What are your kids learning about sex?As a Catholic youth minister in the 1960s, Patricia F. Miller found that her discussions with teens always led back to the same topic: sexuality. "I realized that for kids, there was no place for them to learn about it in Catholic-school curriculum," says Miller, now a well-known sexuality educator, consultant, and trainer in St. Louis.
And when Miller advised students to talk to their parents, she says the answer was always the same: "My parents are uncomfortable talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to me about sex. They overreact o·ver·re·act
To react with unnecessary or inappropriate force, emotional display, or violence. and say, `You must be doing something.'"
More than 30 years later, little has changed, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Miller, herself a mother of three young adults. And although progress in the field of sex education slowly is taking root in dioceses, parishes, and schools across the country, getting parents comfortable in their role as sexuality educators in the lives of their children remains a stumbling block stum·bling block
An obstacle or impediment.
any obstacle that prevents something from taking place or progressing
Noun 1. .
In 1989, Miller designed a sexuality curriculum, "In God's Image: Male and Female," now used in more than 2,000 parishes in seven English-speaking countries. Her book, Sex is not a Four-Letter Word four-let·ter word
Any of several short English words generally regarded as vulgar or obscene.
Noun ! Talking Sex With Children Made Easier (Crossroad, 1995), is specifically geared toward helping parents talk to their children about sex. "Until we get a generation of adults comfortable with their sexuality and ready to talk," she says, "we're not going to see a change in teenage behavior."
But many parents are unprepared for this responsibility. When they think back on their own sex education, they cringe cringe
intr.v. cringed, cring·ing, cring·es
1. To shrink back, as in fear; cower.
2. To behave in a servile way; fawn.
An act or instance of cringing. . At best they may have received the much-dreaded "talk" about the "birds and the bees," a one-time ordeal where they sat shifty shift·y
adj. shift·i·er, shift·i·est
1. Having, displaying, or suggestive of deceitful character; evasive or untrustworthy.
2. and red-faced as their parent, equally shifty and red-faced, tried as quickly as possible to convey the basics of human reproduction.
More common, however, their questions went unanswered. "My parents were not at all open about sex, and that affected me in many ways, and it will affect my son whether I like it or not," says Maria Roche, the parent of a 2-year-old son and the associate director of a Catholic lay-volunteer program in suburban Chicago. Roche says she is trying to take a different approach with her son by answering his questions about sex as soon as he asks her.
Others relate tales of denial and misinformation mis·in·form
tr.v. mis·in·formed, mis·in·form·ing, mis·in·forms
To provide with incorrect information.
mis : "When I was a girl and asked my mother to tell me about the facts of life," recounts a Chicago parent, "she said, `And what facts would you like me to tell you about, dear?'" Another parent remembers her father telling her that if she sat too close to a boy, his sperm could pass through his jeans, and she could get pregnant.
These parents, raised without healthy, informative discussions of sexuality in the home, are struggling to learn how to talk to their kids in a culture where skyrocketing teenage pregnancy teenage pregnancy Adolescent pregnancy, teen pregnancy Social medicine Pregnancy by a ♀, age 13 to 19; TP is usually understood to occur in a ♀ who has not completed her core education–secondary school, has few or no marketable skills, is rates and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases Sexually transmitted diseases
Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely (STDs) and AIDS make silence on the topic a dangerous option.
Studies show that programs focusing solely on abstinence abstinence: see fasting; temperance movements. programs--refraining from sex to prevent pregnancy and disease that are centered mostly in religion and health classes in Catholic schools--are not enough to change teen behavior substantially. Miller says teens today scoff at a "thou shalt not Thou Shalt Not is the initial phrase of most of the Ten Commandments brought forth by Moshe the prophet. It can also mean:
"Sex is not just what you do with genitals gen·i·tals
Genitalia. ," Miller says. "It's what you do as a person. It involves all of you." Sexuality education is a lifelong pursuit that begins at home, Miller adds. "Good family communication is the best ingredient for success."
