This past weekend five of our Left Hand youth went on a retreat. They joined the eighth and ninth graders at Highlands Church Denver for two nights of learning about their bodies and about sex and sexuality. The Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum, according to the website, is described:
“Our Whole Lives, helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior in the context of their faith. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.”
Eric and I sat around our table last night with Andrew our fourteen year old who attended the OWL retreat. We were discussing some of the specifics of what he learned. In the exchange Eric said, “Hey Andrew. You know what the conversation was between me and my parents?”
Andrew looked at him.
“It went like this. ‘Are you good?’ ‘Yeah, I’m good’. Six words. That was it. Six words. We know you probably heard some uncomfortable things, but what you were given was a huge gift.”
Andrew nodded in agreement.
At Left Hand we are doing our best with our youth to inform them of life. If we all stuck our heads in the sand there would be plenty of reasons to be terrified by the world we live in. But if we talk it out as best we can, utilizing the tools at our disposal we don’t have to be afraid. We can be equipped, informed, honoring our bodies and minds and souls in the process.
I’m proud of our kids. These conversations are not easy but they are being had, imperfect and awkward, while having fun in the process.
May we all learn from our youth and not take ourselves so seriously.