So…. hmmm. Did the school just inform me that we will be having a SEXUALITY WEEK at school? Yes… yes they did.
This could have really gone in a million different directions for each child in 5 different grades. I wasn’t really sure what to do since I’m not completely fluent in Spanish yet and talking to the teachers may not have gotten me very far anyway.
So to avoid the situation we went to Florida.. I’m totally kidding. I’m not gonna lie, I would have been totally fine being in Florida during “sexuality week.” It just so happens we made it back in time.
My 11 year old came home with loads of info on what they talked about. Most of her stories are fluff and take forever to leave her brain, so I’ll save you the details. From what I gathered in 6th grade they discussed what it means to be friends, to be kind to others… basically it’s okay to have feelings and be sensitive, boy or girl. The rest she said she’d didn’t know enough Spanish to understand.. fist pump! I’m pretty sure we dodged a bullet. My brain was on edge thinking about culture differences in how they may discuss puberty and sex. Spending the last 10 years in small town Idaho, I’m used to super conservative, give them the facts they need at that age and move on… a week of sexuality in Mexico could have been spring break in Miami for all I knew.
In Segundo we were to take something normal and make it more of a spiritual experience. The task was for our 8 year old to close her eyes and feel mommy’s face and then daddy’s face, then both at the same time to feel the differences. I enjoyed this idea of maybe a more personal introduction to the differences between man and women if that is where the conversation was to go from there, but surprisingly it didn’t. We then read a letter to her that we wrote about how much we love her and she read a letter to us that she wrote. It seemed to be more focused on feelings and then the touch “snuggle” factor again.
In Kinder, mom and dad were invited to come to school to basically “snuggle” our 5 year old for 30 minutes. We came in and sat with her on the floor while the teacher read a script that was written that asked mom and dad to hold her hand and say: I love your hands they are beautiful. Then to look into her eyes and say: I love your eyes they are so beautiful. We did this for her feet, skin, eyes, heart and hands. She sat on each of our laps one at a time so we could hug her and tell her we love her.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Affection Week would be a better title for what our kids were going through this week. The kids learned about expressing affection through letters and snuggles. The snuggle discussion never went outside the family relationships which kept things clean and G rated. I was thoroughly surprised. I definitely don’t believe in keeping children in the dark about sexuality, but I do believe in teaching them what they need to know at each age. For example, my five year old knows that babies come from mommy’s tummy and my 11 year knows they come from eggs in your ovaries. Either way I prefer I be involved in the discussion. If you are feeling a little in the dark about how and when to discuss certain subjects regarding sexuality with your kids I would suggest reading, “How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex.”
I also had a moment of refection during our second graders meeting. Many of the parents were in tears with how emotional the experience of snuggling their children were while the teacher was expressing the importance of making sure physical touch (hugging and snuggling) is happening often in your home. SHe also expressed how the kids have a conscience and a sub conscience that is remembering the things we do and how we talk to and treat them. For a split second I felt bad that I too wasn’t more in the “moment” with this experience, but then I realized I wasn’t emotional because having this experience with my child wasn’t a rare emotional occurrence. If you asked Laney how her family shows that they love her she would without even thinking say , “snuggle.”
Take the time to sit on the couch with your child (no tv, no phone) and snuggle. This snuggle time lowers walls and allows children to feel comfortable telling you their deepest darkest secrets. They may just confess that they feel bad for something they did that I HAD NO PREVIOUS knowledge of.
My favorite question to ask while snuggling are:
Is there something you need to tell me?
Is there something I need to know?
Are you happy? How can you be happier?
Do you think your siblings are happy?
Which sibling could be happier? And what could you do to help with that?
Snuggling doesn’t have to take an hour, it can take just 5-10 minutes, but it definitely needs to happen. Love your babies! And I will pray for you if your school decides to have sexuality week.
(the photographer in me apologizes for not having pictures of “sexuality” week)