Finding the right words
Parents say they yearn to instill in·still
To pour in drop by drop.
instil·lation n. in their children a sense of the sacredness of sexuality and the goodness of the body, but feel awkward trying to find the words to do so. "I get a sense from parents that they're desperate," says Kathleen O'Connell Chesto, a family-life minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Church St. Thomas the Apostle Church (Chinese: 聖多默宗徒堂) is a Catholic church surrounded by Tsing Yi Estate, Tsing Yi Park, Tsing Yi Garden and Broadview Garden on the Tsing Yi Island, Hong Kong and the building was completed in 4th July 1999. in Oxford, Connecticut Oxford is a town located in western New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 9,821 at the 2000 Census. There are several areas in Oxford: Quaker Farms, Riverside and Oxford Center. . "They say they don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. how to do it, and they can't find the time."
For Chesto, the problem is more about basic communication and less about finding the right way to talk about sex. In her parish, she developed a program devoted to healthy parent-child interaction and raising "moral, nonviolent children in a violent world."
Chesto says Catholics need to slow down and simplify their lives. Parents have to be intentional about finding family time. "We're just not talking to our children," she says. "Watching them play soccer--that' s not quality time with a child."
As she and her husband raised their three children, Chesto says they kept dinner hour a sacred family time. And that ritual opened up regular opportunities for conversation--on all topics. "I can't think of anything that hasn't been discussed over the dinner table," she says. "Sex will come up; it always does."
Chesto also suggests parents find time to be alone with their children. Driving in the car, for example, often provides a private place to talk. "In the car, they know you're not going to stare at them, and they'll tell you things," she says.
Some teens and parents have learned to conquer their nervousness about the "sex talk." Kelley Rompza, a senior at Regina Dominican in Wilmette, Illinois goes to her mother for answers to questions about sex, but for her peers who can't talk to their parents, she says, "I don't know where they turn. That's why there are so many having unprotected sex Unprotected sex refers to any act of sexual intercourse in which the participants use no form of barrier contraception. Sexually transmitted infections
Specifically, unprotected sex ; they don't know where to get the information.
"Sometimes if I come home late at night, Mom will be asleep the couch, but I'll wake her to to her about my day," Kelley says. The two talk about everything rom schoolwork to STDS, and they discuss sexuality and relationship issues with ease.
But Kelley and her mother, Jean, haven't always related this way. "When I was younger, I saw her as an older person, an authority figure, and I didn't respect her as I do now," Kelley says. As she grew up, that began to change. "When I became a junior in high school, our discussions were more on a personal level. I always felt really comfortable talking to her. Now she's more my best friend than my mom."
For Jean, learning to talk openly with her children about sexuality was a process as well. She was raised in a traditional home where children "spoke when they were spoken to," and sexuality was never discussed, she says. Changing this as an adult was not easy, but with work she has done it because, she says, "I so strongly did not want that upbringing to impact my children."
Other experts say societal issues are creating new openings for discussing about sexuality. "We've got all kinds of sources for reflection," says Christine Gudorf, professor of religious studies at Florida International University Florida International University, primarily at University Park, Miami; coeducational; chartered 1965, opened 1972. A research university, it has 18 colleges and schools and many specialized centers and institutes, including those in biomedical engineering, database in Miami, who has taught sexuality courses for 20 years. In many parishes and schools, she says, AIDS education has opened the door to deeper discussions.
"AIDS education has provided very good training in getting people to talk about their attitudes toward heterosexuality het·er·o·sex·u·al·i·ty
Erotic attraction, predisposition, or sexual behavior between persons of the opposite sex.
heterosexuality and homosexuality," says Gudorf. "Even in church groups you run into parents of gays who, in learning to deal with that issue in their kids' lives, have had to talk about sexuality."
Gudorf says the "rash of teenage pregnancies" also has provided families a chance to ask, "What's going on What's Going On is a record by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. Released on May 21, 1971 (see 1971 in music), What's Going On reflected the beginning of a new trend in soul music. here?", as they come to grips with a teenage son or daughter about to become a parent. Studies put out by the National Center for Health Statistics National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
NCHS is the United States' principal health statistics agency. show that by age 20, eight out of ten males and seven out of ten females have engaged in sexual intercourse sexual intercourse
or coitus or copulation
Act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract (see reproductive system). .
