The Facts of Life | Sojourners

The Facts of Life

I should have been happy when my daughter brought up the subject. I had been dreading our "little talk" for months, but knew it couldn’t be put off much longer. A topic of this importance can’t be pushed aside by a parent’s petty fear of embarrassment (or the fact that my kids haven’t listened to me since shortly after conception).

When a child reaches puberty and begins to experience life from a different perspective, a parent needs to help explain the stirrings inside her and instill the proper framework for enjoying one of God’s most beautiful—but most misunderstood—creations.

"Dad?" she began, gazing uncomfortably toward the floor. This wasn’t going to be easy for either of us. "Could you explain the Bee Gees?"

Where does one begin? It’s so hard for a father to find the words to describe these phenomenally talented men who, since the late 1800s, have inspired a grateful world with their admonitions to love, to hope, and most important, to use lots of hair dye.

I could talk from personal experience and try to convey the feelings—the rapid heartbeat, the shortness of breath—the first time I heard these three men harmonize in such perfect falsetto (a condition reportedly caused by an unfortunate childhood bicycle mishap).

Or I could speak in more general terms about how natural it is to be 13, with your whole life ahead of you, when suddenly you get this urge to strut down the sidewalk with your hand pumping in the air as you sing, "Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive!"

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