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Several years ago, I had the brilliant idea that our family should become chicken farmers.  We ordered baby chicks from a good friend, and I set out to build a chicken coop – actually a deluxe chicken palace.  Our chicken coup had two floors, a four-seater nesting box, and spectacular picture window.

When our baby chicks arrived via the U.S. Postal Service, our adventure began.  For the first several weeks, we kept the chickens in the shed under a heat lamp.  Over time, the small baby chicks grew feathers and became big enough to move to the chicken palace I had constructed earlier.

Our chicken raising experience brought us many amazing stories and delicious farm-fresh eggs.

When we were getting ready for the baby chicks to arrive,I had a couple of challenging conversations with my son, Isaac. Here’s how it went:

On my way to my saxophone lesson with both kids in the car on Saturday morning…
Isaac: “Dad, what happens if we crack an egg and there’s a chicken inside?”
Hannah: Snicker…
Pause
Me: “Well, we won’t have to worry about that, because we aren’t getting any roosters.”
Another pause.
Isaac: “What do roosters have to do with it?”
Hannah: Snicker, snicker…
A longer pause.
Me: “Well, you can’t have baby chickens without roosters.”
Isaac: “Oh…”
Me: “Maybe, we should talk about this later.”
That evening while I was washing the dishes, Isaac is hanging around me…
Me: “You remember that conversation we had this morning about the chickens and the roosters?”
Isaac: “Yes.”
Me: “Well, maybe we should talk about that some more.”
Brief pause.
Isaac: “I think that will be an uncomfortable conversation.”
Me: “No kidding.”
A few weeks later, Isaac and I were alone in the car on the way to the mall, and we had a chance to discuss the 30,000 foot view of the fact that roosters and chickens were needed to have baby chickens just like dads and moms were necessary to have babies. We didn’t get into all the details, but this laid the foundation for more conversations.
As I think about this topic, I’m extremely grateful for the model my own dad gave me for talking openly and frankly about an “Uncomfortable” topic.
As fathers, we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to talk with our kids about things that really matter in life.
If you are struggling when it comes to having the “uncomfortable” conversations with your children, remember these three things:
  1. Your kids will find out one way or the other.  Our kids are actually pretty smart.  They will find things out from friends, from the internet, or from other resources.
  2. Your kids deserve to hear the truth from someone they can trust – namely you.  You have a responsibility to talk with your kids and to teach them about life.  Too many parents shirk this responsibility.  They let their kids learn from others instead of from you.  You are both missing out when you rely on other sources.
  3. You don’t want your kids to get the wrong messages.  Let’s face it.  A lot of the sources outside of your house are simply unreliable.  Culture sends the wrong messages about sex, identity, and other things that really matter.

Have you been putting off an important conversation with your child?  Take time today to initiate that conversation.  If you are struggling with how to start, take time for yourself to plug into reliable resources and mentors to help you prepare for the conversations you should have with your kids.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Frederick Douglass

How have you handled the “uncomfortable” conversations with your children?  How did your father handle these conversations with you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.