Last Tuesday night I was in the middle of giving a presentation at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Lincoln, Nebraska, when I just stopped.
I stood in the middle of their gym, in front of 300 parents, and as I looked at my adult son, Eric, I had a Divine Moment.
Many of you reading this already know our story; for those of you that don’t know us, I am a large, loud Catholic mother of eight. I live in a small town west of Wichita, Kansas. I was happy living my life, hanging out with my husband, doing laundry and helping kids with homework.
One fateful night I was bringing sheets down into Eric’s room. When I opened the door I found more than I wanted to see.
My good, funny, intelligent child was looking at porn.
Thus began about a six-year journey, as we ventured into incredibly new and somewhat terrifying waters, at least for me, the mother. (Although having your mother walk in on you…in that compromising situation…is its own kind of terrifying.)
VERY LONG STORY SHORT, Eric got better.
His heart: help others.
My SON, the one that GOD CREATED, the one that had been a little lost, emerged.
We teamed together and for over a year have been giving presentations to parents of grade schoolers.
We created an online course, The Parenting Dare.
We create content all of the time.
WHY? To empower you, the parent, to TALK WITH YOUR CHILD about the issues they will be facing in our oversexualized, pornified world.
YOU ARE THE KEY TO YOUR CHILD’S SUCCESS!!!
During one quiet moment, I said to Eric, “I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that.”
He looked at me and said, “I’m not.”
He continued, “Mom, because of my journey, I can truly understand the pull. No offense, but I am not just a mom freaked out about her kid. Because I was in it, I get every aspect of it. And God will use my history and my experience to truly help others.”
He was fierce in his conviction that he was called by GOD to educate others.
Last Tuesday night, as Eric passionately and eloquently explained the Brain and Addiction to the parents at St. Peter’s School, it was like time stood still. I had a flashback of our history. I felt the guilt, the despair, the crazy, all of the stuff that happened below the water line, the intensity that we don’t truly share with others.
Yet that wasn’t the end of our story. I could never have predicted on that horrible night, when I found my kid looking at porn, that he’d turn into such a FORCE against porn. Who.Would.Have.Predicted.That?
I just stood in that gym, looking at my on-fire, mission-driven kid, while the emotions cascaded.
And I didn’t put up an umbrella. I let Grace fall all around me. And I cried a little.
If you have a child that is struggling with sexual sin, I write this to give you hope. I know what you are experiencing.
Yes, there is evil out there. And sometimes, the evil gets in, closer than we would like. But we are not alone. Ever.
I am not sure of your family’s struggle. I am not sure how God will answer your prayers. For us, it was through understanding the science. It was also through our willingness to do some hard, authentic work. Yeah, I sort of wanted to pretend we had our shit together, but that wasn’t going to help my child. So I had to get real.
During our presentations, we always focus on the proactive aspects of parenting.
Our earnest goal is to educate parents on how to safeguard their home and to confidently equip their child with the understanding of what pornography is and how to react to it before first exposure.
This educational process is not done with one conversation. It happens over time. Intentionally.
We believe that the best porn addiction is one that never starts.
Because of our focus on being proactive, we do not spend a lot of time discussing the teen years.
After each of our presentations in Nebraska, we had sincere, loving parents come to us and pour out their hearts about their older kids.
As we listened to their deep concerns about their teens, Eric and I knew we needed to address this topic of teens and sexual sin.
Maybe your daughter sent a nude. Maybe your son has been asking for them. Maybe they are deep into porn and not sure how to get out.
I am not a therapist. I am a mom that researches, prays, reads and talks to lots of people. I am a parent that has tried many things that failed. I have tried a few things that worked.
I will share our more effective strategies with you later this week.
P.S. In the meantime, check out our NEW three-part video series, The Triple Dare, intended to help you, the parent, shift your parenting so you can be as effective as possible. It is free and you can take The Triple Dare without having to submit your email. Just click and start!