Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Lovely Night Out. And Yet.

I was thinking about my father’s “before the age of 15” credo on Friday night, at a dinner with a group of moms I’ve come to know through my daughter’s school. Our children are growing up together in an urban environment, and so when we get together, we talk a lot about what our children know and don’t know. About what academic (and life) lessons they learn (or don’t learn) at school.

At one point during the evening I realized that two of the mothers felt perfectly comfortable having their sixth graders read and discuss Night by Elie Wiesel, but felt completely uncomfortable having an in-depth discussion of the “facts of life” with these very same children.

This seemed inconsistent to me—parents who believe their children intellectually and emotionally mature enough to handle the work of Elie Wiesel, but do not believe the same children intellectually and emotionally mature enough to handle “the talk.” (I mean, I can’t imagine that a child’s questions about the human body are more difficult for a parent to answer than questions about the human soul.)

A healthy, honest, and meaningful dialogue with your children on the subject of human sexuality and reproduction takes time to develop. Years. What are you waiting for ladies? Fifteen will be here before you know it. . . .

2 comments:

Jenny Vee said...

i ran across this a few years ago while reading savage love, the sex advice column, and i'm saving it for when my girls (2 and 4) get older:

My daughter – who is 15 – has finally developed a social life. Nothing much is going on; she's still wearing her retainer, and she usually goes out with groups of kids instead of individual ones. But boys are looming on the horizon. Your question "What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 15?" made me sit down and write my 10 Rules down for her and all the other girls out there. Here they are:

1) Sex is just like eating, breathing, peeing, or anything else your body does, except more fun.
2) If you're not having fun, stop.
3) Porn isn't reality, it's show business.
4) It's okay to enjoy sex with someone you're not in love with, but don't count on sex to make someone like you more.
5) Love isn't what you think.
6) Nobody's perfect.
7) Relax.
8) Drunk/stoned/impaired/coerced/unprotected sex is stupid.
9) If you do it in my bed, I will kill you.
10) If you do it without condoms, I might not have to kill you.

Oh. And...
11) Keep your hair off of your forehead – you have such pretty eyes.

Your Loving Mom

Veronica said...

wow...Night, but not "the talk?" Hmmm..and if I thought that I could wait until 15, I'd be one happy camper. Having known a girl in 8th grade drop out to have her baby, I know it can't wait.

jenny vee...love it! Thanks.