Your kids are being taught health education from a curriculum that was created before there was likely a computer in your kitchen. OK, I’ll say “sex ed” so the hat chewers can get to it.
Since the last update in 1998, we’ve gone from few with Internet access in their homes to most having it in their hand. Every time you install a net nanny to keep your children from viewing forbidden material, keep in mind it was no doubt invented by someone not much older, and the ability to disable it will be along in 20 seconds. Kids are like anything you try to keep penned; they’ll find the weak spot.
The contents of the revised program are being conveyed to some communities in interpretations that are worse than immoral; they’re purposefully putting forth inflammatory lies to stir up those who can’t seem to do the only thing that would make any sense to me: read the damned curriculum yourself.
Feel nervous that your five-year-old will be taught the word penis? Do you feel uncomfortable with the word leg or hand? Then it’s your discomfort that is going to make it difficult for your child — that one you’re so worried about — to come to you with any issues about his wee-wee, including the fact that someone else is touching it. The concept of consent might be the single most important part of this upgrade. Nobody is destroying the romance of childhood; they’re protecting it.
Let’s assume you keep your children under wraps until they’re 18. You’ve filtered all contact with computers, friends, television, movies, music, billboards and pop culture. When you finally send them away to school, or they get out in the world without you beside them, you know what they are? They’re prey. Congratulations. You’ve not only hobbled them with ignorance you’ve saddled them with guilt.
Worried about conversations the program might spark at home? House rule: if my children are brave enough to ask me, I have to be brave enough to answer them.
Each step of the way, the revised sexual health curriculum gives children power: it teaches them fundamental biological understandings of their bodies as well as giving them tools to cope with the enormous emotional changes they are going through. It does not teach your child to be gay, it simply teaches them some people are, and you don’t get to beat them up for it. Issues surrounding sexual orientation, gender and family structures are all crucially based on respect, not sex.
Children shielded from this kind of information often need it the most. A child realizing he or she is gay needs somewhere safe to bring questions and fears. Remember, a Mom and Dad who don’t “condone homosexuality” can’t just hope it will go away. I don’t condone cancer or amusement parks, but they’re still real.
The very people opposing their children learning fact-based, clear language, information about their health and bodies are the very people who will sub in for that education with words like “you don’t need to know that” and “those feelings are dirty.” Insert your teen suicide statistics here.
Everything your child learns will be laid down over a template of the values you’ve instilled at home. Information meted out incrementally over years will augment that framework, not replace it.
Children have a voice.