A rough night with the 5th graders

We had our last real CCD class last night. I’d like to tell you it ended on a high note, but that would be a lie.  I could tell at the beginning of class that it was going to be a rough night, because the kids were all worked up – giggling and cutting up. I think they all had a full pot of coffee before they came to class.

As I wrote earlier, I was a little nervous about this lesson because it stuck its toe into the water of sexuality. The lesson started out fine, with a discussion of love in its various forms, including a reading from 1 Corinthians 13 (“Love is kind…” etc) However, about half-way through the chapter, the lesson drove off a cliff. With no set-up or transition, the text included a two-paragraph section on sexuality. After addressing the importance of respecting their own bodies, as well as the bodies of others, it included sentences such as these.

“As we grow towards sexual maturity, we are to follow the example of Christ and practice chasity.”

“Chasity is a virtue that helps us express our sexuality in ways that are proper for our time in life.”

“…we do not engage in sex before marriage.”

No set up. No explanation. And these are 5th graders. I tried to draw out some questions and discussion, but it was tough going. I expected a slew of questions like:

“What does sexual maturity mean?”

“What is chasity, Mr. Poolman?”

“What does sexuality mean?”

“When will we be sexually mature?”

Actually, however, there were almost no questions. This was an area they really did not want to discuss.

I admitted that I wasn’t sure exactly how to approach the subject, because I wasn’t certain how much the students had already learned. They assured me that they already “knew it all.”

One student raised his hand and announced, “At my school, we already watched the puberty video.” I guess that covers it.

I talked about the importance of having good communication with their parents, as they will have lots of questions and issues in the coming years. One girl told me that she would never talk to her parents about something like that. “I’ll just get my answers from Google. That way I’ll know I’m getting straight answers.” Yikes!

Finally, I ran up the white flag and surrendered, when one student asked, “Can we please talk about something else now?” and the entire class agreed.

I think that I’ll just avoid this chapter next year.

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One response to “A rough night with the 5th graders

  1. That’s always a tough one. And they’re 5th graders so they’re what? 11 years old? This is a touchy subject for them to feel comfortable with.

    You did your best. That’s all you can do.

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