Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Growing up and old

Tonight I had the surreal privilege of previewing the "Always Changing" video. I just happened to see in the school monthly publications a small note about an informational meeting for 5th and 6th grade parents regarding the information the students would be learning this year. I suppose I was one of the few parents who noticed it because their were only a handful of parents from our school and only a small amount even gathered that somehow represented the Utica School districts 5th and 6th grade parents. I was pleased to recognize our friends, Ruth and Dave, so I took a seat in the second row next to them and nervously glanced at the papers I picked up. The word "masturbation" jumped off the page and I quickly switched another paper on top. As I glanced around the room I felt about 18 years old compared to many of the grown ups present. It was hard to believe that these parents were experiencing this same stage of life that we were. I couldn't imagine that any of them would be anxious about the information their child would be learning soon. Many of them looked at least 10 years older and having experienced parents questioning my "youth" before, I tried to act "mature" and calm. (Whatever that means).

They separated the 5th grade parents from the 6th grade and then a very soft spoken but confident nurse took center stage and explained what we would be seeing. She told us that the 5th graders would be split by gender and would only be taught what they needed to know about their own bodies. (This was the first time I exhaled.)

Then, she told us that any questions regarding sex and related things would be affirmed, but then the student would be directed to talk to his/her parent regarding those things. (Second exhale).

After the movie (which was very informative yet appropriate for a 10 or 11 year old), she opened it up for questions. I wasn't sure what I wanted to know, because most of what was in the movie I had been talking to Hannah about when the need arose. It was such a relief to know that "sex" would not be a topic discussed yet. Then came the moment that made me feel that I wasn't so out of place as I had felt when I walked in. A mom asked simply, "If your child asks you about sex and reproduction, how would you respond if you were the parent?"

The nurse replied with a very safe and honest answer about how a man and a woman have a relationship in which the sperm travels to the woman and left it open for parents to decide when it was appropriate for this process to take place.
(Did I mention how much I liked her?)

I know some parents would be upset that she did not preach abstinence, but I am honestly happy that they instead leave the "preaching" to the parents so that the children are not faced with opposing views from different sides. I would rather Hannah to receive no answer, than to be told "when the mood is right". I was even happier when the nurse told us that very rarely did she ever get a question about sex. She said that 5th graders are much too worried about what is going on in their own bodies then to worry about where babies come from.

I had to sneak out a bit early in order to get home so Todd could make a game night, but overall I was extremely pleased at what I saw and heard. I know I am nervous to be at this stage with our daughter, yet I am truly excited for her to experience all that life has to offer.

And this "puberty" thing is just the start.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

Just so you know, Utica's stance has been to promote "abstinence" instead of "safe sex," in the past. Just thought you'd like to know! ;o)

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Sheri, I didn't know that, but that makes me extremely happy. Thanks!

At 12:56 AM, Blogger Kristen M. said...

Phew, I can come to you for advice in about four years.

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Mariana C said...

Well this is my first time reading your blog! I will be coming to you in a couple of years for sure! I am very scared for this time to come with our daughters. We already talk about some things but the idea of it being talked about at school too is scary!!

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I was really nervous about it too, but the schools (at least in the Utica District) seem to present it in a positive way. Most of what they focus on is cleanliness and taking care of yourself. It was done really well.


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