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Friday, August 14, 2009

It came out better this way

I was working in the classroom with a group of fifth graders. The kids had recently had their health education talk about the "changes" their bodies would soon undergo. Every parent I know took this opportunity to take things a step farther and have the talk with their kids. Inadvertently, it had turned into a week-long cornucopia of sex education. As a result, the kids were all wandering the halls with heads filled with the horror of how that baby really got into mom's tummy. None of the kids were really talking about it.

But sex education was in the air.

The kids were filling out some sort of form for middle school. It was the standard stuff: name, birth date, sex, address... The teacher was out of the room and my role was simple. All I had to do was get the kids to complete the forms and deliver them to the office. Piece of cake.

I wandered the rows casually assessing the answers provided. Until I saw this:

Name: Naive Innocent Girl

Birth date: Does it really matter?

Sex: Not yet.


I hope her answer remains the same for many years to come.

* * * * * * *


When I sat down to write this post I thought it would be funny. Yes, my jaw dropped. My eyes were like saucers. I froze. We had an awkward and embarrassing (for her anyway) conversation where I explained her misunderstanding. I was just getting ready to go back and edit my writing to highlight the funny.

But I realized that as I wrote, it didn't feel funny anymore.

It felt more like stripping away one of the last shreds of her innocence.

It feels bittersweet.

And sad.

47 comments:

countryfriedmama said...

It's great that so many of them were still naive about s-e-x in the fifth grade, though.

The 8th graders where I taught knew more than I did. Oh my goodness. Cable TV is a dangerous thing.

Lindy said...

That's exactly how I took this post too...kinda funny, kinda sad, VERY thought provoking.

My middle school stepson had sex ed last year and although the information and release form that was sent home said they were teaching abstinence, the next thing I knew he learned how to put a condom on. Hmmmmmmm. Not quite my idea of abstinence.

Gibby said...

It is funny, yet a little sad all at the same time. I wonder what that girl's parents would think if they saw that.

I am so dreading the talk! Of course because we have girls Hubs wants nothing to do with it, so it will be just me flustering. Which is just another normal day for me, I guess.

Taylor said...

I was still naive and scared about sex in 5th grade, we didn't get the REAL sex education until 6th grade. It seems a lot younger now that it did then. At the time I was sure I was ready to know all about sex. But I really wasn't.

This post really is thought-provoking, I'm rambling now...

TKW said...

Awww, I think she's sweet. I remember being stunned during sex-ed week. But you are right, it's a confusing time...

beth said...

holy cow! fifth grade! i am so not ready to deal with that anytime soon. my fourth grader is still a baby!

Meg said...

In my last job in HR, we had this generic form we'd use for all kinds of changes or updates, including new hires. One of the boxes was for date of death. Most of the time, against procedure, the managers would have the new hire complete the form. I can't tell you how many we got that either had a question mark, or "not yet," or "unknown" in that box. These were adults!

peewee said...

yah, I remember getting a form like that at some point in school and trying to be all funny by putting "HELL NO" in the box. 'cept the other day I was in a doc office filling out a form and at that same point...it was still "HELL NO"

Someday I hope to fill in the form "OOOOHHHHHH YAH!"

ck said...

Suddenly I'm not so overwhelmed to be at home with two kids under the age of 5...

♥ Braja said...

I loved your footnote....so true.....:(

forever folding laundry said...

Oh, that kind of breaks my heart. If only that innocence would last longer! I'm not ready for that time yet.

And I'm not ready to give the talk yet!

~Keri

Hit 40 said...

I know...

how to approach sex anymore? I don't want to stick my head in the sand like Sara Palin leading to teen pregnancy.

Grant said...

Is she hot?

I'm surprised at how many parents I know who don't have the sex talk at all. Seriously - their plan is to let the kids figure it out by themselves. That's the way I learned, from the older kids on the bus, and I turned out completely normal.

JC said...

It is .. in a way ..

Grade School is .. usually ... so sweet for kids.

Around 4th or 5th grade, it gets serious. Wait til Middle School ... things change ... for sure.

(I know ... I have two teens )

confused homemaker said...

we called it "human growth" in school & I remember boys & girls learned totally different things.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

It is both funny and sweet. She needs to learn about it, but it is a changing time in her life...from innocent to knowing too much.

I remember the time well.

It came in the form of a book from my mother. And then it came at school. I was horrified at the thought of it all. Some days I am still horrified. :-)

Grand Pooba said...

Well that's because your missing the funny part:

Her parents named her Naive Innocent Girl!

What were they thinking?

Young Mom/Wife said...

My Mom really started having the sex talk with me by the time I was in 5th-6th grade. I think she felt the urgent need because of the disgustingly high teen pregnancy rate. I knew more than I ever wanted to know, but I thank her to this day for scaring the crap out of me enough to make me wait.

