Thursday, April 10, 2008

Be Prepared To Barf - Scroll Down For Update


Tuesday night, while I was off having drinks and generally enjoying myself with her and her and her and her, and my husband was down at the harbor having fish tacos with our kids, the rest of the parents of my son's 5th grade class were at an informational meeting about the upcoming course on "Family Life", aka, Sex Ed.

I emailed  Jake's teacher, letting her know that we were slacker parents who opt for food and cocktails over active participation in our son's education unable to attend and would she please send home the course information so we could give in the once over... I mean, we're not totally irresponsible.

Last night, Jake handed me a textbook with a cover depicting a family out on a nature walk... I guess gearing up to talk about periods and sperm... or maybe see some wildlife doing it...

When I cracked the cover, a small note fell out on which was scribbled the title of this post: be prepared to barf.

Funny and, as it turns out, not too far off the mark.

I skimmed through chapters entitled: Marriage Love (sex + love = fun in marriage), Getting Ready for Motherhood (periods + breasts = babies!) and Getting Ready for Fatherhood (sperm + erections = babies!) all in all it is straightforward, shiny and clinical.  Until I get to "Healthy & Well" on pg. 37 in which the following appeared: Masturbation is always a misuse of God's gift of sexuality; it can be seriously sinful

Insert needle across the record sound here.

Seriously, what fucking era is this?  Will masturbation also make you go blind and grow hair on your palms?  

Was it too late to take back the permission slip I had already signed as there is no way I am going to let my son get this kind of information... hello. Orgasm = guilt, just what he needs for a healthy sex life.

So, I sent the following email off to his teacher last night:

Thank you for sending home the Family Life workbook with Jake; I am now very sorry I wasn't able to make last night's meeting.

My husband and I have some serious concerns about the Healthy and Whole section on masturbation.  We don't believe/agree that masturbation is a sin and it is the very last message we want to have given to our son as he enters puberty.

While we can provide Jake with discussion and literature at home to reinforce a healthy sexual identity, we don't want to have to undo "damage".  

Please let me know how much coverage this topic is going to get in class as I am considering not allowing him to attend...

I am awaiting a reply.

Has anyone else had this come up?  What would you do?

And that, by the way my friends, is the most I ever want to think about my son's sex life.

**update**

excerpt of email received from teacher:

We generally say that's a very old fashioned view and that nowadays people don't consider masturbation a sin; we don't linger long on the subject...

So, I am (fairly) satisfied.  My concern is that those words are still in the book, my son will still read the book and I don't want that lingering around in his brain, so I guess we're forced to do a preemptive strike.

With regards to an email I received from a blog reader, here my answer to that:

When my kids were little babies did I ever imagine there would be a day when I would be fighting for their right to guilt free masturbation?  Of course not, but my boys are growing up and so are the problems we're dealing with and as much I wish I could keep them in a world of Power Rangers and Guitar Hero, I have to face the fact that some of the issues we are going to be dealing with are of a more adult nature and I am not doing anyone any favors if I am uncomfortable with the basic truths.  

30 comments:

Mel said...

No, never! What the hell? What the holy hell? Do please keep us posted on this. Somebody in Textbook Land needs a good ass-kicking, stat.

Table for Five said...

You worded the email really well. Is this a religious school or regular public school? I never did ask my 11 year old son exactly what topics were covered in his "Human Growth and Development" classes.

lildb said...

this post made me want to masturbate in protest.

(but only b/c of that. I'm not SICK, man.)

p.s. missed you, and love the new (old?) blog - she purty.

p.s. 2. glad you're tackling this. what a ridiculous gestapo move by the xtian reich. puke, indeed.

Jay Andrew Allen said...

Whoah. That's...um...

A couple years back, I was rummaging through some books at the Family learning Center my kids attended (a homeschool center that was part of the school district), and ran across a math textbook that explained mathematics as an outgrowth of God's perfect wisdom. Replete with Bible verses and everything. Fortunately, they had the good sense to remove it instantly.

M3 said...

Damn, that note you sent to the teacher just rocked! I *will* learn to be that composed around the girls' school. I will!

dgm said...

Ah, Catholic school, gotta hand it to 'em (pun intended). And you shall now be whispered about in the front office as "That Masturbating Family."

My daughter and I attended sex ed program at her school that was put on by CampFire USA. It was called S.H.A.P.E. and it was awesome because we played games and had a lot of fun, and it was very nonjudgmental. Plus it was a blast trying to beat the other mother/daughter teams at Puberty Jeopardy by yelling "VAGINA!" and "WET DREAM!" first.

"I'd like Menstruation for 500, please."

TBG Happenings said...

Don't the kiddos go to Catholic school???? (as a Catholic I can say this) Ummm we are not a church that changes and well sex....I am prettty sure that I have aunts who still won't say "that word outloud" :)

You guys will just have to talk to him before his class. I am sure the entire idea will horrify him anyway....

SSC said...

Wow I don't think I would have the guts to send that email out. I give you credit you are a great mom. I don't even want to think of the day when I have to have the talk with my son. He is only 8 and I would like to keep it that way for awhile!!!!

Good thing about the human growth and development, way to stand your ground.

Kristin said...

Yes, it is a Catholic school, but I naively thought the Church had "modernized" a bit... to put it out there as a sin was really surprising to me.

