Explaining the facts of life to a son or daughter has always been challenging for a mother or father but, in recent times, it’s become even tougher.

Bombarded with sexualized messages in advertising and music and on television and the Internet, a child doesn’t have a problem realizing there’s a physical aspect to all this. What the child isn’t going to absorb from those sources is that there are also emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects, too.

In our uncertain world you can be certain of this: Sexual content in the secular media is going to increase because sex sells.

What was considered daring only five or 10 years ago has become, or quickly will be, old hat. Yes, part of that constant push is capitalism’s drive to make more money, but certainly another part is plain old evil.

Sometimes the devil doesn’t go about like a roaring lion looking to devour us (1 Pt. 5:8). He’s more like a multimedia advertising campaign that, with enough repeated images, mentally desensitizes us. The immoral moves from wrong to neutral to good.

So, abandon all hope ye who enter parenthood? No. Thanks be to God.

Here are two hopeful points to consider:

  • Even though big business spends billions annually to make sales, you – yes, you! – have a greater influence on your child. You and his or her peers do more to shape that little mind, heart and soul than any advertising campaign, no matter how seemingly limitless its budget or increasingly lower its sense of common decency.

    Still, as you know, you need to pay attention to what your children watch, play and listen. And be careful about what you watch, play and listen to when those little ones are around. (A movie, video game or song that may be perfectly appropriate for someone your age can be absolutely inappropriate for someone his or her age.)

  • Teaching the facts of love is much more than controlling exposure to the negative. It’s emphasizing, it’s living the positive. It’s showing your children that day in and day out being in love is much more than an emotion. (You also well know that sometimes someone you love deeply can drive you right up the wall. And you may be willing to admit that – once or twice – you’ve done the same to your sweetie.)

    The facts of love are more than romance. That’s not to say romance dies. It just … gets tired after a day filled with kids, job and life’s hassles. While there may be some gaps between those candlelit dinners, there can always be a kiss goodbye, a hug hello, holding hands, a kind word of encouragement, a term of endearment and a habit of using “please” and “thank you.”

    Yes, those little things matter to you as a couple but they also do as parents because those little eyes are watching you.

(Bill and Monica Dodds are the founders of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver and editors of My Daily Visitor magazine. Their Web site is www.FSJC.org. They can be contacted at ?MonicaDodds@YourAgingParent.com.)