“A Step by Step Guide to a Purity Retreat with Your Child”
by Shauna Wallace
Sex is amazing!
Yes, I just said so on a Christian blog.
And it’s what I tell my kids, much to their initial dismay and disgust (see “THE Talk”).
I tell them I want them to experience every delight of sex!
With one condition…
…IN THE CONTEXT OF MARRIAGE.
It’s not my rule or guideline; it’s God’s. And the key to experiencing the fullness of the pleasure God desires for us in sex is purity. It’s a big deal in our house, which is why my husband and I make the commitment to celebrate purity with our kids.
One way we do this is by taking each child on their own purity retreat, where we introduce the importance of sexual purity and elevate it to a place of great importance. Something to be celebrated. Something to invest in. Important enough to dedicate time away with special activities. Special enough to commemorate with family and ceremony.
This is important, because whatever God designs for our blessing and benefit, the devil determines to destroy. Every day all around us, Satan is using every available avenue and form of media to make casual what God considers sacred, to tell our kids that sin and sex are no big deal.
Satan is a LIAR!
In our purity retreats, we address his lies and give our children God’s truth! We present purity as a precious gift to cherish and guard for physical protection, certainly, but also for their emotional and spiritual health and for God’s glory. We teach give them tools to help them follow God’s plan for them and their future spouses so they don’t have to experience the guilt, shame, and brokenness that result from violating one’s own body, even in the name of pleasure or so-called “love.”
Each of the three purity weekends I experienced with my girls looked a little different. Yours will too. The important thing isn’t where you go, how long you’re gone, if you stay overnight, or what you do, but that you set aside a special time, spend it in a memorable way, and include specific ways to introduce and instruct your child in what purity is, what it means, ways the devil will try to steal it, and how they can protect it.
Rather than lay out a specific formula or plan, I offer you the Ten Parts of a Purity Retreat, not as the way to do it, but as a way to do it.
Ten Parts of a Purity Retreat
- The Curriculum.
There are endless resources for curriculum or materials you can use for planning your purity getaway. I have used Passport2Purity by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (www.familylife.org) with all three of my girls. It provides you with EVERYTHING you need to plan, prepare, do, and say. I had no desire to reinvent this wheel and am so thankful for the Raineys! I also read A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids About Sex by Kevin Leman, which I found extremely helpful in acquiring the right heart and mindset for talking about sex with my kids no matter how young or old they are.
I recommend that you research, secure, and review the material you want to use several months ahead. If you’re using Passport2Purity, listen to the CDs, especially the one about sex.
Gather the materials for the projects, which for my girls, were the most engaging and memorable aspects of the sessions.
If budget is a concern, ask around at your local church or among your friends to see what books and curriculum they might recommend and/or have. The library in your community or at a large church in your area might also have Christian literature you can check out.
- The Budget.
Decide how much time and money you can spend. Where can you afford to go and for how long? Do you need to plan daytime getaways and return home at night? Are you going to involve other friends and their parents or just you and your child?
Depending on our budget, we’ve stayed from one to three nights away. My oldest daughter and I rented a lake house with three other moms and daughters. My middle daughter and I went to a nearby resort with her best friend and her mom. We returned to the same resort for my youngest daughter’s purity getaway, but she decided she just wanted to take me and her middle sister.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for hotels or resorts or driving several hours away, that’s okay! Simply plan time away from home in a special place where you and your child can get away for these conversations.
- The Date.
Set a date and location for your retreat. Get it on the calendar. Announce it to your child. Begin to build up excitement about it. BE excited about it. Talk about it. Make it a little mysterious. Give them something to look forward to.
- The Activities.
Decide what special activities you want to do while you’re away. What does your child enjoy? What would mean a lot to them? Where do they like to go, and what do they like to do? Two of my girls love getting their nails done, so we included pedicures in our getaways. Such torture! Ironically, it would be for my youngest, who made me promise not to make her get her nails done!
Maybe you and your child like to hike or fish or hunt. Maybe you like to run in 5k races. Perhaps you’re shoppers or antiquers. There’s no right or wrong; plan your destination and activities these things.
- The Plan.
