I love my parents. But I didn’t get any opportunity to tell my mom how much I love her before she died. Sad!
Nice enough excuse!
But my Dad is still very much alive, and I still don’t get to tell him how much I love him. Why? It’s just too weird to actually say those words to him. He is a macho man…
We live in a culture where affection is considered a form of weakness. So I love my Dad, but I can’t tell him. I’m not used to saying it, and I’m sure he’s not used to hearing it said to him either. It’s weird.
Some of the younger generation may not be familiar with this “awkwardness” when it comes to expressing affection. They’re quite lucky.
It’s a problem of stereotypical upbringing. As far as I can remember, I’ve hugged my Dad only once in my entire life – when my mom died. In other words, that’s the closest physical expression of intimacy that we’ve ever had (I am not talking about the many times I know he must have carried me as an infant).
If this awkwardness can exist with ordinary matters of affection, how much more sex related matters?
What’s Sex Education?
There are several definitions. But it’ll suffice to use the one from a source that we can mostly access – Wikipedia. It says “Sex education is the instruction of issues relating to human sexuality, including emotional relations and responsibilities, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, sexual reproduction, age of consent, reproductive health, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control and sexual abstinence.”
Sex Education is the responsibility of the society – its smallest unit being the family; and more specifically, parents.
I’ve put it this way because I know that some may not have actual parents anymore, and some families are so dysfunctional they can’t teach anything positive to their children.
Parents and/or guardians must teach their children to be COMFORTABLE with talking about sex, affection, affectation, and the whole works. Parents and guardians have to at least introduce the basics. Then situations of formal learning can take it up from there.
In my secondary school days, it was such a sight to watch my biology teacher (a rather young lady) struggle to pronounce “Penis” during her classes on the male reproductive organ. Understandable, right? After all she’s female. But it was even harder for her to mention the word ‘vagina’. Ewwww (something about these words sha, even now I’m still uncomfortable writing and talking about them)!
But this wasn’t my Biology teacher’s fault, it was the fault of a society that attached so much shame to words that merely referred to those organs of ours that make us male and female. For me, my biology teacher’s embarrassment made her a bad teacher, at least on those topics, not minding the fact our constant giggling during those classes distracted her even more.
In the same way, many of our parents today are bad teachers of sex Education. Mothers tell their daughters not to go near boys, their reason usually range from, ‘if you near boys ehn, you go get belle,’ to ‘if boy touch you at all, you don get belle be that…’ Today’s children are way smarter than that. Our parents have to wake up – FAST! It’s no loner enough excuse to say they weren’t given any Sex Education themselves.
What’s the connection between a boy’s touch and pregnancy, biko? The ‘touch’ must be defined, else when our daughters mistakenly touch a boy, and nothing happens, they’ll look for that special touch that makes pregnancy actually happen. Even if they’re not interested, their friends will keep encouraging them till they become interested.
If you’re trying to not get them pregnant, why not tell them not to let any boy or man raise their skirts? Why not tell them that it’s wrong for any man or boy to touch any part of their body they find unacceptable? Of course they’ll ask why. And you’ll tell them that they have a right to protect their bodies. You’ll tell them that some boys and men can trick them into sexual activity by playing indecent touching games. You’ll explain in your own words what sexual activity is and the consequences of engaging in it prematurely. Use whatever TRUE stories you can find that actually make sense, to drive home your points.
It’s normal to find girl teenagers today who know nothing about periods or menstrual pain. Yes they experience it but they don’t know what it is. There are boys who think wet dreams are sins, while masturbation isn’t. There are teenagers who’ll never discuss anything related to sex with their parents even on the pain of death. They just can’t trust their parents enough with such issues.
We must nonetheless thank women for making efforts to at least say something to their daughters about sex. What about men? How many men teach their sons to respect women? A young lady told me she goes everywhere with razor blades because boys always want to grope her bum, or touch her breasts even in the market place. She said the sad thing is that whenever it happens, there are usually people around who just stare with indifference or even laugh as though it were funny.
We would have more responsible boys if we took time to teach them how to properly treat women and care for them. Fathers must teach their sons that it is wrong to lure girls into sexual activity outside of marriage. They must tell them that it is very wicked to impregnate girls and refuse to take responsibility for the babies. They must teach these boys that women are not sex objects that are meant to satisfy their raging libidos. It is irresponsible to encourage our boys to develop the conquest mentality, where every girl they sleep with becomes a new feather added to their caps.
Furthermore, parents and guardians need to realise that their children will find it difficult, almost impossible to be free with them if they overreact anytime they make a mistake. A young lady told me how she was raped at six. Imagine that. Six! Till date she can still remember. She told me she told her mom about it and her mom lost her cool. She informed her entire family that her daughter had been raped without considering what psychological damage she did to her daughter by not discreetly handling the issue.
It is therefore important to have a great relationship with our children – so much so that they can tell us anything, including their most terrible mistakes. We must not try to be too strict like the ideal African parent. Mistakes give us opportunities to gently mould our children, encouraging them to get up and learn from their mistakes.
However, we cannot leave the business of Sex Education in the hands of parents alone. It has to continue in situations of formal learning. Matters of sexual molestation or abuse, should they occur, must be treated with the seriousness they deserve. This becomes more important for those children who have no parents or guardians at all. When schools take sex education more seriously, even those children with dysfunctional families will get the opportunity to learn something.
A parent once said to me, “Father, when is the right time to begin sex education for my children?” There’s no rule of thumb, no ready answer to that question. But if we have an understanding with our children, we’ll know when the time is right from the questions they ask. But if your children are the quiet type, feel free to ask them from time to time how they feel about the girl that’s always chatting with them, or the boy that always visits the house…
What’s wrong with our teens?
We are what is wrong with our teens.
Some months ago some teenagers somewhere in Africa were allegedly caught inside their classroom having a sexual orgy. They were between the ages of 13-15. It was after school hours.
Well, it was a big deal for most folks, cos for them, the sexual desire should be non existent in these teens. That’s preposterous!
Let’s subject this erroneous idea to the litmus test of our individual memories. When was the first time you were sexually attracted to someone; anyone? Oh please, just be frank already! Okay, how old were you when you started having sexual fantasies? See what I’m saying?
So rather than try to discover what our teenagers are getting wrong, so we can do something about it, we’re busy getting scandalised that they ‘can’ engage in sexual orgies at that ‘tender’ age? Of course they can!
All they need is the internet, our sex crazed society, and ‘we’ who would rather sit down and get scandalised, than actually do something to provide proper sex education for our kids.
If you’re still scandalised by the behaviour of your child, call me, place an order for my book, “Triumph of Innocence,” and ‘dash’ as many copies as you can to as many teenagers as you can find.
A stitch in time saves ten!
After that, leave everything else to the Holy Spirit.