A few years ago, while I was preparing breakfast, my five-year-old daughter asked a simple question-simple to her.
“Dad, how come we can eat some eggs and other eggs have baby chickens in them?”
I pondered this question. In no way was I ready to broach the topic of fertilization at her delicate age. Let’s be honest…I didn’t ever want to broach the topic of fertilization. I know how important this conversation is, and I’m aware that the conversation is inevitable. However, a part of me is quite comfortable with leaving that topic permanently suspended on the horizon.
After several seconds of creative thought, I responded, “Married chickens! Married chickens have baby chickens. If the chicken isn’t married, it lays eggs we can eat.”
I was extremely impressed with my response and my daughter accepted it. I avoided the topic for a better, brighter day and I instilled a sense of morality within the universe of domesticated foul. Of course, there were extraneous variables that would arise:
Variable 1-Foghorn Leghorn: When this familiar rooster comes “I say, I say, I sayin’” onto the screen and into the chicken coop, I cringe. “Daddy?” my daughter asks, “Is that rooster married to all those chickens?”
Variable 2-Children of the Unmarried: God forbid the morality I so delicately infused into poultry should be carried out amongst us humans. Apparently, my daughter thinks it should.
Variable 3-A Trip to the Farm: Lots of calves-only one bull! My daughter asked my friend (the farmer) the following question and I cringed: “Where are all the daddies?” my friend led my curious daughter out into the field to show her their ONE bull. I could see the gears spinning in my daughter’s head. “They all just have one daddy?” I found myself trying to find the door to the secret passage. There has to be a ladder around here, a gate, or maybe I can just bury myself in the manure. Thankfully, in what I can only describe as divine intervention my friend answered her saying, “No, there are other daddies. They just don’t live here right now.” I’m divorced, so my daughter’s understanding with non-traditional families helped her process this information to my favor.
As we made our way from the cattle yard to the chicken coop, I was prepared for my universe to come crashing down. Thankfully, the chickens pecking at my daughter’s boots, and the fact that there wasn’t a rooster in sight, helped stave off further variables. Yet, more variables arrived-and with more frequency–my sister’s pregnancy, commercials on ABC family, inappropriate coming attractions prior to watching Cars 2.
I’m beginning to experience less anxiety as I prepare for the inevitable conversation about sex. At this point, I’ve concluded that the transition from “married chickens” to copulation may be simpler than I previously imagined. The key behind this inevitable conversation is love. Here are some basic steps:
“Married chickens” represents a bond of love between the rooster and the chicken. Kids understand marriage to that degree. Therefore, when we initiate this discussion, we can begin there. When two people love each other and want to have children, they make a commitment to each other and promise to be honest and loyal to one another. That’s what marriage is…a promise to commit to each other…through thick and thin. The first step in talking about sex is to establish the importance of commitment. Commitment is a necessary foundation for a healthy sexual relationship. Once you’ve established love and commitment as the foundation, you can enter into all the other facts and topics involved in this conversation. Talk about anatomy, reproduction, intercourse, birth control, oral sex, petting, masturbation and mutual masturbation, sexual orientation, peer pressure, self-image, STDs, and rape. Finally, establish a relationship of honesty and trust with your child. Respect your child’s privacy and make it obvious to your child that you love and respect him or her and that your truly believe your child will make good decisions. Express the importance in developing a committed relationship before he or she has sex, but let your child know that you will always be there…no matter what.