So in my previous post, I mentioned we had a Health and Safety week at the School last week. We actually touched different topics everyday with kids in Year 4 to Year 8 giving us a presentation on an assigned topic. So here is a reminder of how I divided the tasks.
Year 4 – Road safety
Year 5 & 6 – Food Safety
Year 7 – Fire Safety
Year 8 – Bullying and Harassment
Miss Ike (that’s me) – Sexual Health
I gave you links to articles on the other topics in my previous post but have gone into great detail on the Sexual Health talk in this article.
The Sexual Health Talk!
This talk was given to about 50 kids age 8 and above. I chose the minimum of 8 years as a few people start puberty at age 9 rather than the 10-14 statistics tells us. So I wanted the 8 year olds to be educated and prepared for when puberty rares its pretty but scary head.
I started off with 2 videos from Youtube. One for Puberty in Girls and another for Puberty in Boys. Sure, they did laugh – the girls giggled when the boys video was being shown and boys laughed when the girls video was being shown. I can say everyone was a little bit embarrassed.
After the video, I passed a piece of paper around and asked everyone to write down any questions they have either from before the speech started or questions that arose while they watched the videos. I told them to keep it anonymous and drop it in a basket I passed around.
I then gave them some keywords such as Sexuality, STI, Pregnancy, Puberty, Peer Pressure, Sexual Abuse, Menstruation, Menstrual Cycle, Abstinence and a few others. I then asked randomly what they thought certain keywords meant. They didn’t know some of them but told them not to worry, we would deal with all of them as we went along. Here are the main topics we talked about – Puberty, Peer Pressure, Relationships, Sexual Abuse and of course a Question and Answer session.
We talked about what Puberty meant and the signs in boys and girls. I also told them not to ever be ashamed of their body changes as it was normal and God made us all on a special way. One day we all will have children of our own at the right time so Puberty truly is important, I tried to convince my young group.
We talked about Menstruation and how it was proof they were becoming women and could now get pregnant. I had pictures of real life teenage parents so I showed it to them. I showed them the 13 years old British boy who became a father some years back and then I asked what the responsibilities of their fathers were – many said their fathers paid the rent, school fees and took care of the house. “Are you ready and able to pay rent and school fees?” I asked my audience. Many shook their head, others said no. So I told them “the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy and STI is through abstinence”.
I also had to tell my audience that everyone starts differently and at different ages. I started my periods late when most of my friends were already menstruating for at least 2-3 years. I secretly wondered what was wrong with me and was overjoyed when I finally got my period lol. So I knew many of them wondered why their boobs hadn’t started growing when many of their friends were already loaded or why they hadn’t started menstruating when a few others had already started. I needed them to not worry or be bothered about it so of course I told them my own puberty story. “Everyone had their time and one day you too will get there”. I told them to chill and accept their “slow” development.
My main advice was to choose friends wisely and to nurture their minds. I gave a scripture from then Bible on how they could nurture their minds – Philippians 4 verse 8 which says …whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent of praiseworthy, think about such things. So I basically told them to decide for themselves what is good and bad and focus only on the good.
The thing with peer pressure is that it affects everyone even adults. Adults tend to spend foolishly just to “fit in” forgetting that when they get home and back to reality, they get to cry alone. Many look at celebrities and try to be like them forgetting that celebrities are normal humans who have to put up appearances to meet up with the expectations of their fans and the media. Don’t you wonder why some commit suicide or are addicted to drugs? So using my own ideas and how I deal with things I see, I decided to advice my audience.
I have so conditioned my mind not to be bothered by what I see or what people say. I am not living for people so I don’t try to be what I am not. I love clothes and shoes and shopping but I know when and how to say no and walk away if I don’t need it. It took a lot for me to get here. I actually made this decision when I started my first business in 2012/13. I had to share a studio with someone else and of course pay rent and a staff when I wasn’t even making money yet so I knew I had to make sacrifices and wise up. Every month prior to starting the business, on payday, I would spend up to £500 on new clothes and shoes on Asos. I was so addicted to Asos. After starting the business I immediately got over my addiction and stopped spending foolishly. I hardly got anything new for over 2 years as I already had so much I hadn’t even worn. I am like that till today. If I don’t need it then I won’t buy it.
