Monday, January 5, 2015

Not Harry Potter's OWL

Our kids began OWL classes.

No, much to their disappointment, this was not Hogwarts's Ordinary Wizarding Levels.  Instead, it was the Unitarian Universalist Association's Our Whole Lives curriculum on sexuality, identity, and health for elementary school kids, including tools on coping with the expression of these in popular culture.  (It's not the mysterious film we watched in segregated groups in 5th grade that was nothing more than a Kotex ad.)  Mama and I were thrilled this was a topic that the UUA addressed and knew the kids would be taking it before they were even born.  Our first congregation hadn't offered it in years, just one of the reasons we switched.

And so Sunday morning, before church, found them sitting in the OWL class.

No, I don't know how it went.  "What happens in OWL, stays in OWL."  They can tell me what they learned but not what other kids asked.  The two teachers--especially trained by the UUA, a man and a woman--had given us parents a detailed handout about the different sessions (on such topics as puberty, sexual orientation, "lovemaking," health and safety, decision-making), complete with vocabulary list so we all used the proper terms.

Of course, hearing that many of their peers and classmates hadn't discussed sex or the like with their folks (and these are UUs!  I expected it of my Catholic friends, who have begged me to tell my kids not to say a word to theirs, to preserve their "innocence."), we wondered if we had said too much too soon.  Being a non-traditional family that created their children in a less-than-natural way, however, the topic arose pretty early.  They asked; we told. In fact, they both read the main book of the course, It's Perfectly Normal, last year.  (I highly recommend it; that, and the American Girl one, The Care and Keeping of You 1 & 2.)    Now, as fully informed as any fourth graders, they just roll their eyes at me when the topic arises.

Most of the time.

"Mom," Sis asked on Friday, "why do all the songs on the radio talk about sex?"

Um . . . because it's geared to (and often performed by) hormonal teenagers who are exploring their bodies, identities, and relationships and/or adults nostalgic for (or stuck in) that phase??  Sis thought the song "Animals" must be about fluffy bunnies or something--not people smelling and preying upon and "eating" (I kid you not) each other--because she couldn't understand the lyrics.*

OWL came just in time.


*excerpt from "Animals" by Maroon V

Baby, I'm preying on you tonight
Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals

Maybe you think that you can hide
I can smell your scent from miles
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals

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