These Are Our Bodies: Talking Faith & Sexuality at Church & Home - Preschool Parent Book

These Are Our Bodies: Talking Faith & Sexuality at Church & Home - Preschool Parent Book

by Jenny Beaumont, Abbi Long

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780898690149
Publisher: Church Publishing Inc.
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Series: These Are Our Bodies
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 80
File size: 1 MB

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SESSION 1

WE ARE GOD'S CREATION

God created humanity in God's own image, in the divine image God created them.

— Genesis 1:27 (CEB)

In This Session

Lamb of God, one who was once a small child with parents, open our hearts to your love, our ears to your call, and our minds to your ways, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We are created so that we may be caught up in this, so that we may grow into the wholehearted love of God by learning that God loves us as God loves God.

— Rowan D. Williams

On Your Own

In this session, you were invited to reflect theologically about your child's sexuality using the creation account as a starting place. You were invited to claim the Imago Dei as a declaration of the Scriptures that includes all people, no matter their age. You also explored your identity as God's creation, beloved children made in God's image.

You were introduced to these affirmations:

• We believe that we are all called "to receive, nurture and treasure each child as a gift from God."

• We believe we should include children in all aspects of the Church, demonstrating to them the love of God.

• We recognize that very young children have short attention spans.

• We believe that the most powerful faith formation we can offer our children is modeling our spirituality to them.

We shared some key ideas. Look at them again for a second time.

• All of us have special bodies.

• Our bodies have been growing since we were first born and even before that they grew inside of our mommies until we were born.

• Our bodies are special because God created them special.

On Your Own

Below is the story you shared with your preschooler in the session. You may want to tell this story again to your children. You can adapt it however you wish. Use stuffed animals or other props that are already in your home. Let your child help you tell it.

God Created — A Story to Tell at Home

In the beginning, God created.

God created the heavens and the earth.

[Point up at the ceiling for heavens, and point down at the floor for earth.]

God created light.

[Hold up a picture of the sun and stars, a plastic glow-in-the-dark star, or another symbol of light like a candle.]

God created night and day.

[Pretend to sleep, and then pretend to wake up.]

God created water and land.

[Pull out a small cup of dirt and a small cup of water.]

God created plants, animals, fish, and birds.

God blessed all of these things and said for them to grow and make more plants, animals, fish, and birds.

[Use your own props here.]

After all of these things were created, God created humans. God made humans in God's image.

[Hold up a mirror.]

God blessed the humans and told them to grow and make more. God looked at what God had made, and it was very good.

Teaching your child about bodies and God happens not only from the perspective of a parent, but also as a person who has been created by God and called good.

Take time to reflect and journal about the following questions.

What were some of your feelings when you considered that you are created by God?

Circle any of the following words that you felt. Add others as you think of them.

awestruck

grateful

peaceful

overwhelmed

unsure

hesitant

humbled

apprehensive

loved

Describe where you think each of these feelings derive from.

Fill in the blank.

It is __________________ to claim God's special mark on my life.

It is __________________ to claim God's special mark on my body.

Describe your insights after this activity.

How do you see your child in a different way when you remember that they, too, are God's creation?

Part of being a parent is the gift of personal growth. We learn as our children learn. We take on new things and learn to let others go.

What things about your sexuality or your body might you need to accept?

Which ways of thinking about your sexuality or your body might you want to change?

Consider practicing by saying this to yourself: "I am God's child, beloved and good." Consider saying it to others, "You are God's child, beloved and good."

With Your Family at Home

A song to sing with your preschooler:

God Created Me

Sung to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"

God created all of me, all of me.
Bodies are a gift from God, yes they are!
Prayer

The following is a prayer to say with your preschooler(s):

Thank you, God, for making me.
Thank you, God, for making me.

[Point to your eyes.] My eyes.
Thank you, God, for making me.
CHAPTER 2

SESSION 2

WE ARE ACCEPTED

The only way I know how to teach anyone to love God, and how I myself can love God, is to love what God loves, which is everything and everyone, including you and including me!

— Richard Rohr

In This Session

Merciful God, who draws near to us like a mother hen gathering her brood, fill us with the peace of your presence, that we may find support in this group as we consider the children in our care, in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

A STORY FROM NUMBERS 27:8 – 11

A very long time ago, there was a man with five children. All five of his children were daughters. Upon his death, the daughters were left to wonder how to carry on, for despite all that their father had acquired, it was not theirs to claim as daughters.

