Should Parents or Schools lead the way in teaching children about homosexuality?
Neither! A bit of reality therapy will tell you children learn about “the Gay” from other children. If you think back to the first time you ever came across the concept, it was more likely than not with a group of kids. One or more will taunt other kids with derision using words like: “faggot, queer, lesbo, dyke, girly boy,” and so many others.
This may not be the ideal way for children to learn, but it is the way most of us are introduced to most controversial subjects. Even toddlers are likely to be around other older children. Just because you, or the education system, may not think it’s a good idea for very little ones to be exposed to inappropriate material, kids have no such qualms. Kids will be kids and they will tease one another, whether the label is justified or not.
In science class one day at middle school, a very geeky young girl was kicked repeatedly from the guy in the desk behind her. He kept muttering “scabby c*.” just within her hearing range. She didn’t have the slightest clue what it meant, but the words stung and stayed until years later when she finally learned what they meant. She never did learn why they were leveled at her. She was going to ask the teacher, but such learning opportunities rarely arise. Teachers are notoriously over-worked. She confided in counseling years later.
If there were to be an answer to the posed question, should parents or schools disclose the facts concerning homosexuality, again, the right answer is neither. Why? Simply because every school considers itself to be a cooperative effort WITH parents to provide education. There is no such thing as a school that doesn’t depend upon, and with great determination, seek out parents to co-educate. It is revealed in the mission statements and mottoes of most schools.
There are people who just “dump” their kids on the schools, relying upon the classroom to baby sit and hopefully educate their young. But children learn from the moment they are born. Learning is twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. So what is the correct answer? The right thing to do is be realistic in knowing children will hear about homosexuality. Then give them the tools to know it’s always the right thing to do to love one another, whether we think the “other” is sinner or saint. Teach children that people have different ideas about who they love or marry, and that all views should be examined. Let them be free to choose their own conclusions.
It is our responsibility as civilized people to see that children learn to have open minds, be given both sides of every story, have adequate non judgemental information. Children need to know its wrong to hurt or bully anyone, although it is normal for people to disagree. When children hear something that makes them uncomfortable, or if someone says to touch them in inappropriate ways, or even if they suspect they themselves could be homosexual, they need to feel secure enough to tell an adult they can trust.
The greatest lesson to be learned from the fact that this topic is even debated, is that we are all different. We are unique life forms among billions of other living things and we depend upon one another from our tiniest cells to distant suns for our very lives. Teaching that we all are one, and that we are still individually unique, allows young minds to remain open to learning, accepting, appreciating and realizing diversity is the gift of life. We cannot live without the gift of diversity, not just among ourselves, but among all living things to which we are connected. Tolerance of our differences should therefore not just be taught and tolerated, but appreciated and celebrated.