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Who taught you about sex? If you were lucky, a kind, understanding
parent or relative told you about “the birds and the bees” and answered all of
your questions as you came of age.
Some people learned about intercourse in science class or sex education
classes. Many found out about “it”
from older siblings or peers. Still
others learned through hands-on experience.
These days, it is essential that kids be informed about
sexuality from an early age.
Children are exposed to sexual images and language through television,
movies, computers, magazines, music, and video games. Often these images portray unrealistic
and sometimes dangerous messages about body image, gender roles, and
promiscuity. Adults often give
clues that they are uncomfortable talking openly about sex and so children often
get information from unreliable sources like the Internet, magazines, or one
Making safe choices about sex is a life or death issue. Many kids are misinformed about the
risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, date rape, and the
transmission of AIDS. With peer
pressure and strong messages glorifying sex in mainstream culture, kids need to
understand all aspects of human sexuality and learn effective communication
skills in order to maintain self-respect and healthy relationships. Gay youth in particular often struggle
with their sexuality and without decent information and support can suffer from
depression or even attempt suicide.
Our Whole Lives is an important program in the life of our
congregation. This is the second
time that our trained leaders will be offering comprehensive sexuality education
for seventh graders as a part of the Religious Education Program. The Unitarian Universalist Association
and the United Church of Christ developed Our Whole Lives (or OWL as it’s
known by its acronym) as a sex education program designed for congregations.
Many people are surprised to discover that sex is being
talked about openly not only with thirteen year olds but in a church
setting. OWL was developed in the
1990’s but this is actually a revision of a program that was taught in our
churches during the sixties and seventies called About Your Sexuality. Unitarian Universalists have been
offering human sexuality courses for over forty years.
I believe the “Abstinence Only” approach to sex education
that is being promoted by some churches and schools is insufficient. Although OWL promotes abstinence, it
does so by giving the participants detailed information about the real-life
consequences of sexual behavior.
The kids are encouraged to share their feelings and experiences not only
with the class and teachers but also with their parents.
Sexuality is not a subject to be treated lightly. For that reason, it is important that
kids understand what it means to have a mutually respectful and mature
relationship. Kids actually learn
how to make decisions, resist peer pressure, and express themselves more
clearly. These skills are essential
not only when it comes to sex but in all of the challenges that they may
encounter as they come of age. We
cannot expect youth to be able to “just say no” without affirmation and support
from caring adults and peers.
At Channing Memorial Church, we strive to create a safe
environment where human beings can seek meaning in life. We believe that the mind, body, and
spirit are not separate entities but together contribute to our health as human
beings. One of the goals of
religion is to help guide individuals to becoming his or her best selves. This is why it is so important for faith
communities to support people of all ages in making healthy decisions and to
create a safe caring atmosphere to explore life’s most intimate issues.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.
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