By Michelle Kazmierczak
Earlier this week, an ordinary Tuesday morning at the breakfast table quickly turned into a moment that confronted me with one of the challenges of parenting Christian children in a secular culture.
I sat down at the table with coffee in hand and nonchalantly asked my 7-year-old son if he was excited about his upcoming field trip. I asked him which parent won the chaperone lottery to go see Charlotte’s Web. He innocently responded, “One of Taylee’s moms. She has three. I don’t know which one is coming.” To which I abruptly replied, “What?!?” He reiterated his response. My older two children, who are 10 and 11 looked at me inquisitively. My husband was upstairs getting ready for work, so I was on my own.
What does a Christian parent do at that moment? My older children also have classmates with same-sex parents in their classes and I have thus far skirted the issue with them. On this ordinary Tuesday morning, I felt the need to confront the issue because of how plainly my 7-year-old made the comment. He did not seem disturbed, confused, or inquisitive about the fact that a little girl in his class had more than one mom.
The media and culture is norming this sin in the lives of our children. I want my children to not only recognize sin, but to be offended by it so their consciences will not be dulled to sin. How then, does a parent address the issue of homosexuality and same sex parenting with their children in a way that teaches them that such behavior is sinful and contrary to God’s commands and natural law?
Admittedly, I did a befuddled job of telling my kids that having two parents of the same sex is not God’s plan for our lives and is sinful. I pointed them to God’s creation of Eve, a woman, from Adam’s rib to compliment him and be his companion. He didn’t give Adam another Adam. I also pointed them to Noah’s Ark and told them that God sent a male and a female of each species, not two of the same sex. I didn’t delve into how marriage should be a reflection of Christ’s love for his bride (not groom) the church. Perhaps I erred in telling my kids that what we discussed should stay at our breakfast table. In truth, I feared that they would share our discussion with their friends and I would be called into the office to discuss the issue with the vice-principal who wears a rainbow flag Indiana pin on her shirt.
The events of the morning weighed heavily on my heart and mind that day. I called my Pastor and he shared in my frustration. That is to say, children at such a young age are confronted with issues, whether they realize they are being confronted or not, that we were not confronted with until we were much older and more firmly rooted in our faith. My pastor shared Scripture, provided well-reasoned advice and reassured me that children will long for what they see in their own home.
My husband and I daily pray for and work diligently to ensure that our children are brought up in both the knowledge of the scriptures and the one true faith. We try to attend to their religious education with the same fervor that we approach their school studies and outside activities. I had the benefit of being educated in the Lutheran Schools from preschool through high school. Sixteen years of daily religion class, weekly chapel services, church and Sunday School and a lifetime of faithful parenting by my own parents has provided me with a firm understanding of what the LCMS believes, teaches, and confesses. Yet, I lack confidence in my ability to properly equip my children, within the framework of their innocence, to recognize and process highly charged social issues on which Christians find themselves in the minority.
Many Christian parents must deal with issues concerning homosexuality much sooner than we would like to. My children, like many other Lutheran children, are growing up in an area where we have no LCMS schools and they attend public schools. I want my children to be a light of the Gospel to those around them and freely share their Christian faith. At the same time, I do not want to make them my apologists at such a young age and subject them to criticism and the ostracizing that inevitably will follow if they speak the truth on such socially divisive topics. Undoubtedly, many LCMS children will go to middle schools, high schools and universities where they will be a minority in their beliefs about homosexuality and same sex parenting.
The question from parents to the church is two-fold: First, how do we address these issues at such tender ages so that society does not norm a sinful union in the minds of our children? Secondly, how do we teach them when to boldly confess their faith and the truth in an age of faithlessness and anti-truth?