Friday, January 19, 2018

There are some things for which education is not the answer. . .

Some of us have the tendency to think that the core of almost every problem is a lack of knowledge.  If only my kids knew what I know, they would do as I say.  If only people knew what the purpose of the law was, they would delight in keeping it.  If only. . . if only. . .  No more empty promise has come with those who believed that most, if not all, the problems of sexuality were, at their core, a lack of knowledge.  The response over the last several generations has been more knowledge.  In fact, what was once a whispered subject in home and school is now loudly shouted in classroom, theater, on TV, on the internet, in books -- to the point where you cannot escape information on sex, sexuality, gender, etc...  And what fruit has it borne? 

According to statistics, the birth rate of teens has declined a bit but the birth rate to the unmarried continues to climb.  The rate of infection for sexually transmitted disease is still epidemic.  Sexual assault is in the news every day.  Children are toying with gender like they would a toy.  In nearly every aspect of sexual identity and behavior, the fruits of our sex saturated educational systems, entertainment industry, and daily lives has not been what some have hoped.  There are some things for which education is not the answer.  In fact, information and knowledge without values becomes its own problem.

Since we have come to believe that sex is essentially amoral (so that the only thing really immoral about it is the lack of informed consent), we have responded with sex education which is, essentially amoral as well.  We preach the importance of consent and we generally tell our children that the only thing immoral about sex is when there is no consent.  If consent is given, there seems to be no real boundary for sexual behavior between the consenting individuals.

We have provided graphic and vivid information, demonstrated everything from how to masturbate to how to put on a condom, and we have presumed that since our children cannot be expected to abstain from sexual behavior, we have to give them enough information to guide their experience to a satisfactory result. The end result is that sex is no longer connected to marriage or to children but has become an end in and of itself.  It has become a right which no one dare infringe -- except, of course, for the sacred duty of obtaining consent.  So, are our people happier?  Are our marriages better?  Are our children more protected from harm (except, of course, the harm of restraining their desire)?

We have believed the lie that the root of all problems is a lack of information and forgotten that information without values to sift through it and apply it fixes little.  Of course, those who promote values with information are generally written off as prudes who wish to deny pleasure to people.  Since even Christians find it hard to resist the god of pleasure, we are pretty good at ignoring the call to accompany behavior with values and to teach consequences as much as we impart information.  We don't need more sexual information.  We are in desperate need for values to accompany the information we have.  We don't need a more sex saturated culture, we need to be reminded what is good is good only within certain parameters.   Dare I say it?  We need to teach some discipline.  We have done everything possible to help our children say "yes" to their desires.  Maybe it is time we taught them how to say "no."


John Joseph Flanagan said...

Values must accompany sex education, but whose values are being advanced at this point in our history as a nation and society? For too long, it has been categorized as "permissive" values, the values of promiscuity and non judgmental activity, with Hollywood's endorsement, of course. As I was a youth in the 1960's, filled with the same sexual desire and raging testosterone as the next guy, it was then considered acceptable to experiment and seek sexual relationships as a means of self fulfillment. I was uncomfortable with these values, still holding on to the idea that when the time was right I would meet one woman whom I would love, marry, and channel my passions and biological sexual energy. I still believed in romantic love, and continue to believe in it. A romantic love is not just a strictly sexual relationship, it is about meeting a kindred spirit, one which would lead to a lifelong commitment. That is what I wanted. At 23 years old, I met my wife, who was twenty. We married two years later and have been together for 48 years. She is everything I ever wanted in a wife, and I can say I absolutely love her as much today as when I first saw her. I know I am blessed. I wish other Christian men the same, but I know each circumstance is different, and many struggle with relationships, divorce, and never find that place where sexual desire and love can be expressed the way Our Lord intended it to be. Parents need to teach the idea of marriage as the proper channel for sexual love, a difficult thing to do in today's society.

Anonymous said...

Sexual desire is a powerful force in a young person’s life and it really does take a supportive family and community to keep him/her from falling into sexual sin. Unfortunately, family and community have been out to lunch morally speaking for the last sixty or so years. I think the Hasidic Jews have the right idea when it comes to dating, courtship, and marriage wherein family and community protect their children from themselves and base it on religious teachings from the Talmud. The divorce rate is about the same but at least they are married as virgins.