Talk to your kids about same-sex marriage

by Nick Eicher

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2015, at 4:55 pm

I’ve been in the news business for more than 25 years, and I’ve been a dad for 24 of those. News raises all manner of uncomfortable questions with kids, but none more uncomfortable than the questions raised by the news of the last several years.

This week, I talked with John Stonestreet from the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview about the conversation he and his wife had with their daughters, ages 10, 8, and 6, about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Even if younger children aren’t thinking or talking about this issue yet, parents still need to bring it up, Stonestreet said. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s as necessary as it is for Christian parents in parts of the world dealing with terrorism to talk to their kids about certain forms of suffering.

“Now, we’re not nearly in such a grave situation as that, but we don’t get to choose either,” Stonestreet said. “The deeper truth is, if we don’t talk, someone else is going to fill the silence. That’s not what we want.”

If our children listen to what the culture says about marriage, they’ll get three big ideas: same-sex marriage is an expansion of rights for others; marriage isn’t dependent on gender; and anyone who resists this change is essentially a bigot.

In talking with their girls, Stonestreet and his wife focused on the conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees about divorce, recorded in Matthew 19. When they asked Him about whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife, Jesus took them back to the Garden of Eden to look at God’s purpose for marriage in the first place.

“We talked about why Adam needed a female helper and not a male helper or an animal helper—babies,” Stonestreet said. “Marriage brings mommies and daddies together forever. That’s what God intended.”

When it came to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Stonestreets reminded their girls that governments sometimes make bad decisions. 

That approach works for younger children, but with teens, parents have to take a deeper look at the issues. And they need to ask some questions of their own: Where do rights come from? What is marriage?

“Ask questions about definitions,” Stonestreet advised. “That’s where teens need to be challenged.”

Listen to more of my conversation with John Stonetreet on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick is chief content officer of WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. He has served WORLD Magazine as a writer and reporter, managing editor, editor, and publisher. Nick resides with his family in St. Louis, Mo.

Read more from this writer