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8th Grade: You Are Designed to be Life-Giving

 

Blueprint Big Idea

Continuing from 7th grade is the theme of life, love and legacy and your son or daughter is ready to learn more about God’s “life plan” and what it means to be “life-giving”. One of the most important ways we can help tweens value life is to teach the truth about life. When we understand the truth about something, we naturally value it and protect it more. You can teach this by concentrating on God, the author of life, and the amazing design features He gave us as people to be life-giving in all five of our aspects: physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual. Understanding the incredible power in God’s life design helps all young teens realize the importance of valuing the sacred power they contain in their body: the ability to pro-create another human being of equal value! This power needs protection and respect. Along with learning about the power of their fertility at this age, you can encourage your teen to become as life-giving as possible in the other aspects of their life by introducing them to stories of real people who used their life-giving gifts and talents to impact the world. The five blueprints below will help you begin this process!

 

Your tween’s relationships

Your son or daughter is full of life! They have lots of energy, but on certain days can also be bored “tired” for no reason. They are a biological symphony, with some days sounding wonderful, and others needing grace during the warm up! The “job” of all tweens and teens is identity, asking the questions, “Who am I, why did God create me and am I ok?” If you can help your son or daughter begin to answer these questions, you will help them live at peace and a secure sense of self. To do this, you can help them discover their gifts, talents and strengths by giving them opportunities for growth. This includes opportunities to fail. Learning to fail forward is a key for all successful people so don’t be afraid of the word fail. This is also an important time to help your son or daughter foster a few good friendships. It is highly likely, especially for the girls, their friends are changing from last year, and they may adjust their friend group at least once more when they go to high school. Part of their identity search is choosing friends who are “like them” or at least make sense to them. Whatever you do, don’t pull away from them too much at this age thinking your tween needs space. While they do need more space, they need to know you support them and are there for them when needed.

 
 
Blueprint Truth #1
 

GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF ALL LIFE

He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make.

- John 1:3

Biblical Background

In Genesis 1:1-2 it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” The God of the Universe takes something that is chaos and makes it full of life with His command! In verse 3 it says, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” He began with light, and then began bringing forth life by speaking it into existence, because He is life. God doesn’t just create life… it is His nature, His essence. In Genesis we read God created all living things, and all of creation is important to God. However, the human person is the centerpiece of His creation because people are the only created being made with an essence linked to His image. Genesis 1:26, says “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” All life comes from God, and therefore it is God who determines the intrinsic value of life. To God, all life in His creation is special, but human life is sacred! Creation and humanity point to the Creator. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.” This means that God is revealed through creation, so those who worship the creation, rather than the Creator have missed the point. Romans 1:21-23 says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” Romans 1:25 sums up what happens to humanity without God, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever.”

 

Application

God loves His creation, and we should be good stewards on His behalf. However, in our culture, some people mistakenly prioritize creation over human life, and that was never God’s intent. The following is an example of some of the differences between people, plants and animals, which should be discussed with your son or daughter.

  • The most important difference is that mankind is made in the image or likeness of God Himself! A plant or animal is not, even though they are part of His cherished creation.
  • A person has a body, which is designed to be male or female and the masculine and feminine natures give us a glimpse of God’s nature.
  • A person has a soul: (their mind, will and emotions). Plants and animals do not.
  • A person has a spirit. This is the part of man that communicates with God. The rest of creation does not.
This clearly shows the uniqueness of the human person! I would encourage you to bring balance to your son or daughter’s education on the environment. Let them know animals and trees do matter to God and believers should be good stewards of creation. People are the centerpiece of His creation and when people are involved in taking care of the creation, it flourishes. Industry and economic stability are positive results when people are life-giving and create a healthy environment in a balanced way. We see this worldwide and also the negative outcomes of cultures that do not have a balanced, biblical view. For instance, when a culture places an animal higher than human life (India), or politics higher than human rights (China), then you see the creation “groan” and people do not thrive. Additionally, you will find it interesting to look at fertility rates around the world. Those countries that are not replacing themselves (higher death rate than birth rate) are shrinking economically in people, power and industry. People were designed to create and be life-giving just like God!

 
 
Blueprint Truth #2
 

THE POWER OF CONCEPTION

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things. 