They developed a plan. Their plan was to go before the leaders of their people. Their plan was to break the pattern of how daughters should act and take action on their own behalf. So they stood. They stood up and walked to the very center of their people where only men were gathered, only powerful men. They walked to the place where sacred things were kept, but only men were allowed. There, they spoke.

"Our father died in the wilderness; he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin; and he had no sons."

Then, they took a deep breath, and made their claim.

"Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father's brothers."

Their plea was taken by the leader of their people to God, and God heard their cry. God heard their cry and brought forth justice.

For it says, "You shall also say to the Israelites, "If a man dies, and has no son, then you shall pass his inheritance on to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father's brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. It shall be for the Israelites a statute and ordinance, as the Lord commanded Moses."

Consider this story as it applies to your role as a parent. You provide care for a young child. You want love, hope, and justice for that child.

The story challenges us to see that even, and especially, our religion can create norms related to our bodies, our gender identity, and our gender expression.

Think about your child and reflect and journal about these questions:

1. Do they need to hear that God accepts them? How will you insure your child hears that God accepts them?

2. Do they need to know that whether they one day discover that, no, pink is not their favorite color, they are still accepted by their family and by God? How will they know?

3. What other discoveries might they make about their gender identity and gender expression that you already suspect?

4. How can you remind your child they are accepted just as they are?

GENDER NORMS

Children, even very young children, begin to grasp what is acceptable in a society and what is not.

What this story gives us permission to do for our children is declare that what is right for them is that they be who they are, fully, no matter whether that fits the way others might think or not.

Think about what gender norms your child may have already grasped. Write some of them here.

In what ways do the gender norms limit your children?

Do these norms encourage your child to be their full self? How do these norms restrict your child?

What value or values do you want your child to know about their gender?

Do you feel supported in helping your child be their full self?

How do you feel, or how would you feel, if your child's expression of their gender differs from the norms of our society?

How do you feel, or how would you feel, if your child's gender identity differs from that of their biological sex?

BLESSINGS

One of the gifts that parents can give their children is a sense of being accepted and being blessed.

Complete the sentence below.

How might you speak it to your child as a way of bestowing a blessing on them?

Look for a time today where you can express your acceptance of your child just as God made them.

I want my child to know they are accepted for who they are because ...

On Your Own

In this session, you were given the opportunity to explore and challenge gender norms.

After this session, record some of your own wonderings and questions.

Consider the questions given in the session again, this time about yourself.

1. Do I need to hear that God accepts me?

2. Am I still accepted to God if I do not conform to societal norms? How do I know God accepts me?

3. What discoveries have I made about my own gender identity and gender expression?

4. How can you remind yourself of your acceptance before God, just as you were created?

5. What other information do you need to know about gender identity and gender expression?

With Your Family at Home

WHAT I WEAR

The messages that children receive very early in life lay the foundation for a life-time of healthy body image. Right from the beginning, teach children that their bodies are perfect just the way they have been created. Help them to feel beautiful and confident by focusing on healthy choices rather than on body weight. Avoid complementing children on the things they wear. Instead talk to them about how they seem confident, comfortable, or happy. Say, "You make that shirt look great!" instead of "That shirt makes you look great." They look good no matter what they wear. Read Psalm 139 together. Let the words wonderfully created warm your soul.

CHAPTER 3

SESSION 3

WE ARE ENTRUSTED

If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. We love because God first loved us.

— 1 John 4:12b, 19 (CEB)

In This Session

These are the questions from "Parents are Key" on page 180 in the These Are Our Bodies: Foundation Book.

Reflect and journal on these questions as you discuss them with your small group.

1. If you are a parent, what have you spoken to your children about in terms of sex and their sexuality? What worked, and what didn't work? Where could you use some help?

2. If you are a church leader, have you offered classes or conversation with parents about human sexuality? What worked, and what didn't work?

3. What types of sexuality education are offered in your local school system? At what age or ages is it offered? What is the content?

Here is list of suggested things to teach your preschooler:

• God loves our bodies.

• In the beginning God called everything "very good." (Genesis 1:31)

• God gave us male and female friends.

• Our bodies are beautiful, and our parts have names. Teach and review the names of their body parts.

• Name the parts of your child's body that only the child, mommy or daddy, and the doctor may touch. Instruct the child to tell you if someone scares or hurts them.

