In less than 48 hours, my daughter will be sitting for a test, and she requested that I do some flash card practice with her so she’s well prepared. She gave me the cards she brought home from school and started memorizing the vocabulary. It’s a topic she’s not very keen about—a topic on sexual education, so I was glad I could be there for her and guide her through any questions she might have. She just turned eight last week, but they started the topic when she was seven. My husband and I are advocates for sexual education in schools, especially in the current day and age we’re living in, so long as it’s age appropriate. Unfortunately, parents don’t always have a say in the school curriculum and have to accept what is being taught or not being taught to their kids. It might be different in some other parts of the world, but from our experience here as parents, the schools tend to frown at “why” questions. So, it’s always a matter of wait and see or even worse—wait and be surprised.
Hence, we were horrifically surprised when our daughter presented us with very graphic school material on sexual education, which we were certain was not appropriate for her innocent eyes🙈. The school had informed us that sexual education would be introduced but gave no warning as to what we should expect. Maybe we’re being overly protective parents. Maybe the school has more experience on this, and as a teacher once said, “We just have to trust them on this.” It’s hard to tell now since we’ve long decided against asking the school why questions. The last time I asked a why question at a PTA meeting, it didn’t go very well. It dawned on me that the whole system is built on an unspoken rule: Accept it the way it is and don’t ask why. It even seemed as if other parents were playing along, putting on poker faces, which read, “It’s just information and we never ask why.”
I understand that some adults might not be prepared for certain questions or might not even have valid answers because they too have to do it as an instruction from a higher authority. For example, when I asked a teacher if she felt that the sex education curriculum as it was being presented was appropriate for a seven-year old, she got very irritated and snapped at me, blurting out the words, “Yes, it’s very important so they know where they’re being touched and can report it!” Well, that said a lot more about her than anything else. The material my daughter brought home told a different story - that sexual education comprises of a lot more than that. Which is a good thing. It only needed to be adapted to the age group. Her response only made me start thinking that there seem to be real issues going on we all don’t know about 👀.
I raise my kids to feel comfortable asking why questions, but I have noticed that it’s not something encouraged in schools. You either do as you’re told or you get a Zeiträuber, end of story. For example, when I curiously asked my daughter why they’re doing a particular project or learning a particular topic in school, she’ll just shrug and say, “I don’t know. We just have to learn it.” Yes, it’s great to learn or do new stuff, but wouldn’t it be even more interesting to know why you’re learning or doing it and be able to explain this to someone else when asked? Back in my primary school days, I always asked adults lots of questions because I was very curious by nature, but I also remember that I got into lots of trouble for it. I would always get reprimanded with the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.”🤷🏽♀️
Just so my kids can have an easy life in school and in society at large, I raise them to understand that school and society will always expect them to play a role, which is contrary to their authentic selves. I raise them to remember that it is only a role and that they can play the role just to get along until they’re in the position to effect a change. At home, they are free to express their true selves. At home, they are authentic and free.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see or wait and be surprised at how she does on the test.