Flutterby™! : kids these days

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kids these days

2007-04-04 18:56:09.570208+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

I have seen a number of uproars over this report of fifth graders "having sex" in school (alternate version). What I find particularly amusing are threads like this one over at Least I Could Do decrying modern media taking away childhood.

Either there are a whole lot of adults out there who are criminally negligent in terms of understanding the growing up process, or there are a whole lot of people in pretty severe denial. Or kids in general are better at hiding this stuff from adults than I think they are, but since adults were kids once, let's go back to those two explanations.

I generally try to not kiss and tell, but... I went to school in a community that was pretty darned removed from the popular culture. There were parents who asked that, if a kid were visiting a house that wasn't as far removed from technology, that radios and televisions be covered, but even in the houses with some exposure to the modern culture such things were fairly well limited. In the 1970s I knew Mendelssohn, Bach and Beethoven, and I don't know that I'd heard of Crosby, Stills and Nash. And, yes, there was various genital touching. At ages younger than this.

I'm not sure what the harm here is, other than that there are very definitely power dynamics which can be unhealthy extensions of the cruelty that goes on on playgrounds and the usual hazards associated with sex, but if we keep playing the "oh my god, kids these days!" hysterical bullshit games, we won't be able to address either of these concerns effectively.

And remember that there are cultures where 13 is adulthood.

So: Adults in general, parents, teachers and school administrators in particular: Kids, probably first and second graders, hell, probably any time preschoolers can sneak away from adult eyes, not just fifth graders, are exploring their own and each other's bodies. Get over that. Deal with that. Stop expressing surprise, shock and outrage, and open your darned eyes to see what's actually happening with the children around you.

I'm not asking you to condone it, I'm just asking you to stop the denial and the willful ignorance and outright stupidity.

Maybe once you've done that then you can get to talking about what to do. But until then, you're a hazard to children, and, yes, I'm talking to you, Bob Buckley, you are a hazard to children:

"After 44 years of doing this work, nothing shocks me anymore," said Union Parish Sheriff Bob Buckley. "But this comes pretty close."

and should be kept the hell away from them.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Sexual Culture Sociology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Generation delineation made: 2007-04-04 20:07:22.864957+00 by: m

The need to separate the generations seems to be inherent, and goes back a ways. I think it was Pliny the Elder, ca 50 AD, who moaned and groaned about the feckless effeminate youth of his day, who had actually taken to shaving off their beards. I also seem to recall that he complained about the lack of modesty demonstrated by women who had the temerity to move their hips during sexual intercourse. Having picked this up some 40 years ago, I may have attributed the paraphrases to the wrong individual, but the meme is clear.

Sexuality, hair (with its own sexual implications), music, mores, etc are standard intergenerational fences used by all ages as differentiators. The pretenses of virginity at the altar, purity, abstention, sobriety, possession of Calvinistic work habits, and so on, seem to fit some internal need of the aging hypocrite to establish their youth as a time of golden innocence. Such individuals, like Bob Buckley as mentioned above, are a hazard to all of humanity, not just children. Their delusions justify much of the worst possible human behavior.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-04-04 21:13:10.880233+00 by: Dan Lyke

Here are a few more details, and I don't know whether to thank the principal for downplaying the incident, or smack him a bit for the scheduling snafu that lead to the class being unmonitored.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-04-04 22:10:15.223597+00 by: ebradway

Replace "shock" with "excite" in the sheriff's comment quoted by Dan above in order to understand the real meaning.