Jonathan Edwards is quoted with having said the following:
We have had great disputes how the church ought to be regulated; and indeed the subject of these disputes was of great importance: but the due regulation of your families is of no less, and, in some respects, of much greater importance. Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief of the means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual. If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be likely to prosper and be successful.
For those who know me know that I am a huge proponent not just of home schooling, but of family worship, which truly is something very neglected within families of the church now. There is one topic which I think families are too often ill-equipped to deal with in a solidly Biblical manner, even families that do regularly worship together in the home. This topic falls under the scope of sexuality. Here, I’m not talking about Biblical Sexual Education, as some might think. Well, not directly. I’m talking about teaching children to respect their bodies from a Biblical perspective in such a way that they learn what is appropriate, inappropriate, and what to do in uncomfortable situations. I know that I have been ill-prepared for this talk. Until now…
The short children-style book “God Made All Of Me A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies” by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb is a remarkable tool in helping both children and parents navigate the topics of appropriate and inappropriate touches, gestures, words, and other things from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
The book opens with a letter to parents and/or caregivers of children, laying down the foundation for why such a book truly does need to exist. The authors write in this letter that, “We want parents and caregivers to be smarter and better prepared than those who would want to harm the child they love and want to protect.” (GMAOM) And on the facing page, it gives the bone-chilling statistic that “One in four women and one in six men have been or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.”
As the book goes on, it focuses on God’s Word in the areas of how He made us, all of us, from our heads to our toes, during that time of Creation in Genesis 1. And, more importantly, when God called everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31), that included our bodies. Using the first two questions of a Catechism (I believe it’s adapted from A Catechism for Boys and Girls) which are “Who made you?” and “What else did God make?”, two very poignant questions regarding our bodies, along with all of creation.
And it goes on from there as telling the story from the perspective of a family of four, mom and dad along with the children, Kayla and David. It goes on to explain “God made every part of your body and God called every part of your body good. Some parts of your body are for sharing and some parts are not for sharing.” (GMAOM).
It covers a lot of ground, but does so in such a way that children will be engaged, understand, and hopefully ask questions regarding the material. It covers appropriate touches and inappropriate touches. It also touches on the fact that it’s okay to not want to be touched or touch, even when it is an appropriate way.
The book is an incredible resource that I think all Christian families should have at their disposal. We live in a time where people flaunt their sin and the world praises it for them. More than ever, we need to be there for our children and those we may care for in some capacity, as at some point, we may be the only one’s there advocating for them.
I must say that I have written about this book before (HERE) and have read through it several times. However, today was the first time I went through it with one of my children, my oldest daughter. She enjoyed the book and the time we spent together, as it was myself, my wife, and my daughter. She was engaged, asked questions, understands appropriate versus inappropriate, as well as what private parts are and that she should get someone she trusts immediately if she is made to feel uncomfortable by someone else about those parts, or anything at all. Seeing and hearing this understanding brought me, overprotective dad, a great sense of relief.
Now, in conclusion, short of isolating your child from the rest of the world (and maybe not even then), there is no 100% effective way to prevent your child from being a victim of sexual abuse of some sort. Be vigilant. Communicate with your child. Pray for your child. And lastly, be proactive with your child by not waiting for something to happen before you have this talk with them.
Remember, God Made All Of Me, and He calls us “very good.” (Gen. 1:31).
Note: For my quotations from the book, there are no page numbers in this book, so I just did the initials of the main title of the book in parentheses).