The best of times and the worst of times.
Recently, two Talkerias were held on consecutive nights. The people who attended were amazing. Good-hearted. Smart. Thoughtful. Many shed tears as they recounted their narratives. Some for the very first time.
Two stories came out of them that I’m going to share. One terrifying. One terrific.
A Terrifying Tale
One of this weekend’s attendees shared this heart rending story.
Recently, she had accompanied a close friend to pick up her son at the airport. He had been sent home early from his full-time mission. Why? Multiple…suicide…attempts. The last one was nearly fatal.
Why was this young Elder so distraught? Masturbation. He was not able to eradicate it. Heaps of shame and guilt had brought him to the brink of death.
How tragic. How long will it take for this kid to overcome the shame that was totally unnecessary? This natural and normal practice was not the sin. The sin rests squarely on the hands of the shaming church.
A Terrific Tale
At the end of the next meeting, one of the men said, “Sam, thanks for helping me and my son with Bippity-Bop.” I asked him to explain. Later that night, this response showed up.
Growing up, I was a pretty good kid. I did not curse, I was ‘chaste.’ I was an Eagle Scout. I genuinely looked for ways to give service. I was also kind. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the under dog. I have literally never broken the word of wisdom. I am not saying this to brag. For this to make sense, I think you need to know who I was. I mean I had perfect attendance at Seminary and served on the Stake Youth Executive Committee.
And…do you know what I thought of myself? I was garbage. I loathed myself through my teen years and my early adulthood. I was right up there with the sons of perdition. My bishop told me that if I could not get my filthy habit under control, I would be excluded from a mission. And…that no woman would ever want me.
Anyway, I resolved sometime back, that this would not happen to my sons. In the last year, my 14yo came to me and was pretty upset. His oldest bother had been caught in the act by his mother (my ex) and step father. They threatened to take his bedroom door away and lots of other shamey stuff. He is teased about it a lot. The 14yo was upset about how his brother was being treated. This allowed us to have a conversation about it. I assured him that it was normal and healthy and what the ground rules were: do it in private and clean up after yourself.
I have doubted myself a lot since that conversation and wondered if I was leading my kid to hell. Your posts gave the assurance and talked through the logic enough that I am glad for him and for the conversations we have been able to have. Since then, we have had a conversation about this not being anyone else’s business. If he needs to remind anyone of that, including the bishop, I will back him.
In a somewhat humorous twist, he is now hoping he gets asked so he can say, “Dude, what kind of a sicko talks to kids about that?” However he handles it, I am on his side. He won’t be getting any shame from this house. The great thing about not shaming my kid is that we talk about all sorts of things, now that the door is open. Thank you!
Will you open the door to a potentially terrifying tale of shame for your child?
Or will you close the shaming door and protect your young ones from a damaged childhood?
It’s up to you. It’s your call. It’s your responsibility.
“Talk to Your Kids About Masturbation” …click HERE
“Bippity Bop, A Sin It’s Not” …click HERE