Making Babies

“Gramps,” says she, almost absently, “you and Nana made babies, right?”

“Ahh, that’s right,” says I, a tad taken aback by her question—out of the blue from an early-teen granddaughter.  “Two of them, beautiful sisters.”

sisters

We’ve been sitting on a swing-chair in the lanai, each of us tapping on our phones, together yet apart.  I turn my attention from mine, but she is still engrossed in hers.

“Like Mum and Dad did with us, right?”

“Exactly,” I reply, wondering where this is going.  “Like they did for you and your sister.  But we did it first.”

She smiles to herself.  “Did you ever make babies with anybody else?”

I shake my head.  “No, the only one we made babies with was each other.  Your mum and aunt are the only babies we ever had.”

“Did you ever try with anybody else?”

Another shake of the head, this one to clear the surprise I’m feeling.  “Nope.  I didn’t want babies before I met Nana.”  I’m trying hard to answer the questions as asked, without offering anything extraneous.

“Was she your first girlfriend?”

“No, I went out with other girls before we met.  But she was my last girlfriend,” I say with a chuckle.

steady

Eyes and thumbs still on her phone, she smiles at that.  “How did you guys know you were the ones you wanted to make babies with?”

I pause, gazing skyward, taking myself more than fifty years back.  “Well, I guess it was because we sort of clicked right off the bat.  After going out with her a couple of times, I didn’t really want to date anyone else.  Lucky for me, she felt the same way.”

“Yeah, but how did you know that?”

I laugh quietly again, buying time.  “I’m not sure we really did know, not right away.  I think it was something that grew slowly, the more time we spent together.”

“And that didn’t happen with any other girlfriends?”

I shake my head yet again.  “It was different with Nana.  She had a wonderful smile, and I guess she liked mine.”  I flash her a Cheshire grin for effect.  “We both loved sports and played a lot of them, so that helped.  Plus, we knew a lot of the same friends.  After a while, we just didn’t want to be with anyone else.  And before we knew it, we figured out we were in love.”

 “But you didn’t try to make babies?”

“Okay,” I say, screwing up my courage, “you know how babies are made, right?  Sort of?”  I pray that she does.

conception

She nods and blushes slightly, looking at me now.

“Well, Nana and I both wanted to graduate from university, meaning we wouldn’t be able to get married for a few years.  Back in those days, most people didn’t have babies before they were married, and birth control—you know what that is, right?—wasn’t available the way it is today.”

“Lots of people have babies today without being married,” she says.

“They do,” I acknowledge.  “But think of the enormous responsibility that can be, being a mother or father of a baby.  It’s like a full-time job, so any plans you have for school or a working career could be delayed a long time.”

“You think it’s wrong to do that before you’re married?”

I pause again, thrust without warning into the role of a reluctant life-coach, caught unprepared for this conversation.  But not disposed to dodge it.

“So-o-o,” I venture, “I wouldn’t call it wrong or right in a moral sense, like a sin or anything.  Not if two people are sure they love each other.  But I do think making babies could be an unwise decision for them, depending upon the circumstances.  If two people consciously want to be parents, if they know what that will entail, and if they believe they’re equipped to raise a child, then at least they’re going into it with their eyes open.  But even then, I think there’s a problem with that logic.”

“Which is?” she says, all in now.

“In my limited experience,” I say, smiling self-deprecatingly, “making love with someone is an emotional act—as it should be probably.  But emotions can often push common-sense aside in those situations, so people might end up doing something that seems exactly right in the moment, only to realize in retrospect that it was exactly the wrong thing to have done.  And if their actions result in a baby coming along, the consequences of that one mistake can be life-altering.  Especially if they’re young.”

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She nods, brows furrowed.  “How many girlfriends did you have before Nana?”

I’m tempted to reply, jokingly, that the number was in the dozens, but her manner is quite intent now.  “Boy, that’s a long time ago,” I say.  “I think there were probably three or four girls I really liked before Nana.  We’d tell everybody we were going steady, meaning we couldn’t date anybody else.”

“But you did, though, right?”

“Yeah, eventually,” I concede.  “With all of them except Nana.  She’s the last girl I went steady with.”

