Apr 212014 2 Responses

Bad Sax and Things Never to Tell Your Son

The most predictable time for your child to ask a difficult question—one of “those” questions—is when you are most tired. It’s tempting to ignore it or lie, but it’s in these moments that a parent must take every opportunity to encourage good communication and build the trust every child needs to continue to ask difficult questions. (See: A Parenting Lesson from Jesus)

My son was already on thin ice for his question before our Saturday night Easter service:

“Dad, can I take a toy to worship?” he asked.

“Why?” I wondered.

“Because sometimes you get pretty boring,” he said.

Within 24 hours of this conversation, my 5-year-old chose to ask one of “those” questions about life.

“Mommy, what is sax?” my 5–year old asked his mom as he watched Full House.

“What?” Jenny responded as she took a deep breath hoping he was talking about something other than the obvious.

“Not sacks like grocery sacks,” he said, “sax like the bad sax.”

“Ask your father,” Jenny said. (See: What a Child’s Mistake Reveals About a Parent)

Ask your father? The first thing which comes to mind about the topic of bad sax is ask your father? What about saying, “I’ve never experienced it so I don’t know,” or at least saying “Ask your father because he might have heard about it,” but “Ask your father?”

Ladies, might I encourage you to never respond this way to your child unless:

A. You are certain your husband has never played the saxophone and does not want to play the saxophone


B. You are certain your child is talking about the saxophone and not the obvious topic you know he is talking about.

Unfortunately, her answer satisfied his inquisitive mind and Silas went back to playing, but when bedtime came, he was lying in wait. I was barely in bed when he asked the question, “Dad, what’s bad sax?”

I said, “You mean sex with an ‘e.’ Sax with an ‘a’ is a musical instrument; sax with an ‘e’ is an activity.”

Since my editor, who refers all questions about sex to me, has not allowed me to publish the funniest blog I’ve ever written on the topic, some of you may not know the frank dialogue I have with my children. They ask and I try to answer.

Silas asked, so I tried to answer. (See: No Lies/No Slang–How to Raise Healthy Kids that Make Grandparents Uncomfortable)

“Remember that time you thought your penis was broken but I said it was ‘working just fine’?”

He said he remembered.

“That has something to do with sex.” I then explained in the language of a five-year-old how God created us different and sex is something between a husband and wife saved for marriage. With a few more details he was appeased and ready to go to sleep.

I didn’t feel like answering. I was exhausted after a long weekend and would have preferred to think through the right and wrong things to say. Yet parenting (and leadership) rarely offers such time.

While on occasion we can defer, a majority of the time we must answer. To do so builds trust and openness. Those two qualities in our parenting relationships are far more important than sleep or a great answer.

I ended with encouraging Silas to only speak about this topic with me and his mother. “But if your mother asks, tell her that bad sax was the way you were conceived.”

Happy Monday.

2 Responses to Bad Sax and Things Never to Tell Your Son
  1. […] When Silas was five we were watching a National Geographic documentary. I expected a scene about a f... https://www.kevinathompson.com/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-sex
  2. […] Bad Sax and Things Never to Tell Your Son: “Ask your father,” is rarely a good answer when your ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/thank-funny-friday-flashback

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