After finishing a draft of a layout last night, I tuned in at the TV for some last-minute news before I go to sleep. Mind you, I don’t watch the news a lot so this is a big thing for me. Anyway, I caught a news segment on the Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) program of the Department of Education for high school students. ARH aims to teach high school students of how the reproductive system works, the various diseases that can happen in the reproductive system and how to avoid them. In simpler terms, ARH = sex education.
Of course, being in a “conservative” and highly “religious” country, there is much debate happening around this particular program — obviously it’s the Church against the pro-ARH people (I’m sorry for the lack of terms). That is expected, especially here where people debate about whether they’d show a certain kind of movie but end up showing it after all the hullaballoos. Anyway, from the news last night, the program has been shelved and there is still much discussion going on especially on the contents of the module.
My mom asked me last night what I think about it, and I told her exactly what I thought (and I think I came off a bit strong ^^; ). Now, I know how important educating teenagers about sex is. I’ve always believed that armed with proper knowledge about things, a person will be able to more or less make the right decisions in life. The same goes with having proper education about our reproductive system and how things work in our physical bodies; if you know how your body works and what happens, you will be able to take care of it better and avoid whatever would cause harm to them. So to be honest, I really think there’s nothing wrong about educating Filipino high school students about sex.
However, I do believe that there is something lacking in the curriculum. Not only in the curriculum, but probably in the entire society. I do believe that the Church would be able to give sex education a go if everyone has a clear understanding of and is truly living the value that I believe everyone (including me) is lacking: Purity.
Purity is a standard we cannot escape. Rhea Paredes put it well in her book The Price and Prize of Purity. Unfortunately, we usually equate purity with just saving sex for marriage. In fact, it’s even narrower than that — purity has become just “doing it” after marriage, none of the old magic and whatever that is supposed to be involved in it. It’s like, “We’re in a relationship. As long as we’re not having sex, we’re still pure, our relationship is still pure.” Purity is more than that, my friends. I believe that purity involves the entire person, just as sex involves the entire person as well. Purity is not just about not crossing the line; it’s about building a solid fence and not attempting to climb over that fence until God opens the gate for you. Purity is not easy — in fact, it is far stricter than any other virtue. But its prize…well, I’m not there to enjoy the prize yet, but I do know that God has promised something BIG to the people who strive to be pure in their everyday lives.
If one, say a high school student, is very much oriented with what purity is, and is determined to live a life of purity, then I don’t think there should be any qualms with teaching sex education to them. I believe that unless the parents learn to teach their children and the teachers can incorporate the true meaning of purity in the ARH/sex education program, the program will not be successful in preventing the teens from making the wrong decisions in the future, no matter how knowledgeable they are in the topic.
Once again, no offense to anyone. :) Just my two centavos. :) Peace!