As Donna says, now I am not only that mother who is in her pajamas at 3 o'clock, I am also that mother who is pro-masturbation...

They'll probably assume that is the reason I was still in jammies!

Los said...

Wow - that's really behind the times ... certainly we should be able to "explore" certain things, right? If that's not the case, then I am probably the king of Hell at this point.

Anonymous said...

Look out, folks! It's that p.j. wearing masturbator coming through!

Sorry. Had to say it.

I also went to Catholic school and the answer to sex ed back then was just not to teach it. I think we had biology in high school, but that's it. I would have thought the Church would not encourage masturbation, but to say it's a sin is really stupid.

Marisa

Amy Y said...

Also very interested in the teacher's response. Does Jake go to a Christian or religious school? I think it's pretty despicable that our society still has so many hang ups about sex, masturbation, etc. I would much rather have my boys watching a couple making love than people shooting each other. And I totally agree that puberty for these young guys is going to be tough enough without making them feel bad about something so natural and I must say enjoyable *snicker* as masturbation! You definitely did the right thing, Mama.

Amy Y said...

I have got to start reading all the comments before leaving my own...
Ok, Catholic school ~ that explains a lot. I, too, am a product of Catholic school (class of '95 ~ woohoo!) and we were most certainly taught that pre~marital sex and masturbation were bad. We were not given options for birth control and we were most certainly taught that sex was dirty. The girls in my class (there were 2) that got knocked up senior year, promptly left (got kicked out? not sure) before they were showing...

I wouldn't expect them to modernize that quickly... but hopefully this will be the worst obstacle that you'll have to handle.

Anne Marie said...

Oy. You did good! Our 5th grade sex ed Catholic school class consisted of periods and breasts and that was it. Boys separated from girls. In high school, there was zero discussion. Zero. I still remember my sophomore year religion teacher telling us offhand (God only knows how it even came up because it was not a sex ed discussion) that French kissing was a sin. I had never ever heard that before. I was about as naive as they get, but still I wasn't buying it.

Mamma said...

The fact that it bothered you makes me love you even more--if that was possible.

One of the parents in my son's kindergarten class asked a question about the Family Life Ed. plan on Back to School night.

I was like, "They're in Kindergarten. Is 'stranger danger' too risque to discuss?" I mean I know its a *gasp* public school and all, but we don't cover threesomes until first grade.

Sheesh!

Gracencameronsmomy said...

Oh.My.God.I can't believe they still teach this... Great e mail to the teacher...let us know how she responds...

Jonah K. Haslap said...

Oh, what's the big deal? No one enjoys masturbating anyway. Now, what's the school's position on auto-fellatio? That's where the real money is.

Carrie said...

Hi! I canNOT believe that the text book said that about masturbation!
I would definitely mention your view on the subject before he gets to that part of the book and discuss it with him. Oh my God. That means that I will have to discuss masturbation with Bella some day. NEVER thought of that before now. Although, I guess I could just ler her read my blog. Heh.

carrie said...

The school version is coming -- soon.

I've already had the home version and it went well . . . even though I found it terribly unfair that I had to explain all the stuff to the boys since my husband was at work. I get all the fun.

Good luck and stick to your guns. There are, of coure, other books which are a little more modern, like "It's so Amazing!" which deal with the subject better than I could myself and do not shame the act like the school's book does.

Jason said...

Oh my God! That is so crossing a line. Leave it to the repressed clergy to teach that stuff.

On a lighter note, thanks for your kind comment on my blog!

I look forward to reading more of your blog...

Sarah O. said...

I do believe you're the first mom who's wanted to keep her kid out of sex ed because it's too conservative!

Rock on!

rubyiscoming said...

WTF! Yeah, I would pretty much wanna rip that section outta the textbook. Just what we all need. More guilt over our sexuality.

You handled that muy well. Care to help out at our casa in 13 yrs when Ruby reaches puberty? :)

Joe said...

Wow. I mean...wow.

While they may not linger for long on the subject, the fact that it's in there at all is distrubing. I love the way you handled it, though. Well done.

Joe said...

Which reminds me...

It was always fun to walk up to bespectaled people in high school and say "Don't you know that wearing glasses makes you masturbate?"

Becky said...

i always went to strict christian schools and we were taught that too. i'm not clear on where the heck in the Bible is that even mentioned. and why is it considered a sin? all these things i've wondered. i personally dont agree with that...and i'm glad you said something to the teacher

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think the Bible was big on not "spilling seed" because there was a whole world to populate then if the race was to survive.

It's more than archaic now so I have to ask, do you live in the South? Everything is a sin there, bless their hearts.

Lisa said...

I think you handled that well!

Am taking notes. Can totally see something like that happening at Seth's school someday.

Lisa said...

Oh I forgot your kids go to a Catholic school. Ok. Well then maybe I won't have to deal with that with Seth's school someday.

Whew!

Mocha said...

The place looks spiffy and I don't mean all the masturbation talk.

I, too, will masturbate in protest. Who has some double A batteries? Anyone? ANYONE?

Shelley said...

Have you written the Pope yet?

Definitely puke-worthy.

I think you're spot-on on the preemptive strike. That's what I'd be doing. I'd also consider NOT sending him in there. You don't know what other mis-truths they may be trying to brainwash him with (and b/c you don't know, have no control over).

S