Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Sexual Education and Parental Naivety


Unforgiveable parental naivety
This would naturally be a taboo topic, but thinking this afternoon, my mind wandered off to a distant past of my childhood where I concluded that by the age of 10, I knew a good deal about sex without having received any sex education, at least from a formal perspective.
This issue of parental naivety is still rife, the feeling that good sexual mores is acquired by some osmotic transference from a nondescript place. The way parents play with childhood innocence with the view of keeping their wards ignorant of the basics about sex can at best be criminal.
You have to wonder
For instance, the only time my sexual organs were examined by any parent was when I think I was 8, my father was checking if my balls had descended, I was however clueless about what he intended, it might well have been concerns about my development having been a pre-term baby.
Yet, unknown to either parent, I had already had my first sexual experience at 7 and was growing in the knowledge of it through those years. I remember going through a dictionary and looking up every word that began with sex-, which included sexagenarian, sextant, sexual and sexy. A form of titillation of the mind for my age.
Has any parent even wondered, what does my child at their age know about sex?
Enlightenment is protection
The truth is, my parents never discussed sex with me, the first time that subject came up was after our house-girl had been raped by our driver, the enquiry of who might have been responsible for her pregnancy asking if I was responsible. I was mortified, the thought just never crossed my mind, but the sad narrative here is that many parents get to talk about sex with their children the first time, usually after the consequences of bad, risky or unsafe sex have become impossible to ignore.
Just imagine if by the age of 5 I had been told, if anyone touched me in a funny place, I should scream and run to a responsible adult to report my ordeal. I doubt many parents broach that subject out of fear, ignorance, foreboding or hope that everything is fine, when things are not.
Teach or they’ll be taught
The truth is if you do not take on the onerous responsibility to teach your child about sex, sex abuse and the way paedophiles gain sexual favours of unwittingly innocent children, your child would get their lessons from people, places and circumstances you have no control of and you not hear a pip about it for years because the abuser would have put in threats and dares that would prevent your child from running straight over to you.
In the end, you as a parent would ultimately responsible for the ignorance is bliss approach to the sexual education of your child, whilst the poor child is already recruited as a pleasure unit of the abuser, terrified into silence and damaged for life.
You have to decide how you manage this subject, what you cannot do is pretend it is not important, moralise about bad influences and then down the line threaten hell, hell and brimstone on the child has not done what should have been done long before you found yourself caring for a mental illness, treating an incurable sexually transmitted disease or holding an unexpected grandchild.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Thought Picnic: On growing into being at ease with everything


Understanding me
With time I have grown to understand that I am a child of privilege, the privilege of my place of birth, the privilege of my early education, the privilege of having parents who exuded professional confidence in the choice of career and the progression it took in their professional lives, the privilege of not needing to belong when there was the pressure to belong, the privilege of knowing, understanding and accepting who I am, the privilege of having horizons only limited by my ability to dream or imagine.
In having this privilege, it does not mean I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, we were not a moneyed or rich class, but we had sufficiency and contentment, I saw in my parents a steady ambition without greed, a healthy bearing of self-respect, a commanding confidence in leadership, the ability to adapt to many situations and relate to people in different walks of life.
Fixing on the positive
It did not make my parents perfect, they had their numerous flaws, part of the privilege of my upbringing included appreciating value and discarding the dispensible; as a preacher once said, to have the sense of an old cow by eating the hay and leaving the baling wire.
Altogether, these examples have helped me adopt an outlook and mindset that allows me to thrive in many settings in which I have found myself. To accept the many privileges, I have without repudiation and guilt, recognising there are many not as fortunate as I have been and seeking ways to help others rise above the limitations imposed by the absence of privilege or opportunity to realise any of their potential.
Glad to help
Where I can, I provide means, hopefully, I can show some example, in some cases, I offer guidance and to some, I have been honoured with the opportunity to mentor. If I seek any reward, it is to see whoever I have engaged thrive and succeed, whether they better my achievements is usually up to their innate abilities and good fortune, I will celebrate and herald them, for it redounds to my joy.
In view of this, I am thinking of ways in which I have help people be first at ease with themselves and who they are without shame or self-deprecation, then be at ease with any place or situation they might find themselves to be able to express themselves clearly, with confidence, polish and assuredness.
Working on the foundations
Know that they can fit in, by merit, by ability and by achievement with every means to find opportunity, gain favour, have others see potential in them that can take them to new ground. Maybe there is a way to teach presence whilst understated, bearing, class and sophistication without putting on airs or having delusions of grandeur.
To find ways of being the best representative of yourself with simple adjustments and accoutrements, by so presenting the version of yourself without having to struggle to maintain the standards you have created for yourself in having principles, integrity and poise.
An identity crisis
In watching 'How to Break Into the Elite' on BBC Two last week, I realised how many having much academic achievement still found it difficult to access elite professional opportunities because whilst their qualifications might have taken to interviews, they rarely clinched the jobs due to other subjective elements of their person, personality, expression or conduct.
Their backgrounds, identity, schooling or absence of example of how to access these places then thrive in those environments appeared to dog their efforts and probably there is no finishing school that can properly inculcate the necessary mien and mores to give them a fighting chance. [BBC iPlayer]
Starting somewhere
The little touches matter, like the effortless knowledge of the basic social codes of appearance, language and comportment, these things appear to carry much significance in getting access, getting ahead and getting noticed. For some, it comes naturally, for others, they need to have a place where they observe, appreciate, learn and exercise how it opens doors of interest, engagement, recognition and help.
This is an area where I hope I can begin to give back in gratitude for the good fortune and privileges I have had.