I enjoyed teaching what we called Human Growth and Development; other school districts referred to it as Sex Ed. We taught important factual information the students needed to know about STDs, Contraceptives, Refusal / No techniques and Basic Anatomy. I broaden my approach to take the students thru real life situations. *1 Steps of Intimacy where they learn there are 13 steps between Oh isn’t he / she cute to actually having sex. Students learn where to draw a line in order to:
- prevent the spread of disease
- reduce the probability of having sex
- learn which steps a jury judges the victim of sexual assault more critically than the alleged perpetrator of the sexual assault
- preserve their reputation
“It’s been two years, and I haven’t been able to get over my first love. . .
We had been a couple since my freshman year, and he dumped me at the beginning of my junior year because I didn’t want to give him my virginity. . . . . ..”
This is every girl’s nightmare / challenge; her boyfriend wants more from her than she wants to give and in this case he is her first love.
I love Dear Abby; it is a health teacher’s greatest resource. There are great relatable stories where students can work thru real life heart aches / problems that relate to our health curriculum and their life. The students will remember the story and the lessons learned from the story because they touch their emotions (fear of rejection). People don’t make decisions based on facts / information. They make decisions based on how something made them feel.
Read the entire story and ask your students these questions — The Dear Abby advice column provides great stories for a class discussion about life. You will find the complete story at http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Dear-Abby-Teen-treated-like-dirt-should-dust-10596033.php
Class Discussion:You know your class — this works with students in small groups or regular class seating.
In your life experience, have you heard or seen this happen?
Why is Miss Can’t Move On so upset / miserable?
Should she be upset? Would you be upset if this was your experience?
This is important, It’s been two years, why hasn’t she moved on? (This is clearly on her mind; she’s writing an advice columnist for help. It’s cheaper than counseling.)
If this was your friend / relative, what would you say to help her so she can emotionally / intellectually move on in order to have healthy relationships with others. Write their suggestions on the board. Decide on the best 3 suggestions. Students are very good problem solvers when they are not emotionally involved.
Teens think like Teens; now is the time for teacher (adult) wisdom — Students do what they know, when they know better they do better. Our job is to introduce ideas that their current life experience has not informed them of.
Have your class considered this:
Reality of life #1: You can not control what you get in life or in relationships. When you focus on what you are or are not getting, it’s either not going to be enough or what you want. The predictable consequence is frustration, unhappiness, anger, bitterness etc.
Look at your class and get some agreement or disagreement — Apply Reality of life #1 to the Dear Abby story. Could she control what her boyfriend / best friend did? Has she focused on it for two years? Is she angry, unhappy, bitter?
Reality of life #2: You can only control what you give. Happiness in life comes from giving to others. In other words I want to give someone what they need / want and my joy is in giving that to you. It is my contribution to the relationship. Each person contributes in a functional relationship; they work together for what is best for each other. For some it may be a smile and attention, for others it may be helping a friend with their school work or when a neighbor is sick and you see she needs a babysitter NOW, she is too sick to care for her children, and you are there to help her (for free).
Reality of life #3: To get what you want, there is an effort to control people / situations. The controlee is going to resist the controller which will lead to a relationship problem. This is called a dysfunctional relationship. Can anyone define a dysfunctional relationship?
A Dysfunctional relationship is —
- A. Is when I give, and give — and you take, and you take. Does anyone have a relationship like this?
AND / OR
- B. I got something (I’m your boyfriend) and you really want it (the relationship) — and if you want it (to continue this relationship), this is what you have to do. Does anyone have a relationship like this? Was Miss Can’t Move On’s relationship functional or dysfunctional?
Teacher note:In the case of the Dear Abby letter, when the boyfriend made a sexual request to his girlfriend, he was being manipulative / controlling. After a 2 year relationship, she was emotionally involved with him. When this kind of request is made, the implication is if you want to continue this relationship, here is what you will have to do. It is an effort to control a person / situation to one person’s advantage. In this story the controlee resisted the controller, and the predictable happened — a relationship problem. She said No (her virginity was important to her). He (believed the fulfillment of his temporary sexual need was more important than her virginity or their relationship) dumped her and she later discovered he had been cheating on her with her best friend.
More Great Questions to ask you students:
- Raise your hand if you like to be controlled or manipulated by someone?
- Can you identify people in your life who try to control you?
- Is this a new concept to you? or Have you experienced tension in a relationship, but didn’t understand the dynamics / vocabulary I’m talking about?
- Are you a controller in your relationships?
- Are you a giver in your relationships? How about a giver with healthy boundaries? Miss Can’t Move On had healthy boundaries that protected her body and her reputation. She wasn’t aware of the lack of character of the people closest to her (best friend and boyfriend).
- Are you a taker in your relationships?
If Miss Can’t Move On knew about what we have just talked about, would she have been able to intellectualize what happened to her and been able to move on?
If the answer is no or maybe, move on to Reality of life #4.
Reality of life #4: What you focus on or give your attention to — expands or gets bigger. It’s not the thoughts, it’s the feelings the thoughts generate. We don’t keep these thoughts / feelings to ourselves. We spread them aaaalllllll around. What comes into your life will match your feelings. As such, thoughts and feelings lead to predictable actions. (This is called the Law of Attraction my students are taught and learn to apply the concept in my Self Image Unit which is taught in the second week in health class.)
When you are young / naive you don’t know how to properly handle the situation Miss Can’t Move On’s boyfriend and best friend handed her. She has focused on it for two years. Thoughts create feelings and girls talk about their feelings all the time. Anything and anybody vibrating at the same level got attracted to her life. They bonded, formed a club, and named the club “the I hate men or I hate men and best friends who cheat with my boyfriend club” . . . — and at every meeting they rehashed their past, sharing their feeling of resentment at having been unfairly treated by……. .
Onto the next Reality of Life:
Reality of life # 5: You have got to control your thoughts. When you find yourself going down a path of negativity, you stop that thought and exchange it for a healthy / positive focused one (related to Reality of life # 1).
Knowledge protects your heart, your body and your reputation. I had two daughters and knew someday a boy would push them to have sex. That’s what boys / men do (it is what is referred to as the male sexual nature). We have to prepare our daughters and our students for this situation and how to handle it while maintaining their cool factor. So, I prepared a Should We Have Sex in our Relationship Contract for each daughter to have in her purse just in case the conversation should ever come up. I told them, if the boy asks, he is playing / testing you. With a serious expression on your face you play right back (Open your purse, take out the contract, as he reads it be sure to show him where he, parents and a Notary Public can sign the Should We have Sex Contract to make it a legal document) and scare him to death, inform him of consequences, your dry sense of humor and if he has an ounce of intelligence his respect. For more information on the contracts, click on the urls below. This was the activity I did on the last day of health. Almost every student walked out of class with a contract and I had some great conversations with parents. (The boys had a specific contract written to protect them. If I had a son, he would have it in his wallet and there would be wallet checks -- see http://thehealthymindcurriculum.com/the-sex-talk-every-guy-needs-to-hear/