by Mary Jo Thayer
God has a sense of humor, and I am proof of it. First of all, I am one of the least likely persons on Earth to choose homeschooling, but that's another story. Secondly, and most important for this column, I am not a shy person. Just ask my children about all the friends I have made while standing in line at the grocery store. I am not sure how I got this way, as I grew up in a family who cared not to hear from me. I was the youngest of eight, and everyone else in my home was quite sure I knew nothing of value. Still I persisted in offering my opinions and advice to my siblings, some of whom who are about 20 years older than I. This did not go over well then. It still doesn't.
Yet, I tend to wear my feelings and emotions on the outside, and I simply cannot help it no matter how hard I try to change. I've nearly given up and have come to the conclusion that this is the way God made me, and I'm giving Him all the credit. I am quite outspoken about my faith and the one virtue which I believe to be the pivotal virtue for Christians: chastity, which in short is the self-mastery of the passions out of love for God, others, and self. My lack of shyness about this topic has evolved into something rather important for one of the avocations to which God has called me: being a chastity speaker for parents and teens. Who knew?!
I have had a love for teens ever since I was one. I also knew that the virtue of chastity was critically important, although I might not have perfectly lived this out as a young person. Anyway, by the time I was a senior in high school, I had begun to write about sex education. In college, I continued to write about it, and I haven't stopped yet. This brings me to my children.
Do you have any idea what it is like to have a mom who is known as "the chastity queen"?! Mine do, and they all take it pretty well. God bless 'em! Even when I have been asked to speak to their peers, as I was for my son's Confirmation class comprised of about 65 hormonal eighth graders. He did not slither under his chair with a beet red face like a lot of 14-year-old boys would have done when their mother has just told their same sex peers to remember that the girls they know are someone else's wives, not theirs. My daughters, too, have tolerated my message. In fact, they have not only accepted this calling of mine, they have embraced it. One of my daughters even participated in one of my talks. It can't be easy when your mom is telling a bunch of young ladies that they are gifts, and that they shouldn't be unwrapping those gifts before it's time, while holding up the game of "Trouble" wrapped in see-through red cellophane.
Yes, I am constantly reminding young ladies that it is important for people to see who they are, not what they are, as I wave my arms in an hourglass shape in the air. I am even likely to say these same things, while shopping with any of my four children, to department store clerks who have a penchant for dressing like prostitutes. Oh, dear! The things that come out of my mouth when I am on a roll!
So, you can see where this might present some children with issues about their mother. However, I believe that because my children have been homeschooled and have received daily doses of the aforementioned message that they became rather attached to it and desensitized to the embarrassment of having their mother say it out loud, even to perfect strangers. Well, maybe not to strangers. They have been a little embarrassed, at times, by the store clerk thing. Oh, well.
That God. He is a funny guy. Who knew that the little sister who knew nothing would end up knowing something? I sure didn't. All I know about it now is that in order to stand up and talk about human sexuality to a bunch of skeptical parents or wide-eyed teens in a church's sanctuary, one can't be shy.
Used with Permission.
Mary Jo Thayer