You may be shocked at how, where and how often your children are learning wrong ideas about sex!
IF YOU ARE a parent, your children are getting a sex education nearly every day of their lives. It does not matter your moral convictions, religious persuasion or your personal ideas of morality.
How Sexuality Is Really Taught
The idea that sound and responsible sex education can be taught in a few sex lectures or films in a school, a home or a church is ridiculous. The most influential sex information and attitudes a child receives does not result from formal, planned sex education courses. Rather it starts at birth and is absorbed constantly throughout life in everyday social relationships. It is influenced, first and most critically, by the actions, attitudes and values of parents. Then from siblings, peers, friends and the cultural environment at large. Some of the most potent and influential sexual emotions and attitudes begin to form in impressionable young minds after picking up the nonverbal cues, actions and attitudes of those most influencing them.
First Sex Teachers
Parents really have no choice between providing or not providing sex education for their children. They themselves are the first educators in basic human relationships between the sexes. Their lives as parents emanate attitudes toward sex, sexual values and sexual roles whether they teach them in formal instruction or not. The only alternative parents have is how and what their children will learn from their example and teaching; and whether they will meet their responsibility to provide right and wholesome sex education — and do it first, before youths pick up damaging or erroneous sex knowledge and attitudes elsewhere. Sex education begins with an understanding of what one is — male or female. This is established between the ages of one and two. This sexual identity occurs, largely, according to the way a child is looked upon and treated by parents, about how the child is encouraged to look and feel about himself or herself. And especially with whom the child is encouraged to identify. A child learns from his parents and other influential persons what it means to be a male or female; in other words, its gender role. Fathers and mothers, or parent substitutes, are the first models of what it means to be masculine and feminine, of how to respond to others of the same and opposite sex under various occasions. Mates who really love each other and fulfill their God-given functions in life, who show warmth and right affection to each other and their children, are living advertisements of the rewards and value of marriage, the family unit and children. Now look at the opposite. Parents, homes or close social relationships that wreak constant dissension and strife, that manifest lack of proper respect toward others, that are plagued with infidelity, vulgarity, sex abuse and base moral values, are encouraging perverted and harmful human relationships and sexual attitudes. Many homes are not this extreme. Still, young children of preschool or early grade-school age can pick up harmful values, feelings of fears regarding their own or the opposite sex in subtle ways as well as from unfortunate sexual experiences. Parents or other influential persons confused or guilt-ridden about sex, or with wrong attitudes or feelings about their own sex or the opposite sex, communicate such feelings to their children, though they may be unaware they are doing it. A parent may even say one thing that is culturally expected, but their intonation and the way they act, shows they really don't feel that way. Children exposed to such confusing messages or children subjected to silence about sex — that is, children without positive and wholesome sex-role examples and instruction — have no way to judge the rightness or wrongness of their own desires or feelings. In the flow of many interacting experiences in life, children or young adults may not even understand how certain feelings or fears about sex originally began or how they were communicated to them.
Spotting Harmful Influences
Humans are sexual beings with developing sexual interests. Silence about sex as well as wrong social relationships can lead children to seek out wrong avenues of gaining sexual knowledge. Children can be forced into learning about sex from the streets and peers. They may seek it through sexual experimentation or pornographic material. Few of — us can totally escape the in fluency of permissive, and damaging, sex models and values. They bombard society from all directions. The permissive onslaught continues with heavy emphasis on erotic themes in movies, music, magazines, paperbacks and possibly in the loose lifestyles of neighbors or their children. Many homes are torn by divorce and family strife. Teaching right values is then even more difficult. It is time you took steps to teach your children right knowledge about sex before wrong ideas lead them into harm or tragedy. This is necessary even if your home or life has experienced unfortunate marital or sexual experiences in the past.
Many assume that we live in an era of more sexual openness, that parents are more open and willing to talk to their children about sex. That is not true. A recent study spent three years probing the attitudes of 1,400 parents in one Midwest American city. It found that parents were as reticent in talking about sex as their parents were. This research study found: • 85 percent to 95 percent of parents never mentioned any aspect of erotic behavior or its consequences to their offspring. • Parents who did talk about sex with their children thought that one chat was enough. • Blacks had almost exactly the same views on sex education as whites, except that they were more likely to bring the subject up with their youngsters. • Parents seemed confused and uncertain about sexuality. Many parents claimed to be waiting for their offspring to bring questions to them. But when their children did, parents often said their own responses discouraged further discussion. • Both mothers and fathers were about twice — as likely to approve premarital sex for sons as for daughters. • Parents supported sex education for their children. Eighty percent believed it should be taught in the schools. Concluded the researchers: "In word and action, the... parents generally seem to be repeating a pattern set before them by their parents that includes little, if any, verbal communication about sexuality." No wonder so many communities and schools are plagued with soaring teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease. No wonder so many — marriages and homes continue to be built on wrong foundations. Marriages and friendships are being destroyed and undermined with wrong ideas of proper human and sexual relationships long before they are being formed! Study after study reveals that many teenagers, college students and adults are nowhere near as sophisticated in their sexual knowledge as they portray to others. Many possess abysmal ignorance about their own body. They are ignorant about the human relationships that make for lasting happiness and satisfaction in life. So many are unaware of the great variety of emotional, health or disease problems that could occur from the careless use of sex. Here are a few common ideas reported by counselors who frequently deal with youth sexual problems: "You can't get pregnant standing up." "You don't become pregnant if you don't love the boy." "You can't get pregnant the first time.?" "One of my mother's pills protects me from pregnancy and disease." "I'm too young to get pregnant." Where did young people get these erroneous ideas? From other equally uninformed peers? Many youths (and plenty of adults too) know that certain sex-related problems exist, but they don't believe these problems will happen to them. Tragedies can happen to others, but not to them.
Can Schools Succeed Where Homes Failed?
It is such ignorance, coupled with lack of proper sex education in so many homes, that has caused public educators and health officials to demand that sex education courses start in early grades of public schools. But what kind of sex education courses exist in your school? Do you know? Do you care? Many parents assume any sex education by so-called "professionals" is better than none. Others are glad the schools are trying to take the responsibility. They believe that relieves them of the responsibility, and some parents feel they can blame someone else if something goes wrong. The quality of sex education in schools — public or other — may be helpful, informative and well presented. Or it may be erroneous and harmful. Maybe it is a mixture of both. Such classes often provoke much controversy. You may or may not be able to do something about what is taught in your child's classes. But the biggest need is for homes and parents to give right examples and teaching first. Some states in the United States require sex education classes in public schools but most states do not: Yet, because of soaring sex-related problems among youth, many school systems offer some kind of sex instruction. Canada also is in this circumstance. Some foreign nations — particularly in Europe — require state-approved sex instruction for children whether parents want it or not. But what are your children learning? Are you properly instructing them to recognize wrong sexual values and lifestyles if they are presented in such classes, or under any other circumstances?
It Pays to Know
Most teachers of sex education classes in schools know they cannot really make up for the failure of right teaching and values in homes and churches. They may feel hesitant or unqualified for the task. They try, even if reluctant, to do the best they can in an age of diverse and changing sexual values. Many teachers are forced by school or government policy to be nonjudgmental in regards to various sexual acts. However, the trend pushed by writers and publishers of sex-education materials for public schools is clearly more and more permissive, particularly in recommendations for children entering puberty ages. An example of this is a recently published sex education guidebook for teachers in California entitled Education for Human Sexuality. It recommended: • Between ages 3 and 9, "sexual intercourse" becomes a key word of instruction, and youngsters might discuss "sexual molestation" at age 6. (Discussion of the latter, tragically, is needed in our age. But parents should be doing it first; the schools can reinforce it.) • At age 9, pupils may begin to study menstruation, conception and read booklets that say masturbation is acceptable and normal. (Almost no one understands and states the psychological harms of masturbation.) • At ages 10 and 11, a teacher might encourage discussion of family problems. (Unfortunately no absolute judgments of right and wrong actions between the sexes are permitted.) • At ages 12 to 15, teachers may lead students to a local drug store and check the availability of contraceptive products. It is also suggested that students might consider a wide variety of lifestyles, including homosexuality, communes, group marriage and couples living together without marriage. Fortunately, this book only makes recommendations. Most teachers are careful in their outlook and approach, but a growing number are being influenced by such ideas. In Britain, a government-funded family planning organization produced a booklet entitled Learning to Live With Sex for children ages 13 and upwards. The booklet contained six pages on contraceptive methods, 10 lines on responsibility almost entirely equated with the use of contraceptives and no section on marriage. Another curriculum guide for seventh and eighth graders in one American city says, "Stress what is right for the individual." In Intelligent Choice of a Sexual Life Sty le the seventh grader is advised to set for himself a purely "personal standard of sexual behavior." No religious views, no community moral standards are to deflect him from his overriding purposes of self-discovery, self-assertion and self-gratification. Shocked? You should be! Increasingly this is the trend of ideas that are being encouraged for public sex-education classes. These ideas are based on humanist philosophy, the kind that most educators, sociologists and medical personnel have been trained under. Such philosophy holds that there are no intrinsic rights or wrongs, only what doesn't "hurt" someone, only what is acceptable behavior to a society at a given time. Thus, "success" in any school sex education course is achieved if some students start using contraceptive devices. Several years ago, Karl H. Brenner, Jr., M.D., wrote in response to this trend: " Educators have said for years that all we need to do [in public school sex education] is 1) provide copious amounts of sexual knowledge to children from kindergarten through high school, and 2) remove, altogether, the old 'victorian' teachings of virtue, chastity and individual responsibility under God to obey the Ten Commandments, thus freeing children from guilt feelings concerning sexuality. The educators have failed to see that in freeing children from God-fearing self-control they have enslaved them to the jailor of their own lust."