“And the only one you made babies with,” she affirms.

“Yup.”

She leans close to plant a kiss on my whiskery cheek.  “Okay, Gramps.  Thanks for telling me about you and Nana.”

And off she goes, phone in hand—curiosity apparently satisfied—leaving me alone on the swing-chair in the lanai, wondering if I’d answered her questions wisely, thinking I might know the reason for them, and hoping her innate common-sense would prevail.

It’s all so long-ago for me, and so achingly right-now for her.

Sex Ed for Kids

HEADLINE:  Ontario government announces return to 1998

sex education curriculum in schools.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

I’m a thirteen-year-old girl, just finishing grade eight.  I like to send pictures of myself to friends, sometimes without clothes on.  My friends say they like them.  But now I think I’m in trouble.

sexting

I’m a fifteen-year-old boy in grade ten.  At night in my room, I look at porn sites I find online.  Sometimes, I pretend I’m one of the guys fooling around with those girls and I do what they’re doing.  Nobody knows and it feels great.

FACT:  The 1998 sex education curriculum is notably silent on such topics as sexting, masturbation, and online pornography.

I’m a thirteen-year-old girl and I have a boyfriend who wants to make out with me.  He says if I don’t wheel with him, he’ll find somebody else, so that’s what we do.  It would suck to be alone.

I’m a fifteen-year-old boy and I wish I was dead.  Everybody hates me.  They call me names and say awful things about me online.

cyberbullying

FACT:  The current sex education curriculum, which is being scrapped, begins to discuss strategies to deal with peer pressure and bullying as early as grade two.

I’m a thirteen-year-old girl and I nearly freaked when I started bleeding down there the first time.  I thought I was dying.  One of my friends told me get used to it, it’s going to be there for the rest of my life.  I can’t believe it!

embarrass

I’m a fifteen-year-old boy with pimples all over my face, and people tell me I stink all the time.  And I don’t have any hair on my legs like my friends do.

FACT:  The 1998 sex education curriculum is notably silent on such topics as menstruation, the physical changes associated with puberty, and the reproductive system.

I’m a thirteen-year-old girl with a friend whose parents let her drink at home.  When they’re not there, we raid their booze and have a party.  My friend adds water to the bottles so nobody knows.

I’m a fifteen-year-old boy and I can’t wait for the weekend when me and my friends get high.  We know a guy who gets weed for us easy-peasy.

toking

FACT:  The current sex education curriculum, which is being scrapped, begins to deal with substance abuse and healthy living as early as grade one.

I’m a thirteen-year-old girl and I don’t like boys.  Some of my girlfriends feel the same way, so kids call us lesbos or dykes.  What’s that about?

friends1

I’m a fifteen-year-old boy and I can’t stand queers.  Me and my friends laugh at them, call them names, post pictures of them online.  It’s hilarious.

FACT:  The 1998 sex education curriculum is notably silent on such topics as gender identity, sexual orientation, stereotypes and assumptions, and understanding of self.

I’m a thirteen-year-old girl and I think I’m in big trouble.  I can’t tell my boyfriend, and for sure not my parents, but I think I have an infection or something in my privates.

I’m a fifteen-year-old boy and all the guys are making fun of me ‘cause I haven’t done it yet with a girl.

shy

FACT:  The current sex education curriculum, which is being scrapped, begins to discuss sexual health, sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy prevention, and delaying sexual activity in grade seven.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

The 1998 sex education curriculum was developed twenty years ago for a previous generation of students.  It is so outdated that, in all its verbiage, there is but one single mention of the internet.  Its defenders appear to believe that all the information young people will need to grow into well-adjusted, healthy, well-informed adults will be imparted to them by their parents.

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If only every child had parents informed enough and willing to doing so.

The current sex education curriculum, which is being scrapped, may not be perfect, but it is far and away superior to what we had before.  But don’t take my word for it; you can examine an overview of it at this safe link—

https://www.ontario.ca/page/sex-education-ontario#section-2

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Although well beyond the age of having children of my own in our public school system, I am alarmed by what our recently-elected government in Ontario is doing to future generations with this misguided step into the past.

sex ed3

I always thought it was the truth that would make us free.

