More on sexual identity and youth: Reflections from a dad

An acquaintance sent this to me today. While not all readers will agree with each point, I thought it expressed one parent’s expression of love for his child while remaining aligned with a faith that does not affirm homosexuality. With permission of this man, I reproduce here the entire email. My thanks to the author for that permission.

Subject: Re: Reflections from a Dad

I went to the funeral yesterday to pay my respects to a friend of the family. I think it is times like this where I step back and reflect on life. So here are a few of my reflections during some quiet time this morning:

* First of all, this same-sex attraction (SSA) issue that my son is going through is NOT ABOUT ME.

* I am not and will not be angry at my son for his SSA. He DID NOT CHOOSE the feelings, but he is choosing to act on them. By the way,

the same way we choose to act on our feelings.

* I have to STOP focusing on changing him, that is NOT MY JOB. My job as a parent is to Love him to Christ.

* My prayer is that he continues to draw closer to the Lord and then God will do whatever he wants to do with my son’s life. It may mean

change his SSA, or it may mean that he chooses to live a different way.

* This SSA journey is not going to be over tomorrow. I can’t take it through drive thru and make it go away, I can’t take it to one hour

photo, I can’t take it to Fed Ex, and make it going away by 10 am tomorrow, I can’t put in the microwave and zap it, etc, etc, etc…I think

you get my point.

* The SSA feelings are probably NEVER going to go away for our children. They may choose to live a different lifestyle and not act on the SSA, but the feelings at some level will always be there for them.

* Lord, help me walk a day in my son’s shoes. Always worried about being judged, always worried about being disowned by friends and

family, not feeling welcomed in many, many, many churches, always being afraid to embrace his friend–worrying about what others might

think, worrying about safety.

* God is continuing to put on my heart that I should stop obsessing about my son’s SSA, and focus more on praying for him.

* I will not judge my son’s Christianity, I will not judge my son’s relationship with the Lord, I cannot and should not judge what is in his heart – – that is between he and God.

After all, did anyone PUSH me into Christianity? In the mid 90’s, I came to Christ because someone Loved me to Christ. He didn’t judge my sin, he didn’t question my salvation, he didn’t judge my life, he followed God’s call and he invited me…. That was all he did, Loved me and invited me to hear God’s message.

My Prayer: Lord, help me focus on my walk with you. Help me pray for others, not just my son with SSA, but my neighbors, co-workers, friends, other family and of course, Father, help me continue to lift up all the kids and adults struggling with SSA. Lord, help me make this not about me, but about the Faith, Hope and Love that only comes through knowing you.

Reflection from a Dad.

3 thoughts on “More on sexual identity and youth: Reflections from a dad”

  1. I would like to share my response to a young man who asked me: “What makes you a heterosexual? …Were you born that way? Or was it a conditioned mode of behavior? Or simply a matter of conviction?”

    Actually I was born merely “sexual,” and male –for which the y-chromosome contributed by my father can be credited (or blamed). But the context of my early years on into adolescence was largely determinant of my development in the direction of heterosexuality as a normal expectation of maturity.

    I was born into an intact family with both mother and father who valued their marriage commitment with a deeply-flowing love that would not let their differences erode their relationship. Our family life provided a sure sense of belonging, a stable unconditional love, and incentive to cultivate whatever gifts I might have to become fully the person I was meant to be from the moment of my conception. Beneficial behavior was encouraged and rewarded; harmful behavior was discouraged and disapproved.

    At the onset of adolescence when hormones “raged” I encountered my sexuality in a new mode. But I had a strong sense of identity already established, thanks to my family life. I knew who I was, I knew I was loved unconditionally, and I knew my folks had only the highest expectations of me. I honed my self-concept as a boy scout during my pre-teens. As a teenager, my need for acceptance in peer relationships was fulfilled largely in a youth fellowship which also held high ideals and solid values for integrity and human kindness.

    Those newly-experienced hormones naturally and normally aroused feelings for sexual expression, and a full spectrum of sexual behavior could be fantasized. As someone once said, “At this stage, a normally developing male, testosterone-driven, can become aroused even while contemplating a knot-hole!” Arousal by any sexual stimulus or thought, including viewing same-sex anatomy, is not unusual. But I had already learned which feelings and attractions to pay attention to and which to reject, and I had no great need to prove my acceptability or prowess to anyone. Thus for me peer relationships took a natural course, beginning with “buddy” relationships with both male and female friends, and later a normally focused and developing attraction to females for cultivating closer ties and self-sharing leading to couple-attachment (being “in love”). The eventual step of marriage and family commitment would provide the only acceptable context for full sexual expression and begetting a family of our own.

    The bottom line is that perceived sexual orientation and identity are formed over a number of years during a person’s normal development from child to adult. Options, choices, decisions are encountered day by day, most of them in response to daily experiences some of which have a greater impact and lasting impression than others.. Homelife, self-awareness, peer pressures, significant persons, media-presented situations and hero figures, and a myriad of influences all add various directions to the formation taking place. Some options are embraced, and others discarded. Who You Are is formed in your mind and understanding, and generally comes to fruition during adolescence into young adulthood. Negative factors can give this a tragic twist, but never hopeless.

    This is but a brief outline of sexual identity development. Virtually all of the ex-homosexuals I have met attested to a less-than-ideal family life and parental relationships, and many whom I have not met write of similar homelife dysfunction. Moreover, many having entered the homosexual lifestyle had been sexually abused. Others, though coming from exceptional families, simply did not fit the socially mandated “macho man” or “Barbie”/heroine image and were ostracized by peers, or despaired of ever having accepting relationships. What it comes down to is what feelings are we going to pay attention to, and do they control our decisions, or do we take control? Here the spiritual power of faith in a loving heavenly Father who has clued us in on which behaviors are self-destructive has proven to be most helpful

    So the good news is that change is possible, and there is no doubt that very many ex-homosexuals have successfully changed their orientation. The web site [Straight Talk in Vermont] will offer a more comprehensive picture of origins and consequences of one’s sexual orientation, as well as the personal stories of some of those who have changed with the help of an accepting, welcoming, transforming community.

  2. I am not and will not be angry at my son for his SSA. He DID NOT CHOOSE the feelings, but he is choosing to act on them. By the way, the same way we choose to act on our feelings.

    Gee… I was rooting for him there. He almost got it right.

  3. While not all readers will agree with each point, I thought it expressed one parent’s expression of love for his child while remaining aligned with a faith that does not affirm homosexuality.

    I had no problems with what the father wrote. I wish him and his son well. Soon he will understand that his son doesn’t “have” something. He is something. No one struggles with SSA – they struggle with who they are.

    Recently a coworker confided in me that her fourteen year old son is gay (her word). She has deep conservative religious values and I am the most out person she knows (the jobsite is a small town in Minnesota). The question was, “what kind of life will my son have? I don’t want him to end up alone.” I can only answer that I have a good, fulfilling life, and because of the struggles and sacrifices of many people over the last 50 years her son can have the same expecations as any straight fourteen year old.

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