Is there any more awkward conversation than “the talk.” Discussing issues of sex and sexuality with your kids is, for most of us, an uncomfortable task. It requires thinking carefully about how much to say, when to say it, and how to say it. Thankfully Luke Gilkerson has devised a helpful devotional to equip parents and guide them through this awkward but so important conversation. The book is a good tool for parents because it sets frankness within a Biblical context.
The Talk is a “series of seven devotional Bible studies to read with your child” (1). Designed with children ages 6-8 in mind, the book walks parents and kids through 7 basic or foundational concepts on male and female anatomy, sexual intimacy, conception and development of babies in the womb, and sexual sin. These are the building blocks of a healthy Christian sexual ethic, and help parents to establish with their kids the appropriate sexual values. All are set within the framework of a Biblical worldview, pulling from Scripture and inviting parent and child to begin each session with a meditation on Scripture and end with prayer.
Luke Gilkerson is a great guide on this journey to educate our kids. He is not only a parent himself who has had these very conversations with his boys, but he has been actively thinking about and writing about sexual ethics for years. He served for eight years as the Educational Resource Manager for Covenant Eyes, a Christian accountability organization which focuses on helping believers fight the enemy of lust. He speaks with real clarity on the Scriptural teaching, and a real awareness on what is at stake in not educating our kids. Luke has seen the extreme damage of sexual sin in the lives of Christians men and women across the country. He knows the importance of making a solid foundation. He urges parents in his introduction not to wait to educate their kids. While many parents are fearful about saying too much too soon, Gilkerson points out that in our current context it is more likely that we will say too little too late. Our kids are learning about sex long before they know their parents sexual values. Don’t wait, he insists.
The books seven chapters guide parents through the building blocks of a basic sexual ethic. Chapter one establish the created uniqueness of men and women. He is direct, frank, and straight forward in his discussion of the difference of male and female anatomy, even giving readers an anatomically correct diagram to help their children understand the difference. The diagrams may be off-putting to some, but it is important that Christians not be embarrassed about the human body. God made us this way and we want to help our children rightly understand the differences. Generic education that refuses to actually speak and point out the differences will not help to equip our kids within our current world. Frankness within a Biblical context – one that does not glory in graphic depictions or crude language – ought always to be preferred from prudish generalities.
chapter two focuses on what sexual intimacy is. Here Gilkerson does some of his best writing, giving parents clear and helpful language to communicate this delicate subject to kids. He explains the process of sexual intercourse in a way that both honors God’s creative design and yet keeps the conversation at a clinical level. He speaks frankly but not dramatically about intercourse, using appropriate terms and offering clear definitions. Parents squeamish about this discussion will find Gilkerson’s guidance exceedingly helpful.
Chapter 3 focuses on the conception and development of babies. It picks up naturally where the lesson on intercourse left off, celebrating the uniqueness of God’s design. Here children will learn how a baby is born, how it develops over time in the womb, and the clear value of life in the womb.
Lessons four through seven focus on why sex should be saved for marriage. Chapter four discusses the “one flesh” union of man and woman and the bond that sexual intimacy creates, making it a unique relationship reserved for a husband and wife. Chapter five explains what adultery is, and chapter six explains sexual assault. Chapter six will, no doubt, be a difficult chapter for kids and parents to discuss but it is crucial to educate children on this reality. Gilkerson handles it delicately and gives kids encouragement to always tell their parents when/if they are inappropriately touched or talked to. Chapter, seven, then closes out the book by explaining that believers are to honor God with their bodies, for they were “bought with a price.”
The book treats introductory matters of sexual values with delicacy and yet frankness. Gilkerson exposes kids to important concepts in a safe way, and gives parents a user-friendly guide to these important conversations. Set within a Biblical framework he helps all to see God’s glorious design and creativity, and yet God’s clear commands on sexual expression. This will not sufficiently educate your children on all that they need to know, but it is an impressive and welcomed starter kit for further education. Complete with questions to ask your kids at the end of the chapter and a “What’s Next” conclusion for parents. I highly commend The Talk to all godly parents.