Parents have to do many uncomfortable things, not least of which is provide their children with a sexual education. This is what it means to be a parent, to shepherd the hearts of their children and raise them in truth. Moms and dads are irreplaceable, and they must be people of courage and integrity. I think that parents yield too much of their responsibility to schools.
Schools were set up to assist parents in the education of their children. By providing subject matter experts and a safe environment, children could receive a quality education while parents went out into the marketplace to generate income and secure the family’s economic future. This is an excellent ideal and an equitable relationship. The problem is when the schools have to do too much parenting.
Take, for example, the sexual education of children. Teaching one’s children about their sexuality is a primary job for parents. This complex subject intersects with a child’s intellectual, physical, and emotional growth.
Children deserve a personalized, comprehensive sexual education that is age-appropriate and continual throughout their development. A one-time talk on the birds and the bees is grossly insufficient. From a very young age, children should be taught about love, and how new life is brought into the world. As they mature, they should be taught about the clinical functions of their reproductive system, its nature, and how it is to be mastered like any other part of their person. They should be taught the rightful place of the sexual act, as well as the consequences of its misuse. The overarching theme should be that of generosity. Human sexuality is ordered towards generosity, the building of bonds between spouses, and the generation of new life. It’s a beautiful and positive aspect of the human person, and it should be celebrated and treated with respect.
Comprehensive sexual education is a dog-whistle in schools for teaching kids about birth control and (the terribly misleading) “safe sex.” The other common type of curriculum is commonly known as “abstinence-only,” which has been proven to be ineffective. Of course, I’d argue that teaching kids about birth control isn’t doing too hot, either.
The real problem isn’t the method, its who’s doing the teaching. Teachers have far less credibility with a student on this subject than a parent does. Taken further, human sexuality needs to be laid on top of a moral and ethical foundation. How can a school be reasonably expected to provide adequate sexual education when there’s no consensus among the students on morality?
A child’s sexuality, and their comfort and confidence with regards to it, has a lasting impact on their choices throughout their life. They will learn about sex. If they don’t learn about it from their parents, then they will from their teacher, their peers, or porn on the Internet. Our children deserve so much more. Parents must have the courage to teach their children the truth of their sexuality and their physicality, and they must do so consistently over the course of their development.