The cover story for yesterday's Sunday magazine of the local paper was titled Isn't It Time Sex Ed Grew Up? It started with a high school student describing his experiences in the Our Whole Lives (OWL) class at his Unitarian Universalist Church.
Also yesterday I finished the last 6 hours of my 24 hour training (which started on Friday) to become an OWL teacher for 7th through 9th graders.
I started the day with my team, 3 terrific ladies ranging in ages 22 to 56, doing a mock presentation about masturbation. The other teachers-in-training pretended to be youth and ask questions (and act up) like they possibly would during such a mundane topic. My assigned section was to tally up the points each team earned during a Myths and Fact game.
As I handed the winning team their prize I explained that adults have been uncomfortable with children and adolescent sexuality for a long time. The "kids" unwrapped a box of graham crackers as I told them that Dr. Kellogg, of Kellogg's cereals, actually invented corn flakes and graham crackers to give to young children to thwart sexual fantasies and masturbation. (For instance in the "A Dreadful Sin" section from his 1881 Plain Facts for Young and Old Kellogg wrote "The sin of self-pollution is one of the vilest, the basest, and the most degrading that a human being can commit. It is worse than beastly... He cannot look with assurance into his mother's face.")
What struck me about the group was the diversity of ages and life experiences. The most conservative looking person turned out to have the most progressive attitudes. The younger teachers-in-training quietly taught all of us to think more of our future students and challenged our assumptions. Several members kept pushing us to not frame discussions in hetero-focused terms.
What unified us though was an unyielding commitment to provide the youth of our congregations comprehensive and factual education about sexuality and identity, relationships and the choices that go with them. We learned about them within the context of four core values - self-worth, sexual health, responsibility and justice & inclusivity.
I'm ready to teach.
Any music inspired you lately? Please join in Music Monday. Just remember if you plan to use little Mr. Linky below, write a post about music and link back to me.
But if you plan on posting an advertisement, I will delete your link as well as your comment. Just don't bother.