I am about to send off my computer for…repairs. I will, of course, attempt to maintain contact over the next 7 – 10 business days, but it may be sketchy. Hopefully after that time, my computer will no longer randomly shut down every 10 minutes, causing me to curse Steve Jobs and his descendants. Because ultimately, I like Steve Jobs, and delight in his products. And, frankly, I have nothing to say for or against his descendants.
In the meantime, keep talking with your teenagers and kids – for that matter, keep talking with other people’s teenagers and kids!
I was going to include some anecdotes and stories to keep you busy, but my computer has already shut down on me too many times today for me to write much more. Instead, I’ll leave you with just this one point:
I am teaching human sexuality at Austin Community College right now. While there is something of an age and experience range in the class, they lean heavily towards the 19 – 21 year old range. They write me weekly journals, talking about what they think of the readings, class discussions, or anything else that seems relevant. What comes up over and over again is this: “I wish I had known this sooner” and “Why hasn’t anyone told me this before?”
These students, honest little buggers that they are, say that while they might not have made different decisions about their sexual encounters, they certainly would have made them safer sexual encounters.
They say that even the topics that we’re covering that don’t necessarily apply to safe sexuality – like, say, body image, body type, and deconstructing music lyrics and media representations of sexuality – have already had a substantial impact on them in the almost-month that we’ve been meeting twice a week.
Imagine if this same information and material had been presented to them in an age-appropriate way when they were in middle school. And then again in high school. They tell me that their lives would have been different – saner, healthier, and maybe happier.
And these kids aren’t anything unusual. Some of them come from schools just like yours – yes, even that expensive private school that keeps the kids innocent and shielded from most of the media.
We’re doing a vast mis-service to our children and youth by not allowing them to explore this topic openly. So start talking, folks! Don’t wait for my computer to come back! Do it now! And then send me an e-mail to tell me about it (which, thanks to Steve Jobs, I’ll be checking on my iPhone).