Gail (gailmarie) wrote,

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So I really hate censorship. But that's not what really gets me about the controversy surrounding this book.

Now, I'm not a parent. Not even close. So I can't really comment on the nature of parenting. These are just my opinions and theories.

But what I took away from the article, (which is about a children's book that uses the word "scrotum" for those of you who didn't want to click the link) is that parents and teachers don't want to have the uncomfortable discussion with their children about what a scrotum is.

And THAT makes me upset. It's one thing to ban Harry Potter because you think it will make your children satan-worshiping, tree-hugging pagan atheists (though it would be quite impossible to be both pagan and an atheist, but we'll assume that those who think Harry Potter promotes demon worship wouldn't know the difference anyhow), or something crazy like that. But not wanting to explain "scrotum" to your 10 year old? That might border between lazy and in denial.

There has always been this debate going on about sex education in school (which encompasses the messy abstinence versus safe sex debate) and how much of the education should be placed on the schools and how much on the parents.

Now, on paper, I'm a big supporter of parents being involved in sex education, but I can understand how uncomfortable of a topic that is. And frankly, if parents are only teaching abstinence, then I'd like the kids to get the "if you're going to have sex (which you shouldn't), USE A CONDOM" speech.

The point is--raising kids can be uncomfortable, at times. But I think a book like this would be a good testament to a person's parenting. Are your kids comfortable coming to you with uncomfortable issues? What would you say if your kid asked "what's a scrotum?"

I guess there are three responses I can think of:
1) "That's a grown-up word and you don't need to know it" (dismissive and closed - not a good parenting style)
2) "Look it up in a dictionary" (less dismissive and closed - at least you're not shutting down the active knowledge acquisition, but not great)
3) "Oh, well that's the skin that boys have around their testicles" (uncomfortable, but open, honest, and creating a welcomed environment for learning and asking questions)

The parents and teacher wanting to ban the book seem to be in the first camp, whereas (I'd like to think) that as a parent, I'd be down in camp 3.

That, and I'm not overly offended by the word "scrotum." It's better than saying "ball sac."
Tags: books

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