Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Raising Jackson: The Talk
Jack has always been a "lady's man." Let me tell you a little story.
When Jack was three years old, he attended a darling, little preschool called Love N Laughter, an old house converted into a school many years ago. At that time, I happened to be working at the school, teaching the two-year olds. It was a warm, spring day and the kids were headed outside to play. As I led my little ones out to the playground, I saw Jack standing in the middle of the yard, transfixed on something in the near distance. I called to him once. Twice. Nothing. I walked towards him, following his line of sight to an "older" four year old girl. Long blond hair, blue-green eyes, wearing a summer dress over which was a jean jacket, the collar turned up, like she was a "Pink Lady" in training. As she walked from the swing set to the slide, she pulled a tube of chap stick out of her pocket, applied it to her little, bow-shaped mouth, smiled at my little Romeo and kept walking.
I cleared my throat. "Jack?"
"Mooooooomm," Jack sighed as she passed him, "did you see those lips?"
One night, when Jack was in the fourth grade, we were driving (just he and I) in the car and got on the subject of girls. He wanted to know if it was okay to kiss them. The great thing about Jack is that he really will talk about it with me. He might be uncomfortable, he might roll his eyes or sigh, but he will talk with me. A good sign. So we talked. And decided that maybe he wasn't quite ready for that. Yet.
Last night, the subject of girls came up again (definitely one of Jack's favorite topics). Now, at 12 1/2 years old, Jack is finishing up his first year of middle school. So, the talk is changing. His older brother, just days away from his 15th birthday, was in the room, too. Anyway, Jack told me that he and his friends saw "a used condom" on the parking lot outside of school. Oh, Dear Lord. At the middle school? Are you kidding me? Should I take some comfort in the fact that at the very least there was a condom? Ugh.
(Author's 1st side note: Can you understand that this single mom has much to impart to her two wonderful boys, and that she needs to tread carefully? And that these two boys still require different conversations as it relates to this topic?)
I've always told Jack that he should treat a girl just like he would want a future boyfriend to treat his little sister. And last night, I added two ideas to that:
#1 Any girl he dates is someone's sister. Someone's daughter. And someday, she is going to be someone else's husband. Respect that.
and #2 Somewhere out there is Jack's future wife. And until he meets her, she will date other boys. How does he want those guys to treat HIS future wife? Something to think about.
Jack looked at me and said "I know mom. Keep it in the fireplace." This is what they were taught in PSR - that sex is an act of intimacy between a husband and a wife. Meant for them alone. His older brother and I both nodded, liking Jack's analogy.
After his brother left the room, I told Jack that he is most likely going to hear different information from different sources - namely his peers. And that if he has any questions, he should just ask me. He might be embarrassed, I said, but I'll be a little embarrassed, too. And that's okay, we'll just be embarrassed together. At least we'll be talking, and he'll get the right information. He promptly informed me that he'd just ask his brother. Oh, Geez. Please, Jack, I said to him, just ask me.
"Okay," he said. Then, he smiled and added, "I'm gonna go on Facebook and tell my friends that you just attempted to have 'the talk' with me." (Geez, is nothing sacred?)
(Author's 2nd side note: I then gave Jack the really bad news: We're not done. This is an ongoing conversation. Like, ongoing for the next six years. Good times!)