Some experts say sexual promiscuity Promiscuity
See also Profligacy.
constantly flits from one girl to another. [Aust. Drama: Schnitzler Anatol in Benét, 33]
promiscuous goddess of sensual love. [Gk. Myth. is on the rise because young adults are waiting longer to get married or because of permissive permissive adj. 1) referring to any act which is allowed by court order, legal procedure, or agreement. 2) tolerant or allowing of others' behavior, suggesting contrary to others' standards.
PERMISSIVE. societal attitudes toward sex. Whatever the reasons, sex today has its risks. Every year, 2 1/2 million U.S. teens are infected with a sexually transmitted disease sexually transmitted disease (STD) or venereal disease, term for infections acquired mainly through sexual contact. Five diseases were traditionally known as venereal diseases: gonorrhea, syphilis, and the less common granuloma inguinale, , with 27,000 new cases of STDs occurring each day. Adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 constitute 25 percent of syphilis syphilis (sĭf`əlĭs), contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum (described by Fritz Schaudinn and Erich Hoffmann in 1905). and gonorrhea gonorrhea (gŏnərē`ə), common infectious disease caused by a bacterium (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), involving chiefly the mucous membranes of the genitourinary tract. cases, according to a 1988 study by the U.S. Department of Education.
As of February 1990, 50 percent of those diagnosed with AIDS were 29 years of age and under. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 14 million adults and one million children are HIV-infected. By the year 2000 between 30 and 40 million people will have contracted the virus.
Put parents to work
The increase in pregnancies, STDs, and AIDS among youth demonstrates the inadequacies of existing prevention programs. Churches need to develop their own sex-education initiatives "not because this is especially central to the church's mission, but because it's being dropped by other social institutions," Gudorf says. "The ideal place is schools, but they don't really involve parents. To be effective, sex education has to be connected with families."
The church's ability to reach both children and their parents through religious education is partly what prompted the 1991 publication "Human Sexuality This article is about human sexual perceptions. For information about sexual activities and practices, see Human sexual behavior.
Generally speaking, human sexuality is how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. : A Catholic Perspective for Lifelong Learning Lifelong learning is the concept that "It's never too soon or too late for learning", a philosophy that has taken root in a whole host of different organisations. Lifelong learning is attitudinal; that one can and should be open to new ideas, decisions, skills or behaviors. ," sexuality-education guidelines put out by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The guidelines cover issues from moral decision making to HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. and AIDS. They are aimed at helping diocesan leaders implement sex-education programs that directly involve parents.
The document states: "The participation of parents at every step in the process--planning, implementation, and evaluation--will foster the `family perspective' so essential to inculcating values and a deeprooted respect for one's own sexuality and that of others."
There's a "huge need for adult religious education in parishes," says Jackie Bohrer, chair of the religion department at LaSalle High School in Milwaukee, Oregon. "The more we can involve parents, the more likely sex education will be deeply integrated into their children's lives. I can't just do it at school; it's not going to last."
But because sexuality courses for adults may seem too threatening to parents, parishes can draw them in by offering practical workshops that seem to focus more on kids, with titles like "How to respond when your child asks you about sex."
"Parents will turn out for that," says Gudorf. "But in effect, they're going to be learning about their own sexuality." She suggests breaking the ice with techniques like role play where kids ask their parents questions about how they met, how long they courted, what they love about each other, and what role sexuality plays in their marriage. She highlights the importance of children witnessing loving marriages and relationships. "Kids that don't come from homes that furnish good parenting need to be exposed to loving parents in other homes," she says.
Church-based courses can also set the tone for sexuality education that explores the wider issues of gender roles. In the Archdiocese arch·di·o·cese
The district under an archbishop's jurisdiction.
archdi·oc of Portland, Oregon, Alejandro Aguilera Titus, director of Hispanic Ministries, teaches sexuality courses to couples preparing for marriage and challenges set assumptions about male-female relationships.
