I’m glad to be here today and have the opportunity to um speak to so many of you here and I am um very so encouraged to see so many uh people here that are concerned about our kids and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) their education. Um In September, I attended my daughter’s back to school night Westland Elem er Westland Middle School in Bethesda. We went from classroom to classroom to hear what our children would be learning in each subject and how we could reinforce that learning at home. In the health class, we sat and (UNINTELLIGBLE) while the teacher explained to us the topics that would be covered in the class.
I was surprised that there was no mention of sex education. After the class, I stayed to ask the teacher about the curriculum. He acknowledged that there would indeed be a unit on sex. He described the curriculum as being pretty, pretty tame. I asked if the students were allowed to opt out. He said to me, “You can, but I don’t really think it’s the best choice for your kid.” Then he added, “I have three kids myself. I wouldn’t take her out if I were you. It’s hard to be different from the other kids in Junior High. She might be made fun of.”
His attitude of complacency and compliance is of great concern to me as I learn about the new curriculum recently adopted. It does not respect that values I have in my home. It doesn’t reflect the decisions being made by many of our fine children to maintain wholesome values. My young daughter tries to take a stand for decency among her peers. She, along with many of her friends, is making choices to avoid music and television programs containing even marginally destructive values. She tries to dress modestly. She is beginning to identify in her young life that there is a difference between right and wrong and that when she makes correct choices she feels good. To send her to school where she will learn how to put on a condom is both offensive and destructive to her standards. To encourage her and her little friends at this naive stage in their lives to discover their sexual identity is inappropriate. To teach her that sex play is normal among young adults (UNINTELLIGIBLE) her beliefs.
The statement is made that any child can opt out of this curriculum. However, it seems wrong that children have.to,.are spending hours in the library each year because of what is, or that they they may have to spend hours to spend hours in the library each year because what is being taught goes against their personal value system. It seems more like punishment than option.
Teaching children about sex without also teaching them contraceptive choice is like teaching kindergartener’s how to a light match and then avoiding any discussion of the harm that fire can do. Moral scars and emotional damage can be permanent. There is an appropriate time and place for (EACH PERSON?) to have this information. There is much, there is much information that can be confusing and harmful to children.
Sexuality is difficult to teach without a bias. Topics throughout this new curriculum are so personal, they need to be spoken of with sensitivity and respect by parents that are concerned and can explain consequence. The need of each individual child, the needs of each individual child should be considered. So much of our children’s future is contingent on the choices they make now.
These are my feelings as a mother. They are shared by many of the other mothers I have discussed these concerns with. I’m not naive to the social problems we are now facing. I know there’s an alarming percentage of our youth participating in risky sexual behavior. I know that many feel this curriculum is the answer to these problems. I respect that there are differences of opinion. I ask the Board, can’t we offer this instruction somewhere outside of regular ca classroom instruction? Is it right to teach concepts that go against so many parents’ and students’ fundamental beliefs? Do you want to put religious families in positions where they feel they cannot in good conscience, send their children to public school?
We need to work together to deal with this mess for our children, all of our children. There are many things beside just teaching sexual facts that will not refuse, that will reduce risky sexual behavior. I would like to focus my comments today on what I believe is the most effective way to protect our youth.
Strengthening our families. Children are our greatest resource. The most important work we can do is to influence for good the lives of our children. In no other setting will we have the opportunity to have such a profound effect on the life of another human being. It is a difficult time to raise children. All around them are harmful influences. There are those with self-serving motives who try to expose our children to addictive influences in every medium. Parents must monitor television viewing, computer use, literature, music, and friends in an effort to raise happy children free from harm of pornography, sex, and violence.
No matter how, no matter how disturbing it is outside, we can provide a safe place for our kids in our homes. We must build our (BLANK TAPE) for the good of our children. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) comfort, courage and strength. We can express to our children our love for our children by spending time with them focusing on their strength, teaching them the truth, demonstrating affection, and building our marriages. Strengthening our families is also personally rewarding. Mother Theresa said, “Works of love are works of joy.” We don’t need to look for happiness. If we have love for others, we will be given it. Our time is the currency of love. To a child it is the commodity of real values, a tangible evidence of love. We truly give our children everything when we give them our time. To a child, quality time is also quantity time. Parents are busy perhaps stressed and stretched more than any previous generation. Perhaps this is the reason our time is the most valuable currency of love.
Time invested in our kids yields rich dividends. We need to devote more energy to having (SOME INSTRUCTIONAL?) and working with them and teaching them. We can express love and create strength through gratitude. We need to notice the things that our children do right. We can choose to see the good. This is more motivating than correcting every wrong. It is important to hug and kiss our children. Research research shows that young women who have been deprived of physical affection from their parents, particularly their fathers, often resort to premarital sex in order to fill (THE CONCEPTION CONNECTION?). And it is equally important that our sons receive hugs and kisses. As a teenager, I loved to visit my grandmother. She always met me at the door and surrounded us with warm soft hugs. I have no doubt she loved me. Looking back I think I would have made the two and a half hour trip to her home just for those hugs. We also build our family unit to express love by establishing firm but fair boundaries. Those can be created so children accept them but must be enforced by parents. Considerable research over the years has demonstrated that young people who grow up in homes without rules or guiding principles, and who are not (UNINTELLIGIBLE), fail to learn to control their behavior.
As children reach their teenage years, friends become more important in their life. This isn’t to say that parents can’t still have considerable influence on them by guiding them in their choice of friends. We should teach our children how to make friends and then encourage friendships with those that shell, share their values. We can make their friends feel comfortable in our homes. We can help children select their friends by encouraging them to participate in groups, organizations, and activities that involve them with other good kids.
Expressions of love between husband and wife are also important expressions of love for children. Every loving word, act of kindness, and gesture of affection between husband and wife contributes to a child’s sense of security and love in the home. All families fall short of the ideal. Behavior at times is less than perfect. What matters most is a willingness to admit mistakes and to strive for something better every day. We need to recognize our efforts for what they are: Building a strong fam stronger family, makes strong kids stronger kids and that makes a stronger nation. This is the answer.
Let us commit to giving the, more of the things that will truly help them. Let us stand together in protection of our children.
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