. Be sure not to shame covered body parts. It is about dignity and modesty. These are not “dirty” words.

Establish a foundation regarding dating now.  Set the stage at home by discussing dating, the opposite sex, and attraction ahead of time — before they are even interested. Plant the seeds of understanding that other families and friends will expect a young boy or girl to date by thirteen or fourteen, but you want something different for them — something better — and this is why. Explain your ETHOS when they are still willing to listen to you and pray that they will take it in and adopt it as their own — for their success, health and future well-being.

Teach them about abuse more thoroughly — explain the real world. Help them see that there is evil in the world and that not everyone has their best interest at heart. Let them know that they have the right and power to choose, to say “NO,” and to stand up for themselves. Prepare them to fight back.

Help them to learn coping skills for disappointment and rejection. It is much better for them to face small hurts now and learn coping skills than to protect them from consequences and render them incapable of facing bigger hurts later in life.

Open the door for them to talk about sexual identity. Who are they attracted to? What should they do with these feelings? Is this right? Good? Okay? Biblical? Will I ever be loved or accepted or find that one person? I know that it seems like it is too soon. It is not though when you consider the culture and time we live in.

Discuss marriage on an ongoing basis. Use stories that you’ve heard, scenes in movies or TV shows, and occurrences around your own home to teach, train, and prepare your children to have a biblical sexual ethic. 

You want this ETHOS in their heart before they are making decisions with their body. You want them to have an ETHOS that is so settled and strong that when they are faced with a choice to make, it is a no-brainer for them.

 

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July 26, 2019  

Episode 10 - Talking to Your Kids about Sex - Ages Birth -5

In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses the importance of beginning conversations with our children earlier than we probably thing.  He has observed that most parents arrive at these conversations too late, if they ever get to them at all. When these parents have “the talk”, they find that it has little impact on their child’s beliefs or behavior as their sexual ethic has already been solidified. You MUST be ahead of the curve if you want to be influential. 

In their first five years, a child is investigating the world and absorbing everything around them. These years are a critical foundation for all that is to come. What happens, and what does not happen, in these years matters. Healthy touch matters. Vocabulary and ethic building occurs, even if very little language is yet present. During this stage of life, children are absorbing the “energy” of the home and environment

 

Here are some pointers that will make this very doable — even fun.Remember, you are shaping a future dad or mom, husband or wife, lover, leader, and adult — even at age two!

Use every incident possible as a teaching moment.

Use correct vocabulary. When we use nicknames for body parts instead of using the appropriate term, we run the risk of creating shame around that part of the body. It is also beneficial to know the proper terminologyfor their body when they must speak to a doctor or if they are ever in a position to have to speak to someone about a traumatic event.

 Be honest if you do not know the answer to their question, but then look it up and tell them what you found.

Challenge the stereotypes — have your son cook and clean and your daughter learn to turn off the electricity and replace a plug or light switch. Help your daughters gain skills and strength and help your sons grow in sensitivity and gentleness. Do not let them miss the opposite of each of these either. Help them see the need society has for men that are strong, yet gentle, and women that are tender with incredible strength.

 

Remember that our children’s preparation is on us as parents.We must remain vigilant on the front lines for our children’s sakes. We need to remain current in our knowledge of what is being portrayed in the media and advocated for in public policy so that we will be prepared to address issues our children will be facing.

 The impact will be the greatest if you begin micro-conversationsin their first few years of life. This is setting the stage for what is normal. Will they still be awkward? Potentially, yes. Do they have to be? No. A lot of this will depend on our own comfort level, confidence, and conviction as we remind ourselves why we are having these hard conversations.It is because we want to be PROACTIVEin preparing them for what is to come.

 

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