Summertime Part II: When I Learned about Sex….

With the ending of summer, I decided to do a series of posts reflecting on what the summer months taught me, that my years in school never could. If you missed the first post in this series, you can read it by clicking here.

I can’t remember which summer it was that my Dad decided he needed to talk to me about sex. But I do remember a point in my life, just before I jumped into the rapids of puberty, when almost overnight the girls I played with went from being long-haired boys, to females, and eventually to women. Their eyes took on color, their faces took on structure; where once was a simple human form, now had curves and dimensions. It is a strange thing to go to bed one night with girl friends, and wake up the next day, surrounded by potential girlfriends.

Recognizing the times and the seasons, my parents decided to orchestrate “the talk” with me under the guise of a father-son fishing day. We woke up early on a Saturday, and made our way to the state park. After an hour or so of fishing, we put the poles back in the car, and decided to go for a hike. Ten minutes in, we found an outcropping of rocks overlooking a bend in the creek, and agreed to sit for a while. A few minutes passed with small observations about the creek and comments about the poor fishing. Finally my Dad began the conversation with the words, “so….you are getting older now….and….I wanted to talk with you for a few minutes about sex….”

RockCreek

For the next several minutes I sat and listened to Him talk, explain, warn, and define. It was an open and frank conversation filled with fascinating answers to questions I did not know to ask yet but certainly appreciated the heads up. It wasn’t that I needed him to tell me what sex was, as much as I needed him to fill in the gaping holes left from culture, television, church, and the discussions that went on in the back seat of the school bus. What I needed was someone to explain the framework, the context, the plan and purpose of sex. I needed to hear that it was a gift, and that every good gift has been given by God and meant to be enjoyed. That the physical and spiritual are inexplicably intertwined so that one will always affect the other.

As we talked it suddenly dawned on me the number of adult figures in my life I was convinced had already had sex – teachers at school, Sunday school teachers at church, my school bus driver with the missing front teeth, that man with the cane living two doors down who yelled at us for walking on his grass…..THE PASTOR AND HIS WIFE?!?!?

This is what summer is all about….discovery, rites of passage, insider information that suddenly changes your view of the world and reconciles in your mind what your body has already started telling you. I may have been educated during the school year, but I learned so much during the summer.

And just like that, the talk was over. We walked back down the trail, found our way to the car, and headed home. I felt older, as though I was on the inside of a secret society, possessing information that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. I walked past couples holding hands and I nodded to them, a smirk on my face, as if to say, “I know….I know….” At the time there was absolutely nothing more I could do with the information I had been given, but it was good to know and I was sure it would come in handy some day….like Monday in the conversation happening in the last seat of the school bus.

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Letter to my Children: It’s not Boring….It’s Summer Vacation. {Repost}

Dear Evan, Adeline, and Malina

You are about to enter in to an amazing time of year….summer vacation. The days are long, the weather is warm, and the bedtime is negotiable.  You will soon have even more time to play and explore, and hopefully….time to be bored.

I used to love summer vacation so much when I was a kid. Every day I would walk outside to find friends riding bikes, playing ball, or chasing each other for no particular reason.  Some days we would play all day, moving from sport to sport and backyard to backyard.  But other days, I couldn’t find any of my friends around the neighborhood, and so I was left to being bored.

But in being bored a world of opportunity opened up for me.  I didn’t realize the that what I considered boredom was actually freedom. Freedom to make up alien worlds and fight bad guys, freedom to ride my back with the wind at my face. Freedom to push down a row of corn in order to create the perfect hiding spot.

storm

You will probably come to me one day during the summer and complain that “you’re bored” and have “nothing to do”. Just know that your Mother and I will not try to “script” every moment of your summer….create a schedule for you that constantly keeps you moving from one planned activity to another.

I know that you (like me) will not like it that much at first .  When you’re young you spend lots of time running from boredom, only to look back years later and long for one of those long, uneventful days.  But in your boredom you may have the privilege of standing before a summer thunderstorm as it rolls toward you, or spread out in the grass, lay on your back, and stare up at the sky….realizing how small you are in this great big universe. In your boredom you may just learn more than you every could in your busyness.

It’s not boring kids….it’s summer vacation.

Love,

Your Dad.