- Acts 17:24-25

Biblical Background

In the beginning, God made mankind by handcrafting the first two human beings, Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:7 and 2:22). In Mark 10:6-8 Jesus confirms this: “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh.” The power of two becoming one has always been in God’s life plan even after man sinned in Genesis. When He designed Adam and Eve, He wrote into the script of their design the physical ability to procreate another human being, with God breathing life into the process to ordain the miracle. God chose to pass on His passion for life to men and women through their fertility, and the miracle of life begins with a royal transaction called genetic fusion or conception. Acts 17:26 says, “He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation.” This amazing beginning for all human beings is important to understand, so we properly value life at all stages and protect it at all ages. The wonder of life is seen in the intricate detail of the human person, beginning with the cell (we have up to 100 trillion!). Only a God of universal power and love could create such a system of wonder and immense complexity! Psalms 139:13-16 says, “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb, I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” We are not accidents or random in any way! The God of the Universe set a providential plan in motion that reveals not only His intelligence but His intention; a creation full of life, with people to love and a plan for His legacy!

 

Application

As a parent, you already know what an amazing miracle conception is and how intricately your family histories are woven into each new life. Your child, in the flesh, represents generations! Isn’t it amazing to see traits from a grandparent in your child or your own characteristics in their eyes or hair color? What an amazing process. It is so important to talk with your son or daughter about their design so they realize how precious they really are! (This is true whether they are biological or adopted.) First, they are not an accident. Some have said, in jest that their child was an accident. Impossible! If you and your spouse became “one”, everything worked right if they were conceived! How we communicate about the beginning of life has an impact on your son or daughter and their view of the value of life. Reflect back on your own life. What did you hear about your entrance in to the world? Hopefully it was good, but if it wasn’t, it has probably stayed with you. All life is precious from the moment of conception, even if the circumstances aren’t perfect. Every child made in God’s image is precious to Him, so frame the story of your child’s life for them in positive terms because at this unique age, young teens need all the encouragement they can get!

 

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Blueprint Truth #3
 

FERTILITY- A SACRED GIFT

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

- Psalm 139:14

Biblical Background

In the beginning, God made mankind, by handcrafting the first two human beings (Genesis 1:26-28). He included in their male and female design, the life-giving, providential process that allows them to pro-create together with His help, another human being of equal value! Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Our sexuality is our male and female nature, which includes a complex fertility system that not only allows us to be part of little acts of creation, but impacts all we do, say, think and feel! When we see the value in this complex gift called fertility, we will protect it and live in agreement with it so our daily lives are healthy and successful. Additionally, understanding the power of our fertility will have an impact on how we choose to preserve its most sacred function (producing life) for the one relationship that can protect and provide for new life… marriage! Genesis 2:24 says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Our ability to bring another life in to the world is the foundation for generations and our greatest power as a human being.

 

Application

Very few topics get our attention as much as discussing the physical aspects of our sexuality. By this age, you likely have explained some biological information about their own bodies, and the one flesh union – sexual intercourse. You will want to make sure you focus on their bodies and the life-giving power God has entrusted to them, by expanding the conversation to include even more amazing facts about their fertility. I encourage you to keep in mind that all of the education about your son or daughter’s sexual nature and how it is expressed in all five aspects as vitally important to their success, but this particular physical focus has incredible ramifications, impacting their legacy for generations. Your son or daughter is likely more interested in learning how their body is developing and changing than what people do specifically in the one flesh union, although they are interested in knowing those facts as well. Don’t postpone these important conversations because your son or daughter doesn’t seem interested and/or isn’t dating so why bother? The information will find them and often it is more vulgar, demeaning or has an over emphasis on sensuality, graphic images or pleasure. Only a biblical message that explains life as a gift, and the life-giving experience of sexual intercourse as a gift, (not about self but about the other person) will give them the proper, powerful purpose of sexuality. Here are a few fertility facts your teen should know.

Young men...

  • Are designed to be life-giving like their Heavenly Father.
  • Produce life-giving seed (sperm) 365 days a year, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
  • Are life-giving daily! What a big reminder to be like your King!
  • Are emotionally consistent (for the most part) unless there is a problem.
  • Are warriors in training and should use their energy to be fully alive in all aspects of their being – physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
  • Should mature in all aspects so they become real men, able to win a princess one day!
  • Have various levels of testosterone, but all are masculine.
  • Are all affected by testosterone and will need to learn to exert some energy in healthy ways to be balanced, i.e. putting energy into sports, academics, etc.
  • Are affected by visual images. Some graphic visual images may be destructive by creating a “need” that cannot be fulfilled.
  • Can learn to be “in charge” of their bodies by setting boundaries and goals in their lives.

