7/18/13

The Talk . . .

A friend Tweeted this morning that she had just had "the talk" with her daughter who looked her in the eye at the end and summarized the whole thing had been "awkward." I'd bet it was. But it is a totally natural thing for parents to have this talk with kids and for everyone in the discussion to be weirded out.

There are lots of schools of thought on this (and, no, this is not going to turn in to a rant about our conservative process to teach abstinence-only education and the dangers and risks that policy leads to when it meets the real world (oh, wait . . . it maybe just did)) and there is no right/wrong way to have "the talk" so long as it is handled in a calm, respectful, and comfortable way. You can pace it out. You can do it all at once. You can have one parent handle some stuff and the other parent handle the other stuff. I decided many years ago that - for our family - if Joy would talk about hygiene and hygiene products with our daughter (given her first hand experience) I would happily handle all the rest. I'm sure there will be more sharing of the PowerPoint clicker (I'm kidding, I won't really use a PowerPoint deck . . . probably just a PDF on my iPad . . . kidding).

I'm not looking forward to this day or talk (my little love will be seven in a week so I've got at least three more years, statistically, to get ready) but I know that I'm not in any way scared of it and I hope that it is not awkward for any of us but I know it won't be awkward for me. Here's the tentative plan . . .

Put a tire swing in the biggest tree in the backyard. Have her sit on said tire swing. Push her on it and, as we swing, just sort of start. No. No. That is NOT true.

Seriously . . . here's how I plan to do it. Keep it super simple:

1) It is your body and your life. You get just one of each. Use both wisely. From there we'll delve in to anatomy, decisions, pressure, pleasure vs. responsibility, etc.
2) To thine own self be true.
3) You are only as smart, beautiful, wanted, loved, and accepted as you consider yourself. There is NO other validation coming in this part of your life.
4) When you are ready and truly love and trust someone, you will know it is time. I'm not going to preach about marriage waiting. Statistically less and less people are getting married, those that do get married older and older, and . . . frankly . . . I don't like being a hypocrite.
5) To thine own self be true.
6) It is your body and your life. Summarize everything above. Remind her, one more time, to be true to herself.

I'm sure there are going to be nervous and anxious moments and decisions for my daughter as she ages and matures. I hope they are far enough in the future that she can be ready to handle them. I hope that her mother and I are connected enough with her and have taught her enough confidence and poise to handle them well and I pray, every day, that she'll never find herself in want, need, confusion, or distress that she doesn't talk to/text/call/Skype/or Google Hangout me (and/or her mother) first.

We started having THAT "the talk" seven years ago and I hope to never have that "the talk" end. Even when she makes me a grandfather - 30 years from now after her Olympic gold medals are covered in dust and she has finished her PhD and establishing herself as a fully tenured professor at an Ivy League school.

Or whatever path she chooses . . . Yes. Her mother has THAT "the talk" with me all the time, too. To her own self be true - I'm reminded.