Sex, Drugs, and Late for School

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It’s amazing just how many topics are examined in just one morning here in the zoo. Tucker brought to me a stack of papers I needed to sign for his “Worth the Wait” program. “Worth the Wait” is an abstinence based sex-ed curriculum our school district adheres to. As I was cutting off the bottom portion of the pages, signing the chapters, I was glancing at them to make sure I have truly discussed these topics with him.

In this house no subjects are off-limits. My kids can talk to me about sex, drugs, beer pong, or what kind of underwear go best with their outfit. Sometimes it can be embarrassing to be so open with each other, especially if you raise a kid like Blondie who doesn’t seem to have a filter. (She gets that from her daddy.) In fact, when Tucker was about 4 years old, his grandparents took him out for dinner. While they were gone, they asked him: “if you could go on vacation, and could only pick one of your siblings to go with you, who would you choose?” For him, it was an easy choice. He picked Dylan. “Why not Hannah?” They inquired. His answer makes me laugh out loud still, seven years later. He said “because she always talks about her bachina.”

In her defense, she was in the midst of the preteen years, when “bachinas” can be confusing. Answering some of those questions was hard to do, but I always value having an open, honest relationship with my kids. As I signed the science papers for Tucker, the ceiling fan blew them on the floor and my  husband leaned down to pick them up. The one in his hand was about sexual abuse. Those words “SEXUAL ABUSE” made my husband so uncomfortable. When Blondie was little we always talked to her about the parts no one else was allowed to see. We were forever trying to guard her and protect her. We wanted every sleepover to be at our house. Then the next five were boys, and it seems like we didn’t have as many discussions about those things, but we probably need to. Being a boy doesn’t guarantee you will never fall prey to a pervert.  He tossed the worksheets on the bed and said “can’t they wait until high school to tell them this stuff?”

I reminded him that by high school, there could be five girls that have already had a baby, and in a class of a hundred kids, that’s a lot of pregnant teenagers. I said “he’s in junior high, he’s already facing pressures about sex and drugs!” Just then my son looked at me with a confused expression and said “No, I’m not. People know not to bring that stuff to me.”

I was so proud because I’ve worked in this school district for 12 years. I know for a fact there are kids in his grade doing drugs and having sex. I always worry about keeping my kids away from that stuff. It’s really hard in this day and age. Kids with ADHD often end up struggling with addictions and it seems I am the last one who hasn’t spent my days getting high. All these arguments about legalizing don’t make it any easier. Kids are bombarded with information about medical uses and benefits and I feel like I am always having to counteract that with the truth about the dangers of addictions. I come from a long line of people who have struggled with addictions- whether it be alcohol or drugs or shopping or bad boyfriends or lottery tickets, you name it, I know someone who just can’t get by without it. So I am encouraged to hear that my son has established himself as someone who doesn’t cross those lines.

yolo  I don’t want my kids to waste their time or their money on bad habits. I don’t want them to chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes or need beer money as if it’s a utility bill. There’s a huge flaw in this whole YOLO philosophy that is being sold to our kids. People are filling their heads with messages that say “You Only Live Once, so do whatever feels good, whatever makes you happy at the moment” but the truth is, in every decision we make there are consequences. Some of those consequences might be here on Earth, like missing out on a dream job or spending a few days in jail or paying some fines or dealing with lung cancer (this list goes on) but the bigger consequences for this YOLO life might just be waiting for us at the Pearly Gates. I think we need to sell our kids on the idea that instead of doing whatever we want, we better be doing whatever HE wants…. but that’s a rant for another day because Trenton is down to his last pair of tennis shoes.

We searched the house. We found an old pair with no shoe strings and a pair that has the sole hanging off the left shoe. The pair he’s been wearing were left out in the yard during a game of muddy football to be soaked by yet another thunderstorm. So we did a mad dash to Wal-mart and he purchased his first pair of cheap shoes as a solo shopper. I gave him $10 and said I’d be back in ten minutes, and while I dropped everyone else off at school, he bought some black canvas tennis shoes to hold him over the last week of school. He managed to sneak in some orange Tic-Tacs too. So it looks like we’ve hit a lot of milestones today. We’ve covered a lot of ground. The zoo crew is growing up, a little too fast, but they’re turning out alright!

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8 responses »

  1. Did you say, in the last line they are turning out the lights? Joke of course. Sounds like you folks are on the right track. Your kids will eventually thank you for being straight up with them, and you will be proud of each and every one! Keep moving in that direction. :o)

  2. I have to confess I do encourage YOLO life choices for my kids just my version is a little different, I encourage them to dream big, desire to travel the world and to put in place plans to make it happen and not just leave it as a dream, that means getting an education, working extra hard at the subjects that don’t come easily, not giving into failure, if a second chance is required making it happen not spending a lifetime moping over missed opportunities. Basically I teach my kids all the things I wish someone had taught me years ago, that you really can go and do anything if you are prepared to do the hard work and not settle for existing rather than living.

    The child abuse thing sadly needs to be taught at such a young age because that is exactly when they fall victim to these evil predators, I guess it is better for a child to lose their innocence learning they have the right to say no and not keep quiet than for them to lose it because they don’t know anything other than what a potential abuser says.

    • That’s a good kind of Yolo! I teach my kids to dream big and follow their hearts. In fact Blondie is a singer and currently makes a living with her music. I support that 100% because I believe that if God gave her that gift, she should use it! If it doesn’t work out, she can go to college down the road. There are no rules that say you can only go to college right after high school. So far, she’s doing just fine. I have another son who is focusing on the NFL and I say why not? If he has to adjust someday, ok… The kind of Yolo I worry about is the self-destructive party-it-up until you can’t see straight behavior. I share your motives, I tell my kids everything I wish someone had told me. I try to guard them from every pain I knew. Especially sexual abuse, because it haunted me so deeply, my goal was to raise kids who never knew that turmoil. I’m with you, dream big! Travel the world! My prayers are that they keep their morals on those journeys.

      • Well my daughter is 22 in a fortnight has a degree and is engaged to her partner who she has been with for five years, I have different religious beliefs to you but I think part of it is not just about teaching morals but also about making sure they know just how much they are worth. I have seen far too many people throw morals aside not because they weren’t taught them but because their self esteem has been so low they haven’t believed they were worth more. So many kids are so busy demanding respect from strangers yet tragically have never been taught to respect themselves. The schooling is slightly different here which makes it incredibly hard to go to college unless you go straight from high school or just take one gap year, university is a little easier to delay 😀 fingers crossed Blondie will make all her dreams come true and one day you will be sharing links for us to buy her albums

      • I think we are more alike than you know! I have seen a thousand young people fall apart from low self-esteem. To me, valuing yourself is a fundamental moral. Can I ask where you are? Here there are so many online universities now, I went back to school a few years ago. Blondie does have 2 albums, her first was called Roller Coaster when she was 15 years old and the second is Six String Stories, an acoustic EP. I should definitely share the links! She’s working on a new album now, and they only get better as she grows. You can see her at http://www.treblesoul.com if you’re curious!

      • I am in the UK, so our schooling system is different to yours, your college is more like our university, you can’t get into university without going to college here first which you normally do 16 -18 years of age, then is the time most people chose to do a gap year if they are going to do one. I will certainly check out her music, I confess to getting stuck in a rut with my music choices sticking to what I know but lately have been branching out and listening to new bands, singers etc 😀

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