When teaching in the Latino community, Titus says that there are a number of cultural barriers an instructor must understand. "The first thing I do is break the taboo of talking about sexuality," he says. "Many people have never talked about sex openly in their families; this could be their first time."
Titus gives couples the "practical tools" to learning about the body. "We're telling them that it's okay to name body parts. We help them get over feeling very uncomfortable," he says. "We show them how the body works--fertility and how to chart cycles."
Titus' training gives participants a chance to look critically at their relationship as a couple. "Many times roles are assumed--that the men are the breadwinners and the wives take care of the house," Titus says. "These are getting challenged.
"We also begin to introduce questions like `Is it okay for a spouse to say no if he or she wants?'"
These questions touch on the deeper issues sexuality educators hope to pass on to youth and adults alike--that a healthy sexual relationship can only grow out of a well-established, loving friendship between equals. If spouses encounter sexual problems in their marriage, it is often less about sex and more about poor communication, stress, or power struggles.
Instructors say most teens are not ready to establish a relationship with the level of vulnerability, commitment, and trust needed for a healthy sexual relationship, and sometimes they are coerced into sex before they are ready, hoping intercourse will provide acceptance, affection, or love.
"Many kids don't want to engage in sexual activity but don't know a nice way of saying no," says Hanna Klaus, executive director of Teen STAR, an abstinence program in Bethesda, Maryland Bethesda is an urbanized, but unincorporated, area in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, just Northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a church located there, the Bethesda Presbyterian Church, built in 1820 and rebuilt in 1850, which in turn took its name from . "It's a high-risk activity when kids engage in sex, especially with partners who have already been having sex," she adds.
Teen STAR aims to inform youth about their bodies, so they will choose to abstain from abstain from
verb refrain from, avoid, decline, give up, stop, refuse, cease, do without, shun, renounce, eschew, leave off, keep from, forgo, withhold from, forbear, desist from, deny yourself, kick ( sexual activity. "We feel that abstinence is the best way, but we don't come out and tell them, `We're going to teach you to abstain,'" says Klaus.
The program takes a comprehensive approach. It is a curriculum with 17 chapters, dealing with how the body works, the emotions, the social and spiritual aspects of sexuality, and the meaning of commitment, intimacy, and marriage. "We ask questions like `How can you give yourself fully without total trust?' and `What are you saying when you have sex without marriage?'" Klaus explains.
Teen STAR programs are for Catholic junior-high, high-school, and college students but can be adapted for public-school students as well. They currently operate in 20 schools in 12 states in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and in about 10 foreign countries.
Klaus, who conducts teacher-training sessions, suggests that teachers use the Socratic method Socratic method Education A teaching philosophy that differs from the traditional format as instruction is in the form of problem-solving and testing of hypotheses. See Layer cake education, Spoon feeding. when teaching youth. "We ask the teachers to answer questions with questions," she says.
Unlike some abstinence programs, Klaus says she does teach about birth-control methods. "We don't try to control people by controlling information," she says. "The right wing says `All a person needs is the virtue of chastity Chastity
See also Modesty, Purity, Virginity.
virgin saint and martyr. [Christian Hagiog.: Brewster, 76]
(Rom. Diana) moon goddess; virgin huntress. [Gk. Myth. and a devotion to Our Lady.' That's fine, but it's not enough."
Other abstinence programs are even more directive. "We're telling kids they're better off to save sexual activity for marriage," says LeAnna Benn, director of Teen-Aid in Spokane, Washington Spokane (pronounced [spoʊ̯ˈkæn]) is a city located in Eastern Washington. The seat of Spokane County, Spokane is the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest, the second largest city in Washington state, and . Benn's program does not teach kids how to use contraception, except to point out its failure rates. "Our approach is education and to have parents discuss values because values drive behavior," says Benn. "Adults can change what's happening with kids, if they have the courage to do so. They just need to set a higher standard."
But Gudorf says abstinence programs will only work if instructors steer clear of warnings and prohibitions that imply something is the matter with sex.
