libida gets it right, again; classrooms get it wrong


With the holiday season approaching – “more rapid than eagles”, as it were – you might find yourself hunting for holiday-related fun on the web. fits the bill (don’t they always?) with a few seasonal-themed feature articles this month. Did I mention how much I love this site? Well, okay, I did. But I’m going to say it again just to annoy all of you in the hopes that you’ll check it out if you haven’t yet: this site is one of the best of its kind on the web. It’s worth taking a half an hour to check out.
Teens and sex – always a touchy topic. According to a recent Salon article, 23% of sex ed programs in US schools teach abstinence until marriage as the ONLY way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. I find this outrageous. Without tromping on anyone’s moral ground here, this is ridiculous.
Maybe I’m overly liberated, but I tend to think of abstinence as a lifestyle choice. It’s as personal a decision as teens or anyone else will ever make. It may be exactly the right thing for some of them. But they deserve to know all their options.
It’s kind of like religion. Even if you bring your child up to be Catholic, are you going to try to hide from them the fact that there are Muslims and Buddhists and Lutherans? Good luck trying in this multicultural world of ours! I tend to think the best way to go about it is to teach them that there are other religions, and if they express curiousity about those other religions, offer them the means to learn more about them. What works for you may not neccessarily work for your child.
Same goes here. Yes, abstinence is a valid lifestyle choice. But if they’re curious about their other options, isn’t it deadly – particularly in this day and age, with AIDS and Hepatitis, etc. – to keep them in the dark about the *other* lifestyle options?
Kids are fascinated by what is taboo. If you drag all the skeletons out of the closet and show them that they’re all very normal and valid expressions of lifestyle, they’ll see it’s all no big deal. Then – and only then – they can make an informed decision about how they want their lives to be.
It is (after all) their lives, not ours.

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Vikki McKay
By Vikki McKay

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