Why I Teach Sex Ed: For “Christopher”

Why I Teach Sex Ed: For “Christopher”
by Lindsay Fram, MPH
Senior Family Life & Sexuality Education Instructor
Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program
Bronx, NY
Twelve years ago I stood monitoring a line of 23 kindergartners on their first day of school. They waited patiently to use the bathroom, two at a time. Two girls. Two boys. When two came out, the next two went in. We waited. We sang songs. I was their first “real” teacher. I asked them about their families, their pets, their favorite foods.
Christopher was the first to ask me a question, “How old are you, Ms. Fram?” I laughed and told him to guess. And he did – correctly. He said that his mom was 21 and she looked just like me so, you know, he could just tell. Counting back on my fingers in disbelief, twice just to be sure, Christopher’s mom had been 16 when she gave birth to him and his twin sister. Just 14 when she had his older brother. I scanned the line of five-year-olds waiting in size order to use the bathroom and wondered how many more of them had teen parents.
I found out during the course of that first year as a teacher that most of the mothers had been in their teens or early twenties when they became parents and that many were children of teen parents themselves. When I called home in the evenings to remind parents about upcoming field trips, check in about an absence or talk about their child’s behavior parents kept me on the phone. The talked about wanting to break the cycle, about regretting not being able to provide for their kids the kind of life they had always dreamed of, about what they would have done if they knew then what they know now.
That group of 23 five-year-olds will be graduating from high school this year. Those who make it to