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.
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!
******************** #21 ********************