Call me repressed, but having sex with boys was not on my radar screen at ten years old. After all, they had cooties. Jumping rope and watching cartoons was where it was at for fourth graders during my childhood.
According to the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, that sort of blissful ignorance is bad for kids. Their research “Investing in Very Young Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health” was published in the Global Public Health journal last month. They claim their findings show that children should start receiving formal sexual education as early as age 10 to decrease unintended pregnancies, “unsafe” abortions (all are unsafe for the baby) maternal deaths, and sexually transmitted infections.
The study states that sexuality and gender identity usually emerges during very young adolescence—between ages 10-14. One of their issues is that safe sex (you know, the kind where we pretend condoms are iron shield against STD’s, pregnancies, and the aftermath of teenage sex) needs to be taught early. Really early. Right after third grade.
The researchers reported: “If programs, based on the healthy adolescent framework, rooted in human rights and gender equity, are implemented at a time when adolescents are still malleable and relatively free of [sexual and reproductive health] problems and gender role bias, [very young adolescents] can be guided safely through this life stage, supported by their parents, families and communities.
Investments in emerging [sexual and reproductive health] and gender role formation among [very young adolescents] –working at root level – will yield important dividends, and consequently, fewer investments will be needed later in adolescence and adulthood.
I’d like to know a few things from these researchers on high. What does your “healthy adolescent framework” looks like? We should agree on this because parents have the God-given responsibility to be the primary teachers of our children. The study mentions that this framework, in order to be healthy, will be rooted in human rights and gender equity. Define “gender equity” please. That a same-sex marriage is no different from one between a man and a woman? That women should become priests?” I have a hunch our frameworks do not look alike.
What are the “investments” we are supposed to make in emerging sex health and gender role formation? How does one invest in this “at the root” level in order to get those “important dividends” so fewer investments will be needed later on. What the hell is that supposed to mean anyways?
Who will be teaching our “malleable” children and building their frameworks? Will it be a teacher married to someone of the same sex? Will teachers showing kids how a condom is properly worn be interfering with time better spent on jump rope techniques? Oh, I suppose kids rarely do that any more. Instead, sex is on their brains. Or if it’s not, the Georgetown researchers want to put it there.
Why aren't the researchers looking into reasons our children are becoming so oversexed? Why isn’t our culture protecting them better? And why aren’t fourth graders jumping rope anymore?
For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families. Your children will laugh while learning big spiritual lessons with Dear God, I Don't Get It! and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious.