Recently, a teacher in Philadelphia made waves when he posted a series of tweets about how uncomfortable he was teaching through distance learning this fall. His concern was that he would not be able to have honest conversations with his students about issues like gender and sexuality, knowing that the children’s parents might overhear. He said that he operated on a “what is said here, stays here” premise within his classroom. Personally, I feel that if a teacher is not comfortable with the content of a conversation with a student being overheard by their parents, then they probably shouldn’t be having the conversation in the first place.
This reminded me of an article that I read a few years ago. A school district was planning to implement a new sexual education curriculum and it was available at a meeting for parents to peruse. Only one parent showed up, and she was appalled when she read it. She took photos and posted them to the internet so other parents would be aware. The curriculum, which was intended for middle-schoolers, gave explicit instructions on how to perform every sexual act imaginable, along with crude illustrations and jokes, which made light of the whole subject. While researching this, I found numerous articles about today’s sexual education and reservations that parents have about it, from California1, Washington State2, Scotland3, Canada4, and South Africa5, among others.
When I was in school, sexual education included learning the basic scientific facts of reproduction, the risks involved, and how to avoid disease. I also remember our teacher explaining to us how serious a responsibility it was to become sexually active and how it was not something to rush into before one was ready or to allow oneself to be pushed into. However, in recent years, the United Nations has been encouraging countries to adopt something called “Comprehensive Sexual Education,” which focuses more on the pleasure aspect and appears to encourage sexual activity in minors.
If the material presented to children in school, by teachers whom they are taught to respect, makes it seem as if sex is not something to be taken seriously, that is likely to affect their attitude about it. They may even feel like a “prude” if someone pressures them to engage in sexual behaviors that they don’t want to. Besides the negative emotional consequences that a child may experience as a result of early sexual activity, it could also open children up to exploitation. Kim Wendt, co-founder of Informed Parents of Washington, told The Christian Post that Seattle-area police officers who have worked in the human trafficking division, after viewing content in the CSE curriculum in her state, say the material mirrors how traffickers groom their child victims to enter the sex trade2. In Canada, there was a scandal over the development of their CSE curriculum, because it was overseen by a deputy education minister who was later convicted on charges of creating and possessing child pornography and counseling another person to commit sexual assault on a child4.
As a Christian, I want my children to have a biblical view of this subject, and I believe the responsibility of having these conversations should fall on the parents. Teaching the basic biology in school is one thing, but indoctrinating children into a worldly view while putting them at risk of abuse is another. I am grateful that I am homeschooling my two school-aged children, so that I can introduce this subject in the way that I deem best.
Having already raised two children to adulthood, I do not believe that there is a specific age at which all children need to learn about sex. They are individuals and will begin to ask questions at different ages. The only aspect of it that I make a point to instill in my children at a young age is that there are parts of their bodies that are private and that other people should not touch, and that they should tell me if anyone does. Aside from that, I do not push information on them that they aren’t already expressing curiosity about.
When your child begins to ask questions, there are many book series out there by Christian publishers that give varying degrees of information, depending on the age of the child.
With the recent pandemic, many parents are now choosing homeschooling, and for some, it is only temporary. There are also homeschoolers who enroll their children in school when they reach a certain grade. This is a good time for them to take this into consideration. If you are planning on sending your children to public school at some point:
- Look into what sex ed curriculum your school district is using and address any concerns you may have about it with the principal. Some have links to their curriculum online, where you can view what is going to be covered and at what grades.
- If it does not meet your standards, find out if you can request that your child opt-out of the class.
- Make sure that your child has a solid grounding in the biblical view of sex first, in an age-appropriate manner.
- Teach your children why you believe what you believe. I attended a Christian elementary school and was taught many things from a biblical viewpoint that, when I entered public high school, were challenged, and I had no rebuttal to. I try to prepare my children for the things that they will hear from the world and explain that they are not part of God’s plan.
Shortly after I was born again, I heard a sermon in which the pastor explained that God is not trying to be a bully or ruin anyone’s fun by putting limits on our sexuality. He, as our Creator, designed it a certain way, as a good thing, and Satan tries to distort it into something wrong. When we go outside of God’s will, we experience hurt that He never intended, so God’s limits are for our protection. He specifically pointed out how the Bible describes the sex act as “becoming one” (Mark 10:7-8) with another person and how this explains why, when a relationship ends, the pain of that can feel like losing one of your own limbs. As a young woman who had experienced that hurt myself, it finally all made sense to me, and I was able to begin the process of surrendering this area of my life to God.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, the stakes are even greater. With online predators who target children, pornography available at the click of a mouse, and human trafficking as a growing problem, it is more important than ever that our children are grounded in the Truth, what behavior is of God and what is not, so that no one is able to take advantage of them or lead them astray.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 10:14
- Mary Margaret Olohan, “Here Are the Details on California’s Sex Education,” Daily Caller News Foundation, July 8, 2019
- Brandon Showalter, “Parents Push Back Against Wash State Sex Ed Bill; Gov Expected to Sign,” The Christian Post, March 10, 2020
- Dorothy Cummings McLean, “Scots Protest New Sex- Ex Curriculum that Forces Children to Endorse Sexual Choices of Adults,” LifeSiteNews, September 16, 2019
- Joe Warmington, “Liberals Can’t Deny Levin’s Role with Sex-Ed Curriculum,” Toronto Sun, March 3, 2015
- Tom Head, “Controversial Sex Education Curriculum Faces Parliamentary Review,” The South African, October 31, 2019