I’m wrestling with communicating appropriate ways of boys and girls interacting.
On one hand, I want to teach them the sanctity of marriage. It makes just as little sense to start teaching principles of purity when they hit puberty as starting to teach girls modesty when they suddenly look provocative in a bikini. I want biblical principles explained on a preschool level. Maybe I should start by looking at biblical principles, eh?
At the same time, I don’t want to make my children on edge any time they are near someone of the opposite gender. I don’t want them afraid to extend a hand to help someone up. I don’t want them squealing if someone hugs them. I don’t want them being rude if someone has a different idea of purity than we do (although telling somebody “No thank you” is going to be uncomfortable, no matter how kindly one says it).
When I was a preschooler, it was a given that I kissed only my daddy. When the pastor of our church picked me up one Sunday and said, “Can I have a little sugar?” I sputtered in his face. I didn’t know what to say, but I did not want to kiss him. I also remember getting teased by my extended family for kissing a boy in first grade. I didn’t really kiss him; I was behind him in line and kissed his sweater. He never knew what happened.
The problem is, the simple “we don’t do that” and “it’s better to wait until you’re a mommy or daddy” hasn’t been effective. The gleam in their eyes says “but it’s fun” and I know I’m not being convincing enough.
They’re figuring out the difference between physical affection between mommy and daddy, and physical affection among immediate family, and the physical affection among extended family. This is an extended puzzle for me. I do not have any quick answers, but I am confident that God will give me the wisdom I need as I seek Him first.