Are you a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or a guardian of a child? Maybe you haven’t started a family, and are considering the possibility. Consider the State you live in telling you, there is a new sex education class for you child, and it is mandatory! What if your son or daughter says, “Mom, do I have to take this class?” What do you tell them? How do you explain when the decision “is” and “is not” yours to make? As a parent, we should always have that decision, shouldn’t we? After all, we are responsible for our children. This is all so confusing, mandated? Exactly what does that mean? Let’s go through it a bit.
It seems that some states have high teenage pregnancy rates, and have taken a different stance. Hawaii, just became another one. “With a vote of 5-1, the Hawaii State Board of Education has mandated that students in Hawaii attending public schools, will be subject to sex-ed classes next year. These classes will emphasize pregnancy prevention, rather than abstinence, and the decision has been made by the Board of Education, rather than allowing the schools decide. Therefore, all students will receive the education, whether they or their parents like it or not.” (Kellogg, 2015) Do you live in the Hawaii? Were you aware of this vote?
What state do you live in? What is your teen pregnancy rate? Are you thinking, “That will not happen at my child’s school”. The United States Supreme Court just made it legal for same sex couples to be married in the Unites States. This is a decision, making it impossible for some people to do their jobs, and still keep their religious commitments at the same time. Yet, the courts have now found themselves above all. In a case such as this, they now have more rights to your children, than you do. Maybe you do not live in Hawaii, and this doesn’t affect you today, but that is only today. By this time next year, this could be your State Board of Education.
As of right now, there are only three states require parental consent before a child can receive instruction. Are you living in one of those states? Therefore your child may already be involved in sex-ed, and you may not even know it. If you go to the web, and look to the National Conference of State Legislature’s State Policies on Sex Education in Schools, you will find a list of all schools participating and how. As of right now, according to this website, “All states are somehow involved in sex education for public school children.” “Furthermore, only 35 states allow parents to opt-out on behalf of their children.” (Legislature, 2015) Therefore, some states are functioning on the same philosophy as Hawaii.
Let me clarify that “m-a-n-d-a-t-e-d”, I mentioned before which kind of through some people. First of all, the classes will be mandated in that, unless you opt-out for your child, your child will take it. As Hawaii is a high teen pregnancy state on average, if you do your reading, you will notice the teen birth rate is and has been on a decline for the last few years; however, the problem is the United States birth rate among teens, has not. Our country is one of the highest in comparison to others in size and structure. Therefore, this is not an “abstain from sex” education class, it is more of a medically led type class. This is still something that can be embarrassing to a child, girl or boy.
To sum up all of the fears, as that is what happens when something like this happens. Fears run wild, and so do rumors, more so than facts. However, the underlying message I am trying to get to you- is still there. Let’s review some facts:
- Advocates of the sexual education policy pointed out Hawaii, in 2013, had the lowest reported condom use among sexually active teens in the nation.
- Hawaii also has the 10th-highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the nation,
- And the 12th-highest rate of chlamydia infections, according to the DOE.
Therefore, the information will be made available to parents, prior to being taught or shown to the children. All material will be age appropriate (elementary, middle, and high school). All parents will opt-in their children for the classes. So now everyone can make a correct decision about what feels right for them and their child. I have heard some people say,
- “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, AND THIS KNOWLEDGE WILL HELP YOUNG PEOPLE MAKE GOOD DECISIONS.”
I have also heard other people remember the words of Marion Wright Edelmon once saying,
- “PARENTS HAVE BECOME SO CONVINCED EDUCATORS KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN THAT THEY FORGET THAT THEY THEMSELVES ARE REALLY THE EXPERTS.”
Therefore, you must as a parent decide, what is best for your child? If you opt your child out, when they return to school the next day, will those who opted in not tell them everything that was talked about? Will you not still have teens giving teens information? Will it be the correct information? Is it ever the correct information when it runs through the vine?
How do you want your child to get the information? I think that is one question that can be answered, as the school can get the information and get it to you, or they can teach it to your child. If you don’t know what to say, they can get it to you, and have it ready, just as every other child will learn. And on that day, you take care of it. Your child, your kid, your teen; however, you refer to them, is going to learn about sex. If you decide, that day is not good for you, then you will need to do it sooner, because later is going to come. Someone will educate them, it is up to you decide who that person is. When is not the question, how has been answered, so the next question, is who. So, who?
Our Two Cents:
Isn’t it strange how misinformation starts? Being misinformed is worse than not being informed at all. As a former teacher, I can assure you, teaching sex education is not easy. Teaching Science was not easy, and Biology, was even worse. You could tell which kids knew where babies came from, and which ones did not. If you had a group of tenth graders in front of you, it could get out of hand quickly if you weren’t one of those “mean” teachers. Luckily, I was one of those mean teachers.
It’s just like being a parent. You have to be tough sometimes, and tender on those other times. Just like God is tough with use sometimes, and tender others. Ever notice how HE can command you to love HIM, and it still so loving.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
Here you are given a command to LOVE God, and you don’t mind a bit. It’s as if, OK! And you smell fresh flowers and you dance. It’s a perfect commandment. The same way when your baby cries at 3AM for a feeding. You stumble half-awake until you see that smile, and then? It doesn’t matter. As you child becomes a toddler, and starts to walk, you see those little joys and achievements that make you so happy you were there. These are the ages, the young ages, when you can teach your children the little differences between boys and girls, and mommas and daddies; they learn these things so early, that it is just there, and they know, before there is a reason to ask. These are the things you teach as a parent to the young, and it helps your child to mature, and let’s your child establish that level of comfort where they can ask questions. It is our job as parents to do so.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
It is the parents’ responsibility to teach children in every area of life, and that means sexually as well. You do not have to be explicit, and you do not have to do it the same way the schools do. The key is to start early, and to let modeling be part of your instruction. God created man and woman to be an expression of love, and their sexuality is part of who they are. Children, as they grow pick up on these things. As they are comfortable in asking questions from a small age like, “Mommy, why do you kiss daddy on the lips? They notice the subtle differences in the way children act, and the way adults act. Christian parents are meant to be involved, and they are held accountable for when they aren’t.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Children communicate at all ages. They are very observant, and they love to tell what they know. If a child has a question and a parent doesn’t have time to answer it, he or she will ask a friend. This will go on through adulthood. Even as a parent, you are a teacher and you will need to communicate with your children. As a Christian parent, everything you do and say will be part of the job you do in raising your child. As your child matures, you want that child to be around others, and when that child has a question, or feels concerned, you want them to bring that question to where they feel they can get their questions validated. The feeling of having that security comes from a very early age, and it is something that never goes away. It is that same feeling, you had when you realized that command to love God was so much more. You wanted to dance, and you smelled flowers? It created that sense of euphoria? It’s kind of the same thing. Your child leaves the room with a question answered, and feels full, whole, because they can come to you for that answer, and get one. You get a feeling as well, knowing that tousled-haired child who barely took their first steps just years ago, though to you it seems like mere days- it’s the euphoria- you answer the question that only you can, because no one else did he trust to come to with such trust. For a brief moment, you realize what it means to be a Christian parent and you feel so close to God. Being a Christian parent is a wonderful thing, and that euphoria, is something you will never forget, like their smile in the wee hours of the morning, their laughter in that little voice that turns into a much older voice, and then all of those conversations and secrets turn into these, and you know you were there for them, and only it seems much like the summer showers from my Louisiana town- and like my momma always says, “When it rains, it pours!”