STI's and other fun school project subjects .....

I can clearly remember in high school we did several school projects.  Mine included subjects such as Pygmies, the Titanic, Ford Motor Company etc etc.  Tonight my son had to finish off the work he had done on a pamphlet he had to design about a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).  Now this is not a pretty topic.  But he turned out a damn fine pamphlet aimed at men, catchy, to the point and very, very clear about the dangers .... of the one he chose. His wording was pretty sharp I thought.

The real interesting part was when he had to print out a picture to put in the pamphlet .... I told him Google images is the way to go and since I was right here he Googled and bam!!! the pics opened on the screen.  We recoiled and stepped back about 9m at what we saw.  "Oh my word mom", said my son .... I could not even get any words out to be able to say "oh my word".  Fascination and shock at what we saw overtook us and we started to look,  After looking at the screen for about a minute, my son said "ok, awwwwwkward, here I am looking at this with my mom".  I had swallowed any uncomfortableness I had in order to remind him that this is very often the problem.  People don't talk.  To their kids.  About stuff.   Real stuff, that happens to real people every day.  As they grow up we teach them to cross the road, to chew with their mouths closed, to act like gentlemen, to focus on schoolwork, to be sportsmen with good attitudes.  When they are old enough, many simply rely on the dear Life Orientation and Life Sciences teachers to fill in the gaps.  We console ourselves by telling ourselves that kids will "talk to other kids and with their peers and fill in the gaps".  It is more comfortable like that.  For who?  The child or the parent?.

When the wording of the pamphlet was done he asked me how to the point he should be.  "Completely", I replied.  This is not a pamphlet for a day spa or an evening out at the theatre.  It is not supposed to make you feel comfortable.

And yes, dishing up supper and then announcing as everyone tucks into their lasagna "ok let's talk about condoms, STI's and other fun topics" is not the way to go.  And yes, boys in particular do not want to discuss it, let alone with their moms, but discuss it they must.  With an informed source.  I am lucky that with my kids we don't sweat the small stuff and we can talk about anything.  If I sense they are uncomfortable, we find a "comfortable" area of the subject, but mostly we mix it up with a ton of laughter and learn along the way.

So this project was certainly an eye opener ..... but it is signed and sealed and in his schoolbag.  It was a great opportunity to delve with a good dose of humour mixed with info into this scary subject and the good part is that neither child, of 18 or 14, moved out of the dining room.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate parents ...... it's the right thing to do!

till next time
c'est la vie.

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