Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Title: A chance of childhood

Body: Our kids are being subjected to, introduced, discovering, watching, learning, seeing, and or engaging in sex or sex acts, at an alarming and disturbing rate. They are doing so at an early age, much earlier than many of us were, or our parents were. They are saturated with images of sex, sexually explicit lyrics, songs, video games, movies, magazines, internet, even cell phones are or can be potentially a source of how they obtain information or learn about sex. Children as young as 8 and 9 years old are engaging and or experimenting with sex or sex acts. How and when our kids are being exposed, is becoming increasingly more difficult to control, let alone manage. I’m not encouraging parents, foster, step, guardians, etc. to go out and tell your kids everything all at once, all at the same time, and Lord knows they don’t need picture’s or images…this is not that kind of show and tell. Hell, talk about screwing a kid up, don’t go telling them what you did, how you did it, or with whom, or how many, just be honest with them about any questions they may have. I am merely suggesting parents, and or caregivers, be there to answer the questions about sex, life, drugs, etc. for your children before they learn about it from someone else, someplace else.

My parents never had ‘the talk’ with me, those ‘lessons’ were either told to me, showed to me, or I learned firsthand-by doing it, having it done to me, or by seeing it, hearing it and or living it. Not exactly, the ideal way I would recommend or suggest for anyone to learn. For in all honesty, I have learned so many of life’s lessons the hard way I feel that I am damaged, so damaged in fact, there is no sight of me. I’m like a car with a salvage title, on the outside, cosmetically, I look fine. However, on the inside, underneath all the primer, paint, and all, there’s a scar…a welding mark that’s clear of one thing, this thing has been in a wreck, and you know what they say about cars that have been in an accident, they are never the same, no matter what they look like.

See what I mean, this is what happens. I am a product, an example, of what happens to some kids who are told all their lives, that in general, most people, are good people. That is not to say there are not a lot of good people in this world, I know a lot of good people, but not everyone is who they claim or profess to be, and sadly, there are a lot of people that pass themselves off as good people, and aren’t. My parents were loving and caring, but they were also very trusting and naïve, and believed in people, and put their trust in them. My mother lived a very sheltered life and taught us that there is good in everyone, and my father believed that men were honorable, and a man’s word was his bond. This is who they are/were, unfortunately, this is not always the case, and there are those that seek to monopolize, exploit, abuse, and take advantage of, the trusting nature of others.

My parents told me, and this was their version or idea of a sex talk (even though the word sex was never mentioned).

“Be honest and helpful, be grateful, be thankful, and courteous, do as you are told, follow the rules, listen to your elders, stay away from drugs and alcohol, save yourself for the ‘right’ one, and stay away from stinky, dirty, old men”.

I think most have heard or shared some variation or version of a sex talk, even though sex topics might be uncomfortable for the one giving the talk, as much, if not more so, as it is, for the one listening or hearing the talk. However uncomfortable or awkward they may be, I believe they are essential and necessary, especially given the time in which we live. I just feel as parents, it is our responsibility and obligation to inform our children and educate them about sex, not someone else. Unfortunately, sheltering or believing we can control what, when, or how soon, our children are exposed or introduced to sex, drugs, etc. is out of our hands. Even if we limit, or think we can, or are, limiting their exposure, they are so vulnerable to outside influences; we seem powerless to stop it. This does not mean we cannot give them the knowledge and or advice needed, in an effort to make wiser, and more informed decisions. Which is why I feel and felt it was so important that whatever information or education my children receive(d), came, and comes from me.

Believe it or not, most children do value, respect, and listen, to our opinions, and us, if we give them the same measure of respect in return, even if we think they don’t, won't, or aren't listening. Children/ teens seldom listen to what we think they should be doing, because they are too busy watching what we are doing. Maybe if we stress the importance of talking about sex, drugs, etc. they will begin to view and value the importance and signifigance of what they do, when they do it, and with whom they do it. 

When and if your children come to you and ask you questions about sex, don’t assume or presume that because a child/teen is talking and asking questions about sex that they are doing it, they may not be, and even if they are, you probably don’t want to know anymore than they want to tell you. Allow them to talk to you about what they know, not what you know, it may mean the difference between what they do, when they do it, with whom they do it with, and or how soon they do it. Give them the freedom to come to you without judgment, ridicule, condemnation, or shame, and amazingly enough they do/will, at least that has been my experience.

I am not always thrilled or happy about some of the things they are doing, saying, did, have done, or may do, but I still listen. Listening is not condoning or approving of the decisions or choices they may make, have made, or will. They are going to do what they are going to do one way or the other, with or without our approval or permission. That is not to say all kids are the same, or that all kids are going to do as they please, the point is, we are all different and we feel things differently, go through things differently, endure things differently, nothing about any one of us is the same. Therefore, we cannot speak to another person’s pain, feelings, or experiences, we cannot measure or compare or judge how or what we believe or think someone should or would do, because what we believe, hope, think or want, for our children, and or those we love, may not be what they believe, hope, think, or want, for themselves. All we can do is be there for one another, respect one another’s agency, and accept the fact that we all make mistakes, we all sin at some time, we are all far from perfect. My belief that my parents were ‘perfect’ and couldn’t possibly relate to what I was going through or had been subjected to, is what kept me from opening up to them about anything. That, and my fear of doing or saying anything I might be judged or punished for, as a result of doing whatever it was I did or had done.

I tell and told my sons, “If you are feeling guilty or ashamed, or are living your life in a way, that is making you feel that way, maybe you aren’t living your life the way you want. If you’re being influenced or persuaded into doing these things, then that is the part that makes me most sad. Not that you’re doing those things, but that you’re doing them to fit in, or be liked, or accepted. If that is the case, than you are clearly doing what you think others want you to do, and you are not capable of thinking for yourself. Making mistakes, doing things you like, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or just for the sake of doing it, is not a good enough reason for doing anything. Doing anything, because your friends told you to do it, or tell you to, is not reason enough, or cause enough to do it. Personally, I feel that doing anything that’s worth doing, or if you’re going to get in trouble for doing it, should at least be worth the trouble you’re going to get into, as a result of doing it, whatever ‘it’ is. Be original at least, take ownership, do it because it has never been done, do something not just anyone, everyone, or someone else has done, can do, or does, all the time. Without breaking the law of course, hey, even I have my limits. The point is, don’t be a follower,-be a leader, if doing that cost you friends, then they were never your true friend to begin with.”

I am not better than anyone, smarter, prettier, superior, wiser, or any other er, neither am I less than, or inferior, to anyone. I don’t know it all, in fact, I know next to nothing, and as for being a role model, or advisor, I know I am far from 'ideal'( my poor kids)-I am merely sharing with you the way in which I have chosen to raise my sons. I am not encouraging anyone try this with his or her own children, I am saying do the exact opposite. Raise your kids as you see fit and in accordance to your beliefs, values, and morals, just don’t judge me, ridicule, or condone me, for doing the same. If you don’t agree with my methods or like them that’s fine, you don’t have to or need to. I just am tired of seeing our children robbed of their childhood and their innocence. Due diligence, united front, armed for ‘war,’ game on, give them the proper tools, education, set the example, and lay a strong foundation, and perhaps we can give our children what they stand in need of the most-a chance.

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