Be careful of timelines

Have you ever been sitting somewhere with one of your children and had something said or seen something on TV that you really wished t...

Have you ever been sitting somewhere with one of your children and had something said or seen something on TV that you really wished they had not heard? Or had a friend say something in front of them that you really would have rather them not?? In some ways this violates your timeline. You have not chosen yet to discuss these things with your son or daughter. Later when they ask about it you are forced to answer a question or discuss a topic that you weren’t quite ready to discuss.

Several weeks ago I was brought face to face with this reality in a very serious way. Part of my story is that I got married when I was 17. My wife was 17 as well. We had our daughter when we had only been married about five months. I will let you do the math on that. This is not a story I have shared with my daughter yet. We have made no attempts to hide it in any way. We are very intentional about the fact that we are going to at some point have that conversation with our daughter, but we want to share with her OUR story in our way. This person made a sarcastic remark that painted a very negative picture that we do not want her to have. Luckily for this person I was not there.

Also very luckily it did not quite click with my daughter. So in many aspects no harm no foul.
As we as churches are really starting to discuss and talk about more difficult things from stage we really need to be aware our audience. In a culture where we are inundated with sex, pornography, and divorce which usually predicated on one of the first two issues they are subjects that need to be talked about and processed through. I am a firm believer that if we don’t talk about them publicly them we do not empower people to deal with them privately.

I also know that services are littered with children and students whose parents have not yet dealt with these issues. Or have not yet discussed these issues with their kids. I believe that we need to be careful how far we go on the stage from our weekend experiences. We need to be cautious of violating parent’s timelines for discussing heavy issues with their children. If we truly believe in partnering with parents don’t we owe it to them to be aware of their timeline.

Not to mention that hearing that information while knowing that your children are hearing it too puts a whole different spin on it. At that point you aren’t listening for your personal health but you are more uncomfortable and processing it through what you child is hearing.

Here are 3 Questions to process through when deciding if the topic is too much for a mixed audience.

Do we provide environments for all ages that this could be an issue for? – I think if you are talking about sex in the context of marriage and what is acceptable and what is not then it is best to provide something through middle school. If mom and dad have not yet had a conversation with their 6th grade child then that topic will surely rush them to. It turns it into a forced issue instead of a parent driven healthy discussion. In my opinion if you provide an environment for the age groups where this topic could be an issue then you have done all you as a staff can do. From that point it is on the parents.

Is this an issue for a mixed audience? – This is a dangerous question, but I will tell you my point of view on it. Relational health in marriage is a topic for mixed audiences. Sex in marriage maybe not. Now I could be off about this and totally be in family pastor mode and being overprotective. But I really think that marriage series about relational health are great. Marriage series about sex are bound to violate timelines even when handled with the utmost care.

Have I discussed these issues with my Child? – for me this is a good and bad question, but I would say for certain if you have not  discussed this with your child then you should NOT discuss it from stage in a mixed audience. For the most part leaders in the church should be leading the charge on having real and authentic conversations with our children. If we have not gone there then chances are there are going to be a lot of parents that have not either.

Honestly I have really struggled through this post. I would love some feedback and any thoughts that you might want to offer. This is still fresh for me so I could be way off base.

Would you take away or add anything to my questions??

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