I should have written this already. Like back at the first of the month. When Mr. B. officially walked out of his fifth grade classroom, took about ten steps and was out the north-side door of the school and the door closed behind him on its pneumatic valve. Sigh. Thunk.
Forever. He says he won’t miss it. I already do, a little. All those afternoons in the heat or cold or rain waiting with other parents (mostly mothers) for the let-out and the pick-up. Holding my hand on the walk to the car. Ancient history now.
Next stop Middle School, just down the street. Yee-ahhh. And puberty. Oh joy. (Or no joy.) Time will tell. He will play the clarinet in band. At least in sixth grade. Boy scouts will continue, and monthly camping trips, at least until he’s a First Class. More evening and weekend youth basketball? Probably.
Other than that? Girlfriends? Sex? Time to begin some serious prayer.
This is Mr. B.’s last week in fifth grade and it’s being devoted to “health education.” Not nutrition. Not exercise. But puberty, its physical and emotional effects on boys and girls, sexual activity, rape, sexual harassment and sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.
The school gave parents a chance to come see the curriculum materials and, if desired, to opt their kids out. I did the former but not the latter. Seems pretty tame to me, leaving all the politically-controversial words unspoken, and is therefore (as you might expect) misleading on many things, including the principal way the virus that causes AIDS is transmitted, i.e. by anal intercourse.
One of Mr. B.’s pals is sitting it out. His parents don’t trust the school system. I don’t trust the system’s overpaid administrators to do anything political that might jeopardize their careers, but I think the teachers are doing the best they can under the circumstances.
They do send home a FAQ sheet every day (blue for boys, pink for girls, isn’t that precious?) which asks parents to discuss the material and sign the sheet. Mr. B. and I have had some good, long (and detailed) conversations about the material. None of which my parents did for me in the relatively-repressed 1950s, and I remember my pubertal confusion.
He’s still not sure what all of this is about, saying he has no notion of why he would be interested in doing anything sexual anyhow. Apparently puberty’s light bulb has yet to come on. I’m not sure I will know when it happens, but I’ll be watching for the illumination.