John and Mary are keeping company.
The relation between these two young people is for no small part a sexual relationship. God has created us thus. This relationship must also come under the sphere of Covenant living and be conducted “in His fear”. Perhaps these are things which are less often discussed, but this does not remove the fact that they ought to be considered.
Shall There be Sex-Information?
Writes a famous adviser: “I have hundreds of records in my files of men and women who are very bitter toward their parents because the latter failed to give them correct sex information early in life. But I have no record of anybody who has protested because his parents gave him too much sound sex information or because they gave it to him too early”. He added: “You are prudish if you cannot discuss sex casually with your children”.
Someone might say that sex is a matter too delicate to be discussed, and that therefore the less said about it the better. Such people forget that, as all other things of life are obtained by means of information, so also this. But they also forget that sex information is being given continually, via hundreds of different channels. In all likelihood your children receive their information from such vulgar sources as the street, obscene pictures, lewd talk, etc.
It is not a question of: shall they receive such information? But the question can better be put this way: shall they receive it from a vulgar and questionable source, or shall they receive it from a pure source?
Shall they gather it from observation, from their playmates, from the streets or shall they gather it from the pure source whence comes all their information?
This matter is frequently brought up for discussion. Shall it be treated in our schools? Shall our young people receive sex information along with their regular school studies?
Marriage (or divorce) statistics reveal that a high percentage of young people enter marriage without proper knowledge of what was involved. Of late courses are given for the benefit of young people who contemplate entering the state of wedlock.
What Saith The Scripture?
Scripture touches on this matter also, either directly or indirectly. Against the background of the sins of heathendom, Scripture repeatedly admonishes that we walk in sanctification, also in this aspect of life. Consider for instance this notice from the Word of God: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour, not in lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who know not God”. (I Thess. 4:3-5). This is a significant passage. It speaks of INFORMATION, for it says: that every one should KNOW. We must know also how to POSSESS our “vessel”, it must not possess us. It must be possessed in sanctification.
The catechism, in explanation of the Seventh Commandment exhorts us to live our sex life out of the principle of regeneration. The Marriage Form exhorts us to live godly in the state of wedlock. To live godly in that state requires among other things that, “we avoid all uncleanness and evil lusts.”
If then the Seventh Commandment exhorts us to live chastely in holy wedlock and in single life; and if the Marriage Form applies Scripture to the effect that we avoid all uncleanness and evil lusts, it is evident that we must have a certain and positive knowledge concerning this important phase of life. In single life as well as in wedlock we are to live chastely and temperately.
It is said sometimes that there is no greater undertaking than marriage, yet there is nothing undertaken with so little preparation as marriage. Many people enter it with little more than a natural knowledge. Many enter upon it with a gross misconception. The reading of the Form is a fine exhortation but it comes a little bit late if it shall serve as an education for people who are to enter the married state-
Who Shall Inform Them?
Certainly the church must be times touch upon this phase of life. As often as the minister comes to the Commandment VII in the Catechism there will be a sermon about the various aspects of sex life. The Church should not become prudish. The subject is a phase of our natural life and the Light of the Gospel must shine upon our pathway here also. The subject must be treated with due respect for chastity and reverence (as every other subject ought to be) but the pulpit does not preach the whole counsel of God if it leave out this phase.
Our schools are bound to treat it also. I mean our Christian schools, where Christian teachers can handle it. Let not the filthy world inform and educate us concerning these matters. For they are an adulterous generation and they shall not teach our children their ways. Even though they have some regard for decency and good order, they are adulterous, saith the Scripture. Christian teachers are in a position to give information as God’s Word gives it.
I believe however that the task of instructing the young people in re these things is primarily the duty of the home, the parents. It is a duty which first of all lies upon the home, and the sex instruction they receive ought to originate in and proceed from the home.
We mean, this instruction must come from the fathers and the mothers. Blessed are the sons who have fathers and the daughters who have mothers.
Nowhere can these intimate and delicate things be so objectively and chastely treated as between mother and daughter, father and son. This reduces the danger of vulgarity and removes the glamour and undue excitement which the treatment of this subject could arouse. It removes the glamour of indecency and brings our youth face to face with certain realities of life. This induces them to see this phase of life in its proper proportion. There and then matters can be discussed objectively and piously and they may there be taught in the ways of the Lord. While thus they may be warned for the pitfalls and dangers that surround their path.
Let the parents provide this information wisely and opportunely. Let them go as far as Scripture goes. Do not hesitate to remind your sons how Joseph conducted himself when Potiphar’s wife allured him; don’t forget to mention how Jacob waited fourteen years for Rachael. Many are the directives Scripture gives. . . . use them opportunely.
We can teach them also by way of contrast. The world in which we and our sons and daughters live is an altogether filthy world. Every day their eyes see and their ears hear filthy things. Here we must come with the antithesis. Say “no” to this corruption. Thus the world does, let us not imitate her nor conform ourselves to her. Thus the world conceives of sex, let us not conceive of it that way. In this fashion we can provide the required information. Let not our homes fail in this respect.
Which presupposes of course that our parents are taught of the Lord themselves. If they are not spiritually educated, how shall they give spiritual education?
The school of experience has taught them much, if they at least have sanctified hearts. They have a working conception of what God requires of us, also as pertains to this realm of life. Let them pass on their heritage to their sons and daughters.
This will, by the grace of God, do much to help John and Mary keep the straight course which leads to an honorable marriage and a pious wedded life.
More work for us as parents. But we ought more and more to realize that parenthood involves us in immense responsibilities. While we will discover in the meantime that exactly in assuming these responsibilities lies our parental joy and happiness.