Monday, April 24, 2006
A few days ago I went to maturation training in Lehi, Utah, with my 11-year-old fifth grader, who is definitely already showing signs of puberty (pimples and hair, mostly). He’s a big, somewhat chubby guy, so he’s ahead of the curve as far as physical development goes.
I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I remember getting my training at this same age. What a time warp! In 1977 they showed us films and went into a lot more detail. In 2006 an old guy got up in front of the white board and sketched in a few details. At the end, I felt so much had been left out that I raised my hand and said, “Uh, does part two come next year, or what?”
The guy put on a forced smile and said, “Nope, that’s all we offer.” A lady turned around, pointed at me, and said, “You’re part two.” (It was weird having a few mothers in there; I remember it was strictly a father-and-son outing in California.)
Anyway, all the Utah school did was get the ball rolling. They covered nocturnal emissions and menstrual cycles, but they didn’t even come close to talking about intercourse or masturbation, let alone birth control or disease prevention. I remember that in California they taught us that masturbation was normal and healthy, and afterward my dad told me it was wrong and Mormons don’t believe in it.
This Utah guy actually spent quite a bit of time on emotional and social maturity, which I thought was pretty good. At the end, they gave all the kids their own stick of deodorant. I’m wondering if this district does any further training on condoms or whatever in high school health class, or is this truly the extent of sex education in Utah?
So anyway, I have mixed feelings. In some ways I appreciate that the district just gave the ball a gentle shove, and now it’s up to the parents to finish it. However, I’m not likely to pursue my son about these issues, and he’s not the type to ask me much. He’s only just barely begun to figure out about Santa Claus, and I don’t know if he has any clue what parents do in their beds when the lights are out . . .