Parents in skit at recent Family Honor program at St. Michael the Archangel
in North Carolina.
Aaacckk! You’re racking your brain for a response, since nothing in your high school biology, PE, or religion classes (or your college English, Chemistry, Math, Law, Engineering, or Mass Communications courses) prepared you for how to talk to your kids about THIS …
… THIS is when your 7-year old tells you that when he was at his friend’s house, they watched a movie on the computer that showed two naked people in bed.
… THIS is when you’re in the car with your 10-year old and a news report comes on about a coach (who your family knows) who has been convicted of sexually abusing some of his players.
… THIS is when your 14-year old daughter tells you that one of her friends thinks she’s a boy trapped in a girl’s body and that she plans to ‘transition’ to a boy.
…THIS is when your 17-year old challenges you to explain why two gay people can’t be married, since ‘love is love.’
…THIS is when you feel like you can’t talk to your children about choosing chastity because you weren’t chaste when you were a teenager … or in your 20’s.
The Right Words and The Right Time
Family Honor knows that it can be so very difficult to find the right words – and the right time – to talk about sexually-charged topics with your child or teen. But we also know (and our faith teaches us) that this is a primary duty for parents, and if you don’t find a way to speak truthfully and openly with your children, someone else will. And what they say – or do – may be harmful to your child and their future.
So, How Does Family Honor Help Me, as a Parent?
Family Honor would never presume to take your place and assume your parental role. Rather, we’re here to assist you in speaking about sensitive issues with your children in a way that respects your authority as a mom or dad. That’s why we require that, for any Family Honor program for which you register your pre-teen/teen, you are required to attend with them, and that means you are given …
1 … an opportunity, a starting point, and a shared experience:
When you attend one of our parent-child or parent-teen programs, you ‘come away’ from all the distractions of your busy day to spend focused, uninterrupted time with your son or daughter to talk about some of the most important things in life. In our Real Love & Real Life program, this includes the questions: Who Am I? and What Is the Purpose of My Life? The fact that you are willing to set aside some time to spend with your son or daughter for this program speaks volumes to them and underscores the fact that you think these are important conversations to have. If you aren’t sure where or how to start a conversation on sex or dating or chastity, this is the place.
One parent remarked after recently attending a Family Honor program: “Usually parents never speak openly to the kids and teenagers about sexuality, but this program enables everybody to speak freely. Thanks.”
2 … a ‘new language’:
For most families who go through our programs, it introduces them to a new ‘language’ that can give them some hopeful reference points for the future: Theology of the Body. The dignity of the human person. Male-Female complementarity. SPICE. Virtue. Chastity. Our parent-child or parent-teen programs bring up a variety of topics that are designed to spark conversation during the program, and give you a ‘common language’ to refer back to in the days and months to come. Likewise, in addition to adding some humor, some of our ‘skits’ can be a handy reference point for future conversations between parents and children, as in: ‘Remember the Honeymoon skit?’ or ‘Is your backpack getting kind of heavy?’
3 … time to ask questions and respect modesty:
Because we want to make all program participants feel comfortable (and not embarrassed) when Family Honor presenters deliver the fertility appreciation segment in our two parent-teen programs, we separate the large group so that dads and boys are in one room and moms and girls are in another, with presenters of the same sex in each room. This is not only an important example of modesty in action, it makes it easier for young men and women to ask questions during the Question and Answer segment of the program(s). Likewise, our programs are age-appropriate, so that young people are getting the information that is most beneficial for their stage of development. And since YOU are there as a parent, if your child raises a concern or question after the program, you will be able to address it with them!
4 … the benefit of other parents’ experience:
Virtually all the men and women who present Family Honor programs are parents. During the programs, they openly share some of their own experiences as parents regarding what has worked and what hasn’t in child-rearing. They also recall some of the experiences they had growing up. Our presenters continually bring a rich, varied, honest perspective, especially in the Parent-Only groups. As one parent remarked at a recent program: “Hearing other parents expressing their experience with handling their youths – very informative.” (In addition, our presenters go through extensive training and preparation prior to delivering our programs!)
5 … encouragement, empowerment, and practical resources
Our culture seems to imply that it’s the music, the media, the celebrities, who have the most influence on your children. Not so. It’s YOU. Research over the past 20 years in particular continues to show that it’s parents who have the most impact. Not only do parents “play a significant role in shaping adolescent sexual behavior” … it is has been shown that, “with regard to different methods of faith formation that impact emerging adults’ ability to sustain a relationship with Jesus Christ … faith formation by committed parents has the greatest impact on most variables measuring this outcome.” Our Family Honor programs will not only give you lots of resources and information, they will encourage and empower you as well.
6 … a faith-based experience
If you’re like most parents, you not only want your child to experience a well-done program with knowledgeable presenters, you want it to be in a faith-based setting. Moms and dads (and parish decision-makers, too) can rest easy knowing that Family Honor is grounded in traditional Catholic teaching on sex, love, marriage, and family.
Family Honor is happy to help with the ‘heavy lifting’ on sensitive topics. Want more info on how to bring one of our programs to your parish? Call or email us today: 803.929.0858 or firstname.lastname@example.org