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Alex McRae Columnist

Published Sunday, October 28, 2012

The gift of a lifetime

The best thing about being a grandparent is spoiling the little ones half to death and remaining blameless if they wind up as hoodlums with poor math skills.

But when they’re not passing out toys and sweets, grandparents are keenly aware of the impact they have on little lives and make an effort to create fond memories the young ones will always treasure.

I eat cheese and wear Green Bay Packers gear when I visit the Wisconsin crowd, and recently took my Georgia grands to the Bass Pro Shop, so I’m doing OK in that department.

But I’d like to do better. To give my four grandbabies something they aren’t getting anywhere else. I’ve decided to teach them about the birds and the bees.

Before you call Child Protective Services, calm down. I’m not talking about going over plumbing diagrams and showing videos of sperm backstroking their way to the womb. That’s already being done in schools because parents are happy to let teachers do the heavy sex-ed lifting while mom and dad concentrate on being BFF with junior and juniorette.

I felt the same way when my kids were growing up. But I figured since I learned about sex from my friends and my kids had plenty of friends, they were good to go. It must have worked because my kids never asked me a single question about sex.

And these days, whether they’re hearing it in the classroom or backyard or watching it on cell phones and computers, kids are swamped with sexual “information.” They might even come across a few facts. But when it comes to sex, kids need more than facts. They need a healthy dose of fear. I’ll provide it by following my mother’s model.

By the time I hit junior high I was nothing but a sack of hormones wrapped in a Ban-Lon shirt and set of khakis. When I wasn’t thinking about girls, I was dreaming about them.

My daddy traveled five days a week, so “The Talk” became mother’s duty. Instead of sitting me down for a heart-to-heart, she turned the chore over to teen heartthrob Pat Boone.

Some of you may remember Boone for pop music hits including “April Love” and “Love Letters in the Sand.” I’ll never forget his book, “Between You, Me and the Gatepost.”

My mother swore the book had all the information I needed to cope with sexual stress, including tidbits like: “Kissing can lead to other things.”

Since I already knew sex could give you Cooties, I wasn’t impressed. But mother was. I got the book. I didn’t tell a soul. I didn’t read a word.

Mother must have believed it worked, since I had about as much romantic success in high school as a monk. But it wasn’t because of Pat Boone. It was because of my preacher.

He was a good one, a stout Southern Baptist and old-time purveyor of fire and brimstone who preached that sin had consequences. Now and hereafter.

I never had a date when I didn’t feel like my preacher was riding in the back seat.

It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. No matter how heated the action got, the scorching flames of lust were always extinguished by visions of burning in hell forever.

Between Pat Boone and the preacher, I was pretty much scared sexless. My kids will have to provide the preachers, but if I can add some Pat Boone to the mix, my work will be done. Boone’s books are still available. Merry Christmas, kids.

Being open and honest with grandchildren is fine, but they need to learn that truth has consequences. And they need to learn that where sex is concerned, it will always be fine to “Just Say No.”


( send comments to: alex@newnan.com )

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