“Now this is a penis and this is a vagina”–do you think these little people really care?
I was going to stay away from this one–play it safe so to speak but I can’t do that it turns out. Like a moth to a flame I guess.
So I run the risk of upsetting some parents, teachers and some gay folks–sorry about that. It is not or was not my intention nor does this article confirm any particular bias. I have questions and need answers just like you do.
1: Do they, the little ones, really care what their genitalia are called? How does this enhance the quality of their lives? They are just trying remember the characters on Sponge Bob and now this? I think that there is a great deal of cognitive growth between grades one and two. Grade two is early enough, in my mind, to begin to share this more detailed information. As for body parts I think they got it down that an arm is an arm and a leg is a leg and an eye is an eye.
2: At five or six years of age does a little girl/little boy have to know what her vagina/his penis is called in order to get the gist of being polite, respectful, tolerant, accepting, sharing and how to play well in the sand box of life. They need to understand why bigotry is not cool nor is laughing at some one else’s physical disabilities. To me it is much more important to learn and practice some simple social skills instead of learning what their intimate body parts are called. The little ones that I am aware of just don’t care about this stuff right now. If we pay attention to our kids and listen to what they are saying they will let us know by their behaviour when it is time for them to hear and learn more about their bodies and how they work. Let’s leave that for a time when our kids can actually develop some thoughts based not just on political correctness but also on family values. Whether we like it or not family values are just that–FAMILY values and not school/educational values. Teachers need to teach and find creative ways to make learning more fun and meaningful.
3. I suppose this one is the one that begins to raise the flags for me. I must admit my first response to this step was ‘seems like there may be an agenda of sorts at play here’. In 4 or 5 of the grade level outlines sexual orientation was mentioned–a common theme of sorts. For me it was more like the elephant in the room. I don’t have a problem with any topics being discussed as long as equal time for discussion and clarification is allotted to all the options and that this topic isn’t introduced into the program until later in the educational process.
When I looked up the words normal and preferred in Webster’s New World Dictionary I read:
Preferred–#3-to put before something or someone else in one’s liking, opinion, etc; like better.
Normal–conforming with or constituting an accepted standard, model, or pattern; esp.,corresponding to the median or average of a large group in type, appearance, achievement, function, development, etc.; natural; usual; standard; regular.
4. Premier Wynne clearly stated her credentials in the House the other day and they are impressive but does a Masters in Education prepare you to know and understand what others, including parents, are thinking, what they want, what they think is important, how they want to bring up their children, what values they want their children to exhibit to the world, what issues are more important than others and to whom? Why? and whether or not parents would like to have those conversations with their kids at a time of their choosing.
We would be better served by preparing our children to compete in the market place and to identify/develop the skills to compete to their maximum. I have no doubts that the system needs to be overhauled. It has become lax, boring and fearful of litigation to be of benefit when considering the financial backing they get from the taxpayers. I feel especially bad for those many teachers whose talent and creativity are stifled by an antiquated system. Clearly many kids who ‘graduate’ aren’t near being ready to decide on a career choice of THEIR OWN CHOOSING. Instead they are ‘directed’ through the system according to someone who thinks they know what’s best for each student. I believe there is a saying that goes something like this: ‘If you judge the intelligence of a fish by how well it climbs a tree then it will fail every time’. By graduation time the system has taught our children that winning is not important but rather how you play the game is most important. The school system needs to stick to teaching skills and identifying strengths and leave the social work to the social workers. How you play the game does not put food on a table and a roof overhead. How successful you are at the game does. The educational system needs to stay out of the morality business. Parents need to be parents.
They are the ones who need the help and not the kids at this point. Things seem to be reversed. We are wanting our children to grow up faster than they are capable of, at least emotionally and mentally, and parents–the adults–are trying to be more ‘youthful’-almost child like. If it is confusing for us as adults imagine what it must be like for our kids who look to their parents and adults in general for guidance and mentorship and wisdom. And while facing this challenge the best we can do is come up with the names for body parts and why it’s OK to be involved in an ‘alternate lifestyle’.
Where it gets really dicey for me is when I look at what is happening with our young men and women and the toll that the lack of role modelling is taking on our society as a whole. Check out the Canadian Childrens Rights Council site, The Changing Role Of The Modern Day Family, The Effects of Father Involvement: A Summary Of The Research, Why Are Dads So Important to name a few resources to learn more about why we need to be supporting the idea and importance of traditional family settings and concerning ourselves with ways of healing these broken relationships.
I agree that parents need to supervise their kids activities on the net and what they are watching. There is a place in the classroom for discussing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Having sex is no longer an adult activity. Kids around the age of 10-11 need to understand the consequences of decisions made-no question. We need to help our kids develop more self respect so that taking nude photos of themselves to be passed around on Facebook as a joke or as something to do to impress others is not a good idea and why. What we need to be doing is working WITH parents for a common goal instead of continuing with this adversarial social experiment that seems to be going on right now. We are stronger and smarter together than we are apart.
We can’t do it all at once so we need to pick our priorities. How and on what do we spend our human and financial resources? Schools need to teach and prepare our kids for the day when they have to compete for survival out there. Help our kids become the best they can be at what ever and wherever their skills and interests take them. And parents have to step up and do much more of the education around teaching how to be responsible, considerate, accepting human beings. We cannot allow some virtual stranger in a classroom tell our kids how they should live their lives. Their job should be to teach our children how to utilize their skills and strengths to their utmost advantage.
Anyways, that’s how I see it
Comments are always welcomed–pro or con. Connect with me at: jamescloughley.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org