Not that I pay that much attention to the (depressing) news, but even I couldn’t miss yesterday’s constant coverage of the middle school that will now be offering birth control to its students. Never mind the fact that I am the definition of total square–have never drank, smoked, done recreational drugs (inhaling or otherwise) and am living proof that it IS possible to wait. Let’s just start with the fact that I’m sick of government entities sticking their noses where they don’t belong.
One news story reported that up to 20% of 14-year-olds have already had sex. OK, let’s pretend for one moment that there is any reality to that number and that it isn’t, just maybe, skewed by the teenage male ego. It didn’t used to be this way. That number is newsworthy because it is so much higher than in the past. Why is it that so few people expect teens today to be incapable of exercising the self control that was expected in the past? The fact is, while the decrease of morality in society really depresses me, I will have a great amount of influence over how my children grow up. Much like my parents, I will teach them what I believe is, or is not, acceptable and I will expect them to live by those standards. Not the *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* kind of expectation. And that is the part that angers me. While I teach my children one thing, government schools (should I send them there) will be winking and nudging away–handing out birth control, giving advice on abortions, and teaching sex education classes that, in many instances, fly in the face of my deepest held values.
Now, please understand something. I have a degree in English. I had a teaching certificate. My original plan as a slightly-less-jaded young adult was to be a high school teacher. My experiences with student teaching changed that. You see, as a teacher, you are told that you are to teach the subject, not morals. Like, for instance, doing something horrible like failing a child on an assignment because they cheated (I’m talking short essays, copied verbatim from the person sitting in front of you, and students too dumb to even shuffle the stack of papers as they are being passes up so that maybe I wouldn’t see the same things–VERBATIM–on two papers in a row), well, that might cause outrage in a parent. Because, of course, the grade is more important than the MORALS behind not cheating, doing your own work, etc. The only time that morals are supposed to be addressed seems to be in the arena of sex education, and then it is only from the perspective that experimentation is normal, no one should expect you to exercise self-control, and alternative lifestyles are just as normal as anything else. And while abstinence is the only sure way to protect you from rampant STD’s, well, back to the winking and nudging. And, of course now, vaccinating.
Which brings me to the other part of this that ways heavily on me. I realize, as a member of team testosterone, that Gardasil doesn’t directly affect me (although I do have 10 nieces). I don’t question the idea of offering it to people who are, or plan to become, sexually active outside of a monogamous relationship. I cringed, however, at my pediatricians response when I asked her for her opinion about it today when I had C~ and W~ in for their 18-month and 3-year check-ups. Her response? She feels all 11 to 12-year-old girls should receive it. When I questioned the wisdom of giving something so new to so many people (or, heaven forbid, eventually mandating it as has been done with so many other vaccines) she told me that it has been proven to be safe. After all, is HAS been on the market for over a year. Aaaack! I refrained from asking her if she was at all familiar with DES. DES was on the market from 1938 to 1971, and was given to millions of pregnant women because, after all, it was proven to be safe. My grandmother was one of those women. My sister and I have the distinction of being in that group of 3rd generation “DES Granddaughters,” and no one is quite sure how we will be affected by the *safe* drugs that were given to our grandmothers. We’ll be the ones to show whether, like our mothers, we will be at higher risk for reproductive cancer, infertility, breast cancer, autoimmune disease, and goodness only knows what else.
Bottom line, I wish the government (and its school systems) would spend less time trying to “protect” our children from the fallout of moral decline, and more time focusing on the cause of that decline. Maybe that is too much to ask. I’d be happy if they would just butt out–raising kids is hard enough, I don’t want to have to worry about them undermining the lessons my children learn at home.
*In case you are wondering, yes, C~ did get a vaccination today. I debated whether or not I would do any, but he was only due for one last DTaP booster, then he is done until closer to kindergarten. But I did tell my pediatrician that I am strongly considering an alternative shot schedule this time around.