Got a letter back from the school notifying us about upcoming sex education.
No kid wants to be in a minority, so taking my child out of a sex education class at school is not an easy thing to do. It feels like swimming against the tide, even if it seems like common sense, and that it’s a matter for the home, for a one to one.
Yesterday I spoke to a lady who went to visit the schools minister. He was so provoked by what he saw from the materials schools use for 5 year olds he held a meeting with Channel 4 execs to ask them to justify the content they produce that sex education companies use.
So I then called my son’s school to ask for more details about the year 6 curriculum and explain we are thinking of taking him out. The reply I got from his teacher who is v good generally, was helpful, but a few comments got me thinking:
“many parents don’t talk to the children about these matters, so it’s only right that the school does.” (is it?)
“especially for girls, but also boys, if no one talks to them about the changes that their bodies are going through….”
“I have been trying to get to grips with the content” (implying that the teacher doesn’t feel deep down they are naturally the one to broach the subject either, and hence also why schools buy in the materials from specialised businesses that promote sex education.)
But then why not ask parents who do talk to their kids about ‘life’ to opt out of 3 hours of lesson plans where they could be doing something academic, instead of what I got next:
“it would be good if Damon takes part with the whole class, as otherwise he might be the only one not included…” Talk about a system that sets parents up to …not talk to their kids cuz the school will take care of it anyway.
When I spoke to the lady who visited the schools minister, she reminded me to be confident in my identity as a parent who ultimately takes responsibility for my children’s moral and behavioural education.
And that is really the heart of the matter: Is sex a moral issue, and who should decide those morals? Of course the business that runs the production of the sex ed. materials has it’s own sense of how far they shouldn’t go with prescribing morality, and as a result you get education on intimate human behaviour being provided outside a natural moral framework that one finds in the family, and effectively communicated with out the feeling and sensibility of a parent to a child. A teacher however good they are as a person is going to struggle to know where 30 eleven year old kids are in their needs to know about what sex is and how it works. It’s just not necessarily a topic to be taught in a large group.
Then someone says again; “but what about the families without any sense of sexual ethics, where the parents don’t care, don’t think, and aren’t responsible parents?”
A minority. What about them? They are still responsible, because they are still parents. Do you want by shifting all education into the hands of the state, to further diminish that sense of responsibility and at the same time undermine existing responsible parents?
If that is the case, one has to ask how much better equipped the state is at taking on the parental role. I think most people asked in the cold light of day would say generally kids are best off learning from how things are done at home, rather than from government policy guide lines that are influenced by a range of ‘progressive’ pressure groups that want sex education to start at 5.
So back to my wife and I dealing with an articulate 11 year old who doesn’t want to be the odd one out, and has put reasoned arguments to me through messages from his iPod touch.
In the end what ever decisions we come to, half the battle as a parent is to be involved enough to actually make a considered decision, and not to offer up our responsibility to an unknown body of do gooders with their own agenda.
And then to believe and remember that my wife and I are the first one’s to know what is best for our child, and to have his interests at heart. So we should aim to be, not the only, but certainly the first port of call when he has questions around life style, ethics, and moral behaviour, and understanding who and what he is.