I am so glad that girl had a misunderstanding, and was still so innocent. And by the way, I laughed when you said my dog reminds you of your kids.

blueviolet said...

That really is the last vestige of innocence, isn't it?

naptimewriting said...

the really scary thing is how much they value the misinformation from friends and tv and undervalue the real info, when they get it, from experts.
I hope every girl on the planet gets the facts she needs to have self confidence and self esteem, to choose sex when she's ready and not because our culture makes it look like a good way to get friends, and that, for heaven's sake she has access to free birth control. Because the last thing kids need is kids.

Megryansmom said...

Seventh Grade Gina Ornstead's mother just had a baby over summer and Gina announced to anyone who would listen just how that baby got into her mom. IN A CATHOLIC SCHOOL!! I still remember coming home crying and asking my mom if it was true. I vowed to never do anything so yucky in my life! This week, eh the sex, it's not so bad LOL

LadyFi said...

It sounds funny and true... yet also poignant and somehow mean to laugh at such innocence...

passions and soapboxes said...

Very cynical for someone so young.

Kristina P. said...

I have been working with a population of teenagers who are the most at-risk, for years, that I always forget about the normal kids.

I was working with a 12 year-old girl, last week, who looked 16. She is sexually active, and trying to get pregnant because it's cool.

ymK said...

I just feel we are shrinking the childhood age, day by day. Children grow up and know everything so early now, I wish we could keep them in a cocoon or something for longer.
I don't even want to think about having the talk when the time comes.

Jen said...

I like what your second commenter said. Funny, Sad, Thought provoking.

bernthis said...

i hope against hope my kid stays that "naive" for as long as possible. Thankfully, I have some time as she is only 6.

MadMad said...

Oh, that brought back memories of having a fifth grader and that movie day at school... and how it was like turning a switch in their little heads. They went from innocent little kids to EVERYTHING IS ABOUT SEX! in the space of a 40 minute presentation.

Yaya said...

True. Oddly funny yet sad at the same time. Such a hard age.

Stephanie Faris said...

I was pretty naive in the fifth grade but I still knew kids who would have written something like that. Even 30 years ago, some kids were just exposed to all the wrong things from a young age.

faemom said...

To shed a humorous light on this, the girl could have watched Austin Powers. Remember when he's filling out the form and he says Danger is his middle name and then read "Sex? Yes, please." See, it could be funny.

Kathy B! said...

I've been gone all day and need to clarify. When I wrote that sex was literally in the air I meant that their minds were boggled by the repulsiveness of what had been presented. Also, the girl in question was naive. For real. And she was very serious about it as her mother had been discussing abstinence with her.... She was answering matter-of-factly. Not to be sarcastic!

Hope that helps with the tone.

Susie said...

I remember each and every bit of my oldest innocence.

ScoMan said...

To be a child again, innocent and without the worries of the world.. and writing "Not yet" on the form because she didn't understand, rather than because she's 15 and it's funny.

WhisperingWriter said...

Oh wow. I don't think I even knew what naive meant in fifth grade. I'm stunned.

Ink said...

KB, you didn't rip any shreds! It IS funny. And then thought-provoking. It's a great post.

Laoch of Chicago said...

The great Irish poet William Butler Yeats once wrote:

“The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time."

Pam said...

You are so right. It is funny on the surface, but the loss of innocence is sad.

Nap Warden said...

Yep...is it strange that I still remember being corralled up in 5th grade to be told "the deal"?

for a different kind of girl said...

It is everything you say it is...there's humor and bittersweet blended together in this. My soon-to-be 7th grader had a slightly more advanced version of "the class" last year, and I'm happy to know that, at almost 12, he still finds girls a necessary evil in the world, but we've definitely had that whole "there's no need to rush things you THINK you know about, but you don't" talk.

Helene said...

Wow, it's funny that you mentioned the sadness of the situation because I was thinking the same thing. At first, I thought her answer was cute and funny but then I also realized with a sadness that there was a lack of innocence there now. It's just the way the world is nowadays and that's hard to get used to.

Debbie said...

Every time something comes up in my kids' lives where I have to explain parts of the hard, cruel world to them, I feel like I am taking a bit of their innocence away. I so understand.

Stesha said...

Funny, yet sad at the same time. We want them all to remain "naive and "innocent."

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

My son is a year younger than her. It amazes me how much he does know. *which isn't much*

Wonder how he would answer that same question.

Undercover-Princess said...

I like what she wrote. Personally, I don't want the school teaching my sons about sex. No. thank. you. That is done at home. With that said...my sixth grader knows the birds and the bees. He learned from us in just a point blank question and answer give him no more than he needs to know basis.

He wondered if women, like praying mantis, ever want to pull of the heads of their mate. I replied yes...particularly during a certain time of the month. He responded with, "I'm never getting married." LOL

Tammy Howard said...

Bittersweet - absolutely - like so much of growing up.

Unknown Mami said...

It's still pretty funny.