Before you leave, try to at least have a loose plan for how you’ll use your time. Is there an ideal time of day for completing the sessions? What do you anticipate your child’s attention span will be? How will you break up sessions with the fun activities you have planned? Ask your child when they think they’ll be ready to sit still and complete the sessions. My girls had strong opinions about the best time for them.
- The Sessions.
Make a commitment that you will complete all the sessions, no matter how much fun awaits. If your curriculum includes CDs you’ll listen to together, use car time to listen to some of the sessions. It’s a great environment because it provides relief and distraction when the topics are a little uncomfortable. When I used the CD for the sex talk with my middle daughter, we listened to it in the car. No awkward eye contact! (Just the lingering scar of the experience!) Then when you arrive where you’re going, you’ve already finished at least one. One caution: If you use Passport2Purity, each session includes a project that cannot be done in the car, so be sure you take this into consideration as you plan the when and where for your sessions.
Once you arrive and get settled at your destination, try to finish at least one more session right away. Set the tone for the priority of the sessions, and then go play as a reward!
- The Book.
Since I am Mommy and my purity weekends have been with girls, I give them their own copy of one of my all-time favorite book: The Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity by Jennie Bishop. In the book, the princess’s first kiss is this shining, carefully guarded, precious possession that her parents guard for her until she’s old enough to value and protect it for herself. When suitors begin to approach the castle to woo her away, she recognizes in each of them an inability to appreciate the gift she has to give. When the right one comes along, he has nothing of worldly value to offer, but he does have one thing that’s priceless: his first kiss. It’s amazing! I wrote a personal note to each of my daughters in the front of the book and presented it at some point in our weekend. If other moms and daughters were with us, I gave each one a copy as a gift as well. (By the way, Bishop has another book called The Squire and the Scroll that presents the rewards of pure heart for sons.)
- The Ceremony.
Upon returning home, we have one more highlight event: the purity dinner. Our immediate family gathers at a local restaurant. We dress up because it’s a special occasion, and we go to a restaurant of the celebrating child’s choice (be sure suggest a place where it’s relatively quiet with a private room or at least a bit of a secluded spot).
If eating out isn’t an option, plan a special dinner at home. Make your child’s favorite meal, and then create an environment equal to the occasion further affirming and celebrating the importance of their commitment to remain pure. Set the table beautifully with items you already have in your home. Put on soft music and light candles. Whatever you determine will
- The Contract.
After dinner and dessert, present your child with a contract to remain pure. Passport2Purity includes one in their kit, or you can download My Purity Contract, which I created for my last daughter because I failed to order the right book for her retreat and we didn’t have one! (It’s sized for an 8×10. I printed it on white card stock and trimmed the edges.)
Have your child read it out loud, and then document their commitment by signing and dating the contract. Next, you will sign it as witnesses and partners in protecting their purity.
10. The Ring.
Once the contract is signed, in our case, Daddy speaks directly to each daughter, confirming his responsibility as her protector and assuring her of his commitment to take his roll seriously. Then he places a purity ring on her ring finger and explains that it’s hers to give her husband on her wedding day. We haven’t arrived at that day yet, but when we do, our prayer is that our daughters will have a very special gift to give indeed.
Please, don’t worry about the ring itself. For our son, we bought the True Love Waits ring from James Avery. For our daughters, I handed down a family ring to each one. Remember, it’s not about what you spend; it’s all about the priceless value of the conviction and commitment to remain pure. The ring isn’t the important thing; the decision and determination are, and the ring is just a symbol and a reminder.
This is just one way we make purity special in our home. The other way is in living a daily sex talk with our kids. Tune in Next Wednesday for “The Living Sex Talk”!
An inspirational writer, teacher, and speaker, Shauna Wallace burns with passion to see women experience the fullness of God’s grace, faithfulness, peace, joy, protection, and provision by becoming wholly His. Finding hope and life in God’s word motivates her to help other women discover God’s power to transform lives. Transparent and real, she opens her life and heart to encourage others. She and her husband, James, serve their church, community, and clients of their custom home building business. As a homeschooling stay-at-home mother of four, Shauna treasures the privilege of being James’ helpmate and training her children in the ways of the Lord.
Check Out Shauna’s Blog Here!