So when I tell people not to be moved by what they see or hear, I am not talking just to be heard. I am talking because I know it is possible and it is better to start young.
Speaking about Sexuality was really difficult for me as we are in a country where Homosexuality is considered a “crime” that you can spend 14 years in jail for – so I made them know the legal aspects of their sexualities. As a Christian, I have my reservations about homosexuality but I didn’t want to impose anything on them but I wanted to know what they thought about it – they couldn’t say anything, they just watched. I tried not to focus so much on this so I talked more about relationships.
I joked and told them I was sure their parents wanted them to wait till they were 25 before bring the special someone home lol. Then I got a little serious and told them to wait till they were 18 as that is when they are legally adults and ideally should start having boyfriends and girlfriends. I also made them to realise that even at 18, they might not be mature enough to deal with the pressures of dating and love but that they need to seek counsel when they feel it is right for them to start dating.
Whether we choose to believe this or not, many young people are abused at home by relatives, neighbours and even visitors. Some are abused in school by their classmates, older kids and teachers. So I needed to speak to this group about protecting themselves and speaking up.
My first point was to dress decently especially in the presence of the opposite sex or visitors. Now I am not saying someone who dresses indecently is to blame for abuse as I believe men should have self control and look the other way rather than feed on their ugly desires. What I am saying is that no matter how much we preach for men to control themselves, some will just never be good. They already have a heart full of evil so we need to avoid such people. You could be wearing a pair of skinny jeans that is hard to take off and still get raped so dressing isn’t the issue here but still prevention is always better. Dress appropriately especially if going out alone or at night to take away unnecessary attention away from you.
Another thing I told them was to be bold and speak up. Many abused children are threatened by the abuser to not tell anyone, if not they will be harmed. I told the kids that this is a lie from the pit of hell and that they need to speak up if they are being abused. “Talk to your parents. Talk to me. Talk to your session co-ordinators. Just don’t keep quiet. Nothing will happen, they just threaten you because they are scared of getting caught and going to jail where they belong!”, I told my lovely audience. I really hope they listened.
I ended the talk with some more scriptures from the Bible and then asked if they had any questions. They had none so I told them to go on a break and return in 45 minutes so I could answer the questions they wrote down at the beginning of the talk.
Question and Answer Time
What is sex?
Why do my boobs hurt?
How do people get pregnant?
What is HIV?
Can a girl who has started menstruating get pregnant without sleeping with a man?
What is the treatment for pimples?
What do boys wake up with? (this question was influenced by the puberty video where it mentioned boys tend to wake up with an erection)
Why do boys grow beards?
If a lady is developing, how should she take care of her body?
Is it all girls that grow hair on their private?
Is it possible to grow tall at age of 10 or 25 only? (Imagine a 10 year old already dreaming of being 6 feet tall lol)
These were the kind of questions I got asked lol. Some made me smile.
What is sex?! Are these kids kidding me? Obviously one of them was interested as I never mentioned the word sex. I only said when a boy sleeps with a girl. To be honest, I wanted them to think lying in bed with a boy or girl could result in a baby just so they wouldn’t go off “sleeping” in bed with their classmates or their lovers out there because to be honest, some of these kids already are in “relationships” and think I am talking crap, lol. Whether I like it or not, some will go ahead and experiment anyway but at least they have been educated.
I did my best to answer their questions sometimes letting their teachers speak first and even asking my young audience if any of them had any ideas about what the answers could possibly be. Like the older kids knew what HIV stood for. I also tried not to be too explanatory with my answers – didn’t want the kids wondering off to get practising especially when I tried to answer the what is sex question.
I was so happy when this talk ended. I felt so good with myself. It was the first time I was giving a sexual health talk and I really didn’t want to talk about sex or sexuality or contraceptives. The oldest in this group was 13 so I thought well, no talk of contraception at this stage. I hope I was right. My aim was to help them understand that the changes they notice in their bodies are normal and to accept them without fear or shame. I also needed them to understand sexual abuse and how to recognise it and speak up and that they needed to wait a little longer to start relationships till they were mature enough to deal with dating and love as even we adults tend to struggle sometimes. Don’t we?
What do you think? Do you think I did a good job? Any suggestions on how I can make the next talk better?