Why have so many parents forsaken their responsibility to set a right and positive example for their children? Why have so many refused to shoulder their responsibility to teach right sexual and moral values? Why are so many homes confused about right sexual standards? Because they are not living the way God instructs! Hush-hush sex in homes on one hand and the all-too-common encouragement within society to "do your own thing" on the other are a doubled-barreled curse. The consequences have been untold millions of ruined minds, emotions and bodies. Whole nations as well as individuals and families are under this curse. It is time to make sure you and your children are living differently than the way the great majority are living their lives. Proper sex education is more than a study of physiology, anatomy or physical techniques. Human sexuality touches everything we are, feel and do. It affects how we relate with every other person — male and female — on every level in life. That is why a sex-anatomy lesson or two in a school alone is doomed to failure. It fails to teach proper human relationships — which are most effectively taught in the home environment by right example and teaching. Schools, moreover, are less and less emphasizing right character-development. They — and many churches also — fail to unite sexual knowledge with the divine purpose of human life.
Wrong Spiritual Influence
More than just misguided human emotions or misguided human values are behind our present trend in "do-your-own-thing" sexual behavior. It is time you began to understand that wrong spiritual as well as human sources can lead unsuspecting and unaware humans into corrupt sex attitudes and feelings. The Bible reveals that a great fallen spirit being, a super arch. angel who rebelled against God
"Mates who really love each other... are living advertisements of the rewards and value of marriage, the family unit and children."
and His laws, and a host of fallen angels with him, are working to implant corrupt values and feelings in human minds (Ephesians 2:1-3). This great fallen spirit, who sways all nations, is now called Satan. The results of yielding to and cultivating satanic-induced emotions are listed in Galatians 5:19-21. Satan and his demons deceive humans to abuse their sexuality, get them hooked on wrong sexual ideas, feelings, desires and habits. Human beings so seduced are not able to understand, appreciate or fulfill God's laws and purpose of life. Nor are they able to establish sound human and marital relationships. Satan is undermining the human race — and covering up God's purposes for mankind — through wrong sexual knowledge! He hates the awesome purposes, lessons and blessings that the right use of sex teaches and produces. Modern sociology and education are utterly unaware of this corrupt influence behind today's Satan-inspired "sexual revolution." They have rejected the Source that reveals it. Satan and his host have been encouraging wrong sex attitudes ever since man was created. "For we are not contending against flesh and blood," reveals Scripture, "but against... rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12, Revised Standard Version).
Rejected Sex Education Course
Why should sex be a source of so much embarrassment and hush-hush? Why should the miracle of life and how it begins be a matter of so much shame and guilt? God's Word, the Bible — the revelation of essential knowledge to mankind — encourages no such approach or attitudes toward sex. Do you know that God intends you to use the Bible as a framework to help you teach your children about the right use of human sexuality? The Bible is a handbook from the Creator about right and wrong human and sexual relationships. First, to be an effective parent, you must straighten out your own values — bring them into agreement with God's. Then you can use the knowledge and values revealed in the Bible to teach fundamental knowledge about sex. You can answer your children's questions about sex without shame or guilt. There is much information to assist you in teaching your children accurate and wholesome knowledge about sex. With a correct understanding of God's laws and purposes for sex, you can evaluate and use other sound illustrated and instructive materials to assist you. An expanded article on such an approach to sex education will appear in a coming issue of this magazine. You won't want to miss it!