September 23, 2008

It's a touchy subject.

I was listening to the Diane Rehm show this morning on NPR, and was deeply bothered by the topic of discussion, and what they were implying. All moral opinions aside, I'm going to take a few paragraphs to objectively rant about it...

If you want to listen to the broadcast, you can go here.

The topic was sex education, specifically comprehensive sex education versus an abstinence based approach. It had, of course, a political spin with the upcoming election, but I don't believe that's what is really relevant here.

My first problem is in teaching children that it's ok to have premarital sex, provided that they are taking proper precautions to avoid STDs and pregnancy. As a student of the family sciences, in which I have intensively studied this and simply as a person in general, I know that there are many more side effects to premarital sex in teenagers. Emotional damage from immature relationships, giving up childhood too early, and inability of teenagers to make sound decisions with something that has such monumental consequences. I'm not going to go deep into those, because that's an entirely different story, and that isn't even what bothers me the most.

Another thing that bothered me was that the host of the show was specifically attacking the pro-abstinance guest because they seemingly aviod discussing homosexual relationships in their abstinance based programs. They said that these programs were emotionally damaging to gay and lesbian youth because they made them feel condemned, estranged, and as an outcast from their peers. I am personally sick and tired of talking about discrimination, racism, and predjudices. THE MORE WE TALK ABOUT THEM, THE MORE AWARE OF THEM THAT WE BECOME.

Maybe it's because I am not in any type of minority group, and have never experienced it, so my apologies if this is wrong or offensive to anyone, but it seems to me that if we stopped talking about people being black or white, or gay or straight, or christian or atheist, it would be a lot easier to ignore the differences. Differences are inherent, and I'm fine with that. I am so glad that there are a variety of people on this earth. I don't feel it's necessary to point out those differences, have parades to celebrate them, or continue to tip-toe around and make special exceptions and allowances for those that are different in any way. It only exacerbates the problem by drawing unnecessary attention to those that are different, the very thing they are trying to eliminate.

Why do gay children need to be pointed out and given special attention in abstinence education? It would seem to me that the philosophy behind abstinence is avoiding sex, heterosexual or homosexual, before marriage. That's it. It's not saying that heterosexual children shouldn't have sex, but homosexual children should find out on their own what's right for them. STDs, AIDS, and emotional damages are just as likely to occur, no matter the orientation.

That aside, the thing that bothered me the most about this entire radio broadcast was the concept that the responsibility of sex education is being taken away from the parents and given to the government. Who is the government to teach your children about the most personal and intimate relationship they can have? Who are they to instill morals into your offspring? So many people complain about the influence that government tries to take in their lives, but aren't we letting them? Aren't we turning over our children's, our Future's, education to an agency? When did we relinquish that great responsibility, and why are we ok with it?

I believe it is the parent's obligation to teach and instill their morals and values in their children. Whatever they are. Teach them what you know to be right, and teach them how they can come to their decisions on their own. Give them their own moral compass. Public or private education should be an excellent supplement to the education that a child learns at home. Of course a parent may not be able to teach their child latin or geometry, but they can teach them respect, the value of hard work, and good decision making skills. Children can be taught at home how to treat people, how to look for answers and find strong reason. They can learn at school to identify countries and pronouns.

It is no wonder to me why the morals of our society are declining. If parents aren't teaching them and schools aren't politically correct in teaching them, then where are children learning them? From TV? From their friends? I wouldn't trust something so important, so crucial, and something that has such long-ranging implications to producers and children.

Take the time to teach your children. Not only will they be secure and well-adjusted children, they will grow into responsible wise adults. It is your and no one else's responsibility- not your church's, not your school's, and not your child's- to be accountable for the raising of your child.

If you want to change the world, start at home.

1 comment:

Christine said...

You said it sister! I agree 100%!! I also would like to say eww to the government teaching anything, but especially sex ed. Mostly I agree that the more we recognize/acknowledge/make important the differences, the more divided I feel. yuck.