As many of you probably know by now, Miley Cyrus put on quite a show at the MTV Music Awards on Sunday night. Thanks to her performance, I learned a new word and have had some interesting conversations with my girls. I could have lived my whole life without knowing the word “twerking,” but I am thankful for the conversations with my girls.
Just to be clear, we did not watch the MTV Music Awards performance. (To reveal the depth of my fuddy-duddyness, I’m not sure I can even find MTV on our TV.) But because her performance made the news on the radio, my girls had all sorts of questions about what went on Sunday night.
So, Monday, I spent some time explaining to my girls what I knew about the performance. I’m not going to get into all the things that were wrong with her performance Sunday night. I think that’s been hashed over enough. If you want to read a fabulous blog on the subject, check out I am Rihanna’s “A Letter to Miley Cyrus.”
What I am going to do in this space is talk about how Miley’s performance opened up an opportunity to talk honestly with my girls about sex and about how sex can be used for so many things other than what God intended. It also gave us the opportunity to talk about the pitfalls of fame, money, and a life lived without God.
We have had “the talk” with both of my girls. They’re both aware of both the mechanics of sex and God’s plan for it. Since we’ve had that original conversation with each of them, we’ve had a bunch of follow-up ones. In our house, much to my daughters’ embarrassment, sex is just another topic of conversation. We don’t shy away from it, and we don’t pretend that one conversation with our kids is enough.
As evidenced by the MTV Music Awards Sunday night, sex is everywhere in our society. It’s used to sell everything from cars to flowers. By the time our kids are in middle school, they generally know more about sex than I knew until I got married. If we refuse to talk about it at home beyond that single, big conversation most of us have with our kids, then the vast majority of information our kids are getting on the subject comes from their friends and the media. I guarantee that those sources of information aren’t giving your kids the message that God created sex as an amazing thing for marriage only.
What we need to do is to talk to our kids constantly about sex. We need to be the ones delivering the information about sex. We need to be the ones reinforcing the original message we’ve given them. We can’t expect the world to do it for us.
What we can do with all those messages our kids are getting about sex from the rest of the world is to use them to our advantage. We can make it a policy to address the things that our kids see and hear. Instead of trying to ignore those messages, we can use them as tools to continue the years-long conversation we need to be having with our kids about sex. We can take even the wrong messages about sex this world is sending out and use them for good in our own homes.
So, while my heart bleeds for Miley Cyrus, for the little girl that we watched grow up on TV, I’m thankful that her performance gave us just one more opportunity to talk with our girls about the right and wrong uses for sex. I’m grateful that it gave us one more opportunity to have an open conversation about living our lives to follow God. I’m happy that we got the chance to talk about right and wrong choices in life.
And I want to encourage you (when your kids are old enough) to not make conversation about sex a one-time deal. Make it an open-ended conversation, one that you come back to over and over and over again. The world is bombarding your kids with messages about sex every day. One conversation is not enough to overcome that bombardment. Look for opportunities to use what the world is saying as a springboard to help your kids understand what God has to say. This subject is simply way too important for us to remain silent.