Do we have to talk to our kids about the Supreme Court decision on marriage? Yeah, we do. For some ideas on how to do that, stay tuned to BreakPoint.
Well, we did it. On Sunday night my wife and I decided to sit down with our daughters, who are 10, 8, and 6, and talk with them about the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
I’m guessing there are a lot of other parents out there who did too, and perhaps even more who are still wondering whether or not they should. It’s an uncomfortable subject to say the least, and you may feel your kids aren’t old enough for it.
As Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission says, though, we don’t always get to choose what topics we talk about. Sometimes events force our hands – just like 9/11 forced discussions on things like terrorism and war.
And now, with this ruling on marriage, we find ourselves in the ongoing war of ideas. Which means that our kids are seeing and hearing things about same sex marriage and homosexuality. If not from us first, then they are in their schools, and certainly on TV. Think of the Wells Fargo ad just recently. In other words, the culture is having the conversation with them. We need to as well, and we need to do it first. Silence is no longer an option.
One thing my wife I focused on with our younger kids is God’s design for marriage from the beginning. This is such an important topic—and not just in the context of the Supreme Court ruling. We need to help our children understand why God created families and marriage in the first place. And we need to be prepared when they start to notice the difference between boys and girls and start asking questions like “Where do babies come from?”
So when we talked with our kids Sunday night, we started with Matthew 19—when the Pharisees came to Jesus, and asked Him whether it were lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus responded by pointing them back not to the Law, but to the creation—long before the Law was given. “Have you not read” He asked, “that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female” and “that for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?”
So Jesus takes the Pharisees back to the book of Genesis. And that’s where we picked up the story from there, reminding our girls that God said it was not good for Adam to be alone, and that Adam needed a helper.
Animals were not a suitable helper, the text says. And actually, another man wouldn’t have been a suitable helper either, because what Adam needed help with had to do with having a family. And a family comes when moms and dads get married and get together, and so on.
So we discussed the brilliance of God’s plan for man and woman, the brilliance of His design for the family.
And what about the Supreme Court decision? Well, we talked about how in this fallen world, governments sometimes make bad decisions. I reminded them of court decisions that reinforced Jim Crow laws—which they had learned about when they studied the Civil Rights movement. We talked about the disastrous consequences of no-fault divorce laws. What happened on Friday was another example of a bad decision. And as soon as I described Friday’s decision, my middle daughter spouted out, “Well, that’s just ridiculous!”
Now, I didn’t want to downplay the fact that there are obviously significant differences of opinion on this. But I did want to reinforce what Nancy Pearcey calls our kids’ “bologna detectors.”
Our children naturally understand the importance of family. Of moms and dads. It’s built into them. The only way they stop believing in the family is if they have had a traumatic experience, or if they are talked out of it—which is exactly what our culture is doing.
So, as much as we’d rather not, now is a great time to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision. If you need a primer, I recently partnered with my friends at Axis to produce a four-part teaching series on gender, marriage, and the Bible. If you come to BreakPoint.org, we’ll point you to where you can watch these on-demand teaching videos.
And tomorrow on BreakPoint, we’ll discuss an even trickier subject: How do we talk teens and college-age kids about the Supreme Court’s decision? Please tune in!