In an effort to learn more about the Catholic church’s teaching on contraception, I’ve been reading a recommended book called “Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching.”
As I have a boy who’s headed into the preteen years, I am starting to ponder how to frame sexuality to him in a way that is not harsh but promotes Catholic moral values. So I’m interested in this topic not just for myself but for guiding my children as well.
I am just at the beginnings of learning about this, but already I think I’ve come to quite a revelation about the teaching about sex and marriage within the Catholic church, something I wish I’d been taught as a young girl growing up.
I love the church’s whole concept of self-giving — lack of focus on self but instead on others, in every aspect of life. Let’s do for others instead of getting stuck in the mindset of what I can do to make myself happier/feel good/bring pleasure. I think this little nugget in itself makes all of life so much more meaningful and happier.
I see many people stuck in the idea of “if I just lived here, won the lottery, had this job, hadn’t made this mistake, etc., I’d be happy.” It’s not the outside that makes you happy — it’s not where you live, if you have a pool, if you make a certain amount of money, if you’re debt free; happiness is found internally by finding God. Sure, these material, physical things can give us a moment of pleasure, but it’s fleeting; find God and you find eternal joy and a remarkable tolerance to suffering and pain.
How does sexuality play into this? Think about it in those same terms — how can I make others happy? Instead of thinking about personal pleasure, it should be about how can I use this God-given gift to make a relationship more intimate and more fruitful. How can it bring us closer together? If you’re stuck in the idea of let’s do this because it feels good physically and that’s it, that’s a set up for unhappiness and loneliness.
That’s how I’d like to frame sexuality for my sons. It should be for the glory of God and that means for bringing a couple closer in marriage or for sacrificing it to God for a greater glory. I know teenage boys are so very lustful and so I wonder how that will play out. I can only suggest they ask God to take that lust and turn it into energy that can be used for good instead.
I would love to hear from other parents out there how you teach sexuality to your kids within the framework of the Catholic church without making it a total YOU CAN’T DO THIS and more of THIS IS WHY IT’S RIGHT TO DO THIS. I’d love to hear your comments.