Young Women...
  • Are designed to be life-giving and are fertile only a couple of days a month.
  • Have a cycle that changes and affects them weekly.
  • Are treasure chests, with the potential eggs for future children already in them!
  • Are affected by their fertility in all five aspects: physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually.
  • Have a family of hormones impacting their cycle (estrogens, progesterone and more).
  • Need to keep a healthy balance of sleep, nutrition and lower stress so their fertility stays in balance.
  • Can be deeply affected by mood swings. This is normal, but there are natural methods to learn to balance mood swings.
  • Should learn the whole “story” about why their fertility affects them and become a student of their own cycle.
  • Can learn that fertility affects their brain function, their energy, their mood, their friendships (at times) and more.
  • Can be educated to track their own cycle, so they know when they need more rest, more care, more chocolate!

 

 
 
Blueprint Truth #4
 

LIFE IS MORE THAN WHAT WE SEE

If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 

- 1 John 4:20

Biblical Background

Life is that special “power” from God that brings illumination to mere matter. Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” The breath of life from God is a miracle each and every time. Yet in our culture life is not always the most cherished value. Or, it may be valued in certain cases, but not in every case. Evidence of this discrepancy can be seen in how society views the handicapped, elderly or sick. God sees all life as sacred and loves all life unconditionally, regardless of circumstances, and He wants us to do the same. Colossians 3:10-12 says, “And put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all and in all. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” God sees the “big picture” and knows the potential and the eternal value of every life! If we could put on His glasses and see what He sees, our lives would be changed forever. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

 

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Application

Your son or daughter started out as a couple of cells, and became amazing people, with a unique design and purpose. They are an unrepeatable soul that will live on forever! Teaching your young teen at this age the value of all life, even when we don’t see all the potential, is important. Consider the little acorn. When you first see an acorn, can you imagine what it will become? It has in its small, hard, little shell all that is needed to become a giant oak tree! Oak trees are among the most majestic trees in God’s creation. The little acorn only needs time, water, light, etc. to grow into its purpose. In other words, it needs a life-giving environment to become what God intends. Your son or daughter should learn the value of different people who might not be considered “perfect” but nonetheless, are precious and created with purpose. I am thinking of special needs kids, kids with Down Syndrome, etc., who some might say will not live a full life or the term I dislike, “quality of life”. Who are we to decide what the purpose of each life is? That decision is God’s. We are to love unconditionally like God does, and then we will see like He does. Psalms 19:8 says, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” What is the greatest commandment of the Lord? Jesus answered that question in the Gospels by saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is unconditional love. Do you see?

 

 
 
Blueprint Truth #5
 

A LIFE STORY

 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose 

- Romans 8:28

 

Biblical Background

God has gifted each person and given them the ability to be life-giving from a very early age. Colossians 1:9-10 says, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit (life-giving) in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” When we understand all life comes from God, our vision of how we live changes. We can see from those who have gone before us that there are choices we can make, even as a young man or woman, that will greatly impact our personal life story, love story and our legacy for generations. God has chosen to give us life eternal, and we can walk in that reality even now! John 3:36a says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life.” When we have spiritual life, then all our other aspects are enlivened to greatly impact our world for the Kingdom of God! There is no end to the life-giving possibilities when we go to the source of all life Himself. God designed each of us with gifts, talents and purpose. When we seek Him first, all these attributes come alive for His glory! Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

 

Application

Your son or daughter can be inspired to be life-giving right now in their young teen years if they hear stories about people who were life-giving. There are so many amazing people’s stories you can highlight for them. Some of my favorites are George Washington Carver, Teddy Roosevelt, Jonathan and Sarah Edwards and many more! Did you know Celine Dion is the youngest of 14 children? She is considered one of the greatest voices of all time and she started singing at a young age. It’s important to note that her parents were life-giving and open to life in order for her to even exist! There are literally thousands of positive ways for your son or daughter to express their male or female nature in ways that are life-giving right now! There is only one area where you are asking them to wait to be life-giving and that is with their physical sexual powers to pro-create. It’s important they see the picture of sexuality in this positive way, rather than thinking sexuality is all about no’s. It is mostly full of yes’! While they are waiting to be life-giving physically in marriage, God has given your son or daughter gifts and talents and intends for them to be life-giving in other parts of their life as soon as possible! They don’t need to wait till they are older… now is the time to encourage fruit! We have given our own kids opportunities to try many different sports, activities, music, drama, etc., to spark interest and create an awareness of their gifting. We have also been involved in ministry since they were young, so they have had opportunities to serve and find a sense of what they are good at or desire to do. We have encouraged them to meet leaders and hear inspiring speakers so they get an even bigger sense of the possibilities in life. Interestingly, they were all athletes at different levels (3 college athletes) and all five of them have given back as adults by coaching the younger generation. The circle of life!

 
 

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