• Basic concepts of pregnancy and birth including egg, sperm, uterus, how long a pregnancy takes, how the baby is nourished in utero, and how a baby is born.

• Before a child starts kindergarten, make sure he or she knows how a baby gets "in" and "out."

Which suggestions are you most comfortable with?

Which ones are the hardest for you as a parent?

On Your Own

In this session, you considered the appropriate time to have conversations with your child and hopefully as a result, feel more empowered to teach your preschooler about God and sexuality.

Parents begin to teach their children about bodies and sexuality form the minute they are first held. Consider your role in modeling and teaching your child about God and their body.

Lord God, Creator of all and giver of good gifts. We thank you for parents to whom you have given precious children to love and guide. Help them to hear Your voice as they continue their journey as parents. Help them to know Your presence and peace. Amen.

Journal some of your own thoughts about each of the suggested things to teach your preschooler found previously in Session 3. Think about the discussion you had with your small group.

Which of these suggestions do you think you have already started to teach your child?

Which of these suggestions have you not yet taught?

If you had to make a timeline conveying these ideas, what would you say you want to teach your child first? Second?

Homework

Read chapter 24 from the Foundation Book in preparation for the next parent session.

Prayer

Almighty God, we thank you for creating this beautiful world. Help us to be good stewards of all that we have been given. We thank you for friends, family, and community. Help us to care for one another. Thank you for giving us children to raise and teach. Help us to teach your ways. In Christ's Name we pray. Amen.

With Your Family at Home

MY BODY! NO!

Teach your children the standard names for their anatomy. Name the parts of your child's body that only the child, you, or a doctor may touch. Talk about who the child can tell if someone scares or hurts them. Tell them that you will also listen to them. As a refresher, ask, "What would you do if someone hurt or scared you?" Continue to practice this scenario throughout childhood and even into the teen years. Empower your children to say, "No! Stop." Teach them to tell a trusted person (like a youth director, clergy person, counselor, teacher, or nurse). Ask them to name the person that they could go to if they were hurt. Teach them to tell more than one person, if the first person doesn't listen.

CHAPTER 4

SESSION 4

WE ARE BEGINNING THE CONVERSATION

Don't be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God's will is — what is good and pleasing and mature.

— Romans 12:2 (CEB)

In This Session

Almighty God, giver of good gifts, we thank you for parents. We are grateful for their faithfulness and their steadfast hand as they guide, teach, and love the children within their care. Give them wisdom to follow your will and pass along the gifts they have been given; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In your small group talk about chapter 24; include these questions in your discussion:

What are some examples of myths that you would have to re-teach your children?

How could you restate the myths to make them truthful?

On Your Own

In this session, you considered your role as the primary sexuality educator of your children.

Think again about that statement. Read it here in the first person.

"I am the primary sexuality educator of my child."

What feelings arise in you upon making this statement?

Circle the words that you feel. Add others as you think of them.

empowered

frightened

heavy-laden

hopeful

bold

overwhelmed

scared

intimidated

responsible

upset

permitted

Do you feel confident in claiming the statement: "I am the primary sexuality educator of my child."

What tools or information would you need to shift your feelings, if they are not positive?

TERMINOLOGY

These Are Our Bodies: Talking Faith & Sexuality at Church & Home Foundation Book suggests using correct language for body parts. When parents use the correct terminology, concepts do not have to be unlearned or retaught. We want your child to have the basics on which they can build their understanding as they grow.

Tips

• Remember to approach the topic in a matter-of-fact way.

• Use simple language and clear concepts that will not have to be unlearned. One family taught their child that babies grow in the stomach. When the child learned about the digestive system, she was very confused. Aim to tell your children the truth as best as you can.

• Use correct terminology. When parents use the correct terminology, concepts do not have to be unlearned or retaught. You want your children to have the basics on which they can build their understanding as they grow.

How does this resonate with you?

Would using correct terminology be difficult for you? Why or why not?

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "These Are Our Bodies for Preschool Parent Book"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Jenny Beaumont and Abbi Long.
Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction,
SESSION 1: We are GOD'S CREATION,
SESSION 2: We are ACCEPTED,
SESSION 3: We are ENTRUSTED,
SESSION 4: We are BEGINNING the CONVERSATION,
SESSION 5: We are SHAPING and MOLDING,
SESSION 6: God HELPS ME GROW,
Resources,
Prayers,

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