Sex Ed For Tweens
It’s usually not a parent's favorite moment, but sooner or later most will have a talk with their children about “the birds and the bees.” Taking the sting out of the conversation is the mission of one Pennsylvania educator, who approaches the subject with music, humor, and straightforward information. Reed Galin has more.
(Locator: Monroeville, Pennsylvania)
Music: “XX means female and XY means male…”
He can sing like the birds, but when it comes to the bees, James Ritchie delivers with more zing than sting.
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “Babies do not grow in stomachs.”
He’s been called the “Dr. Ruth” of his United Methodist church.
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “My word, you have a lot of questions. You want to see all the questions so far?”
Ritchie gathers fifth and sixth graders for the three-day sex education study he calls “Created by God.”
James Ritchie, Ph.D./“Created by God”: “They ask everything conceivable, some things that aren’t conceivable, but you do your best to keep a straight face and say, ‘what a great question that is.’”
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “Why does it hurt when we get kicked in the groin?”
The class doesn’t shy away from sexual vocabulary. Dr. J will use slang words – along with the anatomical terms. The kids recite the correct language as they learn definitions.
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “Repeat after me, ‘Ewwwww!’ Now I want you to hold that thought for several years.”
Parents participate on the last day of class. They, too, practice saying “the words.”
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “Everybody, ‘endometrium.’”
And, they hear the frank questions their kids have been asking.
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “Is it normal to want to have sex? Yes.”
Along with the straightforward answers.
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God” (in class): “If the boyfriend is insisting on sex, he may be a boy but he’s not a friend.”
And then Dr. J has parents and kids get together and talk about puberty, sexuality and growing up.
The Rev. James Ritchie/“Created by God”: “Parents tell me it opened up lines of communication. That’s worth the price of admission right there.”
Ritchie travels the country teaching kids about sex from a faith perspective. He keeps a collection of the kids’ questions, which now number in the thousands. For more information, call 412-372-1354 or log onto http://www.rfsministries.com/.