"Kids are not stupid, and if you want to sell them on abstinence, you need to begin with a concession: sex is pleasurable. It has tremendous power to bring people together and to meet some of our interpersonal needs. You may go on and say it doesn't automatically meet these needs, but I think you have to start with that."
Most Catholic schools favor sexual abstinence Sexual abstinence is the practice of voluntarily refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity. Common reasons to deliberately abstain from the physical expression of sexual desire include religious or philosophical reasons (e.g. programs. But in some schools, where rates of sexual activity, teen pregnancy, and the risk of AIDS are particularly high, this approach is ineffective.
"Many of our students already have children or conceive children while at our school," says Jennifer Luksich, a teacher at Seton Academy, a Catholic girls' high school on Chicago's far South Side. "According to the church, the only thing we're to talk about is abstinence; not a single word about condoms. It's obviously not working," she adds.
Parental involvement is made more difficult because in many cases, the parents are not available and teachers often find themselves in the role of parent. "Here you've got parents who are absent, children being raised by elderly grandparents grandparents npl → abuelos mpl
grandparents grand npl → grands-parents mpl
grandparents grand npl , or students who go home and are mothers to their own children," Luksich says. "While I will offer it [abstinence] as the best protection and tell them it's the only way to be 100 percent sure, we are dealing with children who are already sexually active, they have kids already, and they are not going to say, `I think I'll stop."'
While faced with restrictions on what she can discuss with her students, Luksich says the need to talk about sexuality is a pressing one. "Sexual activity, sexual assault, sexuality in every way, shape, and form comes up every day," she says. "They ask us constantly to address this."
Jackie Bohrer, at LaSalle High School in Oregon, agrees. Although she supports the idea of abstinence, she says instructors are foolish not to teach about condoms and other forms of birth control. "I'm hoping that with the information I provide, they're less sexually active and will make responsible, respectful, healthy decisions."
But she acknowledges that a teacher's freedom to discuss these issues has to do with the level of support from the principal, diocese, or religious order running the school. In her nine years of teaching in various Catholic schools, Bohrer says that open discussions about homophobia homophobia Psychology An irrationally negative attitude toward those with homosexual orientation, or toward becoming homosexual. See Closet, Gay-bashing, Heterosexism. Cf Gay, Homosexual, Phobia. and gay and lesbian issues, for example, have been frowned upon Frowned Upon is an intergender comedy duo made up of Devon T. Coleman and D'Arcy Erokan. Their base of operations is New York City. For the most part, their sketches are a complex analysis of their strange relationship. .
At Regina Dominican High School Regina Dominican High School is a small (420-450 student) all-girls Catholic high school in Wilmette, Illinois, USA. Located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, it was founded in 1958 and is sponsored by the Adrian Dominicans. in Wilmette, Illinois, Sister Deborah Fumagalli, O.P. says the student-centered nature of her women's spirituality class allows controversial issues like contraception and homosexuality to come into the discussion of sexuality. Although she does not talk about birth control, she says students may do so. "We deal with helping to develop self-esteem for young women," she says. "And that is the best approach to sex education."
By discussing and critiquing negative cultural messages about women's bodies, Fumagalli's students develop self-worth and a positive self-image. "These emerging adult women are figuring out who they are," she says. "My experience is that these young women don't want to be sexually active; that's not where they're at."
Neither do many young men, says John Hyland, a religious studies teacher at Marist High School, an all-boys high school in Chicago, "but guys feel a lot of pressure about sex--it's the Monday morning locker-room talk about what happened on the weekend." Hyland says that in classes and as advisors, teachers at Marist try to help students understand that sex needs to be situated within the context of a relationship. "Physically you may be close," Hyland will tell students, "but if you're not close intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually as well, then the relationship is empty."
In dealing with students, who are naturally in an antiauthority stage, Hyland says that instructors don't dwell on official church teaching as much as they try to convey the overall wisdom of Catholic faith as it relates to self-respect, love for others, and the value of healthy, loving relationships.