Lust and Power

In a 1976 interview for Playboy magazine, the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, said, “I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”  This was in response to a question about his views on the Bible’s admonitions about adultery, and was a paraphrase of Christ’s teachings in Matthew 5: 28—“I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust in his heart has already committed adultery.”

carter

Many were aghast that so prominent a man would admit that, thereby damaging his political standing.  Others saw it as an honest answer from a pious man, acknowledging his imperfections.  Still others saw it as a cynical ploy—embracing both arrogance and humility—wanting to appear virtuous in the face of temptation, thus enhancing his political position.

Whatever it was, it is extremely unlikely Carter was the only man to have sinned in that fashion, although most of us would not choose to admit it.

There is obviously a difference between the so-called evil of lust and the widely-accepted blessing of love—but perhaps not so great a gap as might be imagined.  Lust is relatively easy to define: a strong, sexual desire; a sensuous appetite (regarded by many today as sinful).  Its blunt hunger can be satiated, at least temporarily, through participation in a sex act with someone else, or even alone.

Love is a softer sentiment, usually involving sexual attraction, but also embracing such emotions as friendship, protectiveness, tolerance, forgiveness, happiness, fulfilment, and mutual respect.  It is something that, although freely given, must also be earned.  In a truly loving relationship, the quest for love is never satiated, but yearned for, and given, all the more.

It cannot be disputed that the propagation of our species has relied upon the sexual attraction between men and women, their lust for each other.  If two people also found love in their coupling, that was a bonus.  Love for one another was not required in order to produce offspring.

Image result for free pictures of caveman and cavewoman

Biologically speaking, lust can drive a person to have sexual relations with more than one partner of either gender, and more than once with each.  And so it is with love.  There is no biological impediment to falling in love with, and entering into a loving relationship with, multiple partners—although obviously, no children will result from a union of partners of the same gender.

Over time, and for a multitude of reasons, monogamous marriages became the norm in our culture.  Although men and women could fall in love with more than one person, the law allowed us to marry but one at a time.  However, the standing of each person in the conjugal union was unequal.  For a long time, women were considered to be, if not the property of their husbands, at least subordinate to them.  Power resided with the men. That status has changed ever so slowly, only beginning a hundred years or so ago.

At the time the Dominion of Canada was formed, a decade before the birth of the great Republic to the south, our fathers of confederation and their founding fathers espoused equality for all.  But that noble ideal was to be applied only to the propertied classes—almost all of whom were male, white, rich, and protestant.  Others of different gender, race, wealth, and religion were scarcely considered, except as property, workers, or servants.

Money and power were all that really mattered, and both resided with men.

Thus, it continued to be possible for men who lusted after women (or other men, or children) to prey upon them with relative impunity.  Might makes right, as the adage has it, and fear can make cowards of us all.  For the victims, suffering the abuse in silence was often more palatable than facing the public shaming and loss of employment that would crush them if they complained—assuming they would have been believed in the first place.

Depressed Tenage Girl

Jimmy Carter was honest in his admission.  But I wonder, is it possible all men harbour such thoughts from time to time, even if only a relatively small number act on them?  I cast no stones at him.

I also wonder, does power corrupt only men?  Would women who come to power be immune to its seductive persuasions?  And would any act on them?

Sexual misbehaviour of any sort is unacceptable, a monstrous issue only now being brought to the broader public arena.  But I believe it is power, not lust, that is the driving force behind such behaviour.  Any of us might experience lustful feelings, just as any of us might fall in love.  But only the most powerful, the most arrogant, the most sociopathic among us would mobilize those feelings into unwanted actions, forced upon unwilling victims, solely for our own gratification.

It is as if the predators, when seized by a biological imperative, say to themselves, Because I can, I will.  And who is to deny me?

And so, it is time, as many are saying—time to expose and shame those who are found guilty of transgressions, time to re-assess the accepted perquisites of power, time to educate our young people as to what is deemed acceptable in social intercourse, time to redefine the relationship between men and women.

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It is more than time.