My friend SOB sent me this picture and it completely made my week.
Fifth-graders react as they watch real photos of a developing fetus inside the uterus while senior health educator Andy Wentling presents "Life Begins," at the Robert Crown Centers for Health Education. (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune) (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune)
And the article (which you should read because it will make this blog post make a ton more sense)
Well, first of all, Kudos to Mr. Berman. This is probably the best piece of photojournalism (that hasn't made me so miserable that I want to move to Mars) that I've seen since the picture of President G-Dubs Bush touring Fort Detrick in shoe-covering booties and one of those guests-in-surgery scrub caps (the poofy ones).
And the best part about it is its a total accurate depiction of what I (and the friends that I've polled) felt when we came face to face with sex education. In some way, this picture is incredibly comforting. My knowledge of what 5th graders know these days is limited but I am glad to hear they are still shocked/disgusted/mildly entertained by what happens when we all grow up.
I remember the first time someone explained to me how my body was going to "change," my first thought was, "Old teacher lady says Whaaaaa?" and then my second was, "me and my body have talked it over and we've decided that all this is NOT going to happen."
But, you know, it did. And I've handled it with all the awkwardness and bitterness that you would expect (although thank everything above that I got to learn from Ms. Officer instead of Mr. Boyer, who would wear the shortest of shorts and then put one foot up on a chair... I won't describe the rest, but needless to say he should have been fired...and I'm sure it was a scarring experience for the young gentlemen in my year).
When Sean sent this article to me, he had it linked from Fox Nation, a website with the tagline - "The Fox Nation is for those opposed to intolerance, excessive government control of our lives, and attempts to monopolize opinion or suppress freedom of thought, expression, and worship." Which is a statement that has just enough substance for people to use it against each other but not really enough to actually give a real point of view.
Anyway - it gave me the opportunity to read the comments generated by the readership.
Here's the thing, commenters - you really have no idea what you're talking about. First of all - everyone gets the "how a baby grows" talk together. They separate boys v. girls for the "our bodies ourselves" portion. Boys should have to know what has to happen inside a lady for a baby to come out, because otherwise they would not run to the corner store for ice cream and dino nuggets once they knocked a girl up.
Also, my Mom knew girl whose parents had told her that if she ever let a boy touch her hand she would immediately get pregnant, which is an excellent example of why we don't let parents be in charge of the "how babies are made" discussion.
And the idea that sex ed is making more teenage girls pregnant is laughable. I'm pretty sure that if you showed every single teenage girl the video they made me watch in 9th grade (the one where the baby actually gets borned), once a month for like a year or so - we would have exactly No unplanned pregnancies.
Anyway - its an amazing picture, and the organization that is going out there and making sure kids get all the information they need deserves all the support they need - if anything for making it so that normal parents can have this conversation instead:
Mom - "So uh, I guess I am supposed to have a talk with you about stuff."
Son - "Oh. Uh..."
Mom - "So you know everything you're supposed to know, right? About everything."
Son - "Yeah. I'm good."
Mom - "Great. Good talk then."