Give them all the facts
But as Catholic students look around at their sexually active peers, many say they are not informed enough and need more explicit and detailed information. "The older generation is not really realistic about birth control," says Annie Ferguson, a senior at LaSalle High School. "At least they should educate us about it, even for when we get older and get married. We should not be deprived of that information."
In Sex is not a Four-Letter Word! Miller comes out strongly in favor of fully disclosing as much information to children as possible, including gay and lesbian issues, the reality of sexual abuse and date rape date rape n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman, during a voluntary social engagement in which the woman did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted the acts by verbal refusals, denials or pleas to stop, and/or physical , sexually transmitted diseases, and the use of condoms.
In the chapter "Ages and Stages of Psychosexual Development psychosexual development
In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the influence that sexual growth has on personality development from birth to adult life, with the phases of sexual maturation designated as oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. ," Miller writes:
It is very necessary that teenagers have all the information available at their disposal. It is wrong for us to keep information we may disagree with Verb 1. disagree with - not be very easily digestible; "Spicy food disagrees with some people"
hurt - give trouble or pain to; "This exercise will hurt your back" from them. We are preparing them to live life on their own to be independent and mature, to make good and wise decisions and choices. To do this, it is essential that they are represented with both sides of every story. Only then can they make a choice that will reflect their acceptance of, and commitment to, the Christian way of life. To do any less would be to place their life in danger as they enter the world in which AIDS and other serious sexual diseases and abuses are prevalent.
In another chapter, Miller presents a scenario where parents explain to their child the life-threatening risk of AIDS and the right way to use a condom 1. condom - The protective plastic bag that accompanies 3.5-inch microfloppy diskettes. Rarely, also used of (paper) disk envelopes. Unlike the write protect tab, the condom (when left on) not only impedes the practice of SEX but has also been shown to have a high failure .
It may come as a surprise to many Catholic parents that doing so is in keeping with the teachings of the U.S. Catholic bishops. Their 1991 sexuality guidelines state: "Considering the widespread ignorance and misunderstanding about HIV infection and its modes of transmission, educational programs about the medical aspects of the disease and legitimate ways of preventing it are also needed." The U.S. bishops' 1987 document, "The Many Faces of AIDS," allows for "accurate information about prophylactic prophylactic /pro·phy·lac·tic/ (pro?-fi-lak´tik)
1. tending to ward off disease; pertaining to prophylaxis.
2. an agent that tends to ward off disease.
n. devices for those who will not refrain from sexual activity or intravenous drug use intravenous drug use Intravenous drug abuse The habitual IV injection of drugs of abuse Epidemiology In the US ± 2.5 million–population ± 235 million have used IVDs Infections Pyogenic–eg, endocarditis, pneumonia, sepsis Common agents that could put their life in danger."
Aside from these guidelines and statements, however, few parishes actually have implemented programs and found ways to bring parents and children together to talk. And in Catholic schools, many teachers are wary of sharing beliefs or allowing discussion on issues that run counter to church teaching, such as contraception, homosexuality, or premarital sex.
But there is hope. Change is coming from youth as more and more teens recognize that their education hasn't gone far enough. At school, "There's a wall we cannot cross," says Kelley Rompza, who volunteers at a local hospice for people living with AIDS and has worked to bring awareness of the disease to her high school. When she organized a lecture by two men with AIDS to talk about the importance of protected sex pro·tect·ed sex
Sexual activity in which a condom or similar device is used to minimize the risk of pregnancy or of spreading or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. , Kelley says the school would not allow them to pass out condoms. This disturbed her, who says her peers are engaging in unprotected sex and running the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
Other young adults like Kelley say they appreciate being treated like adults. In his Christian Lifestyles course at LaSalle High School, senior Scott Hagedorn says his teacher speaks openly about sex, then lets students form their own conclusions. "I like that approach because it's not spoon-feeding it to you. It's accepting the fact that we are 17 years old, and we have our own thoughts and opinions.
"You have all the information you need. You know what the church says and what society says. It comes down to a question of your own moral responsibility."
By Mary Abowd, a freelance writer and editor for the Center for Neighborhood Technology The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, which is committed to sustainable development and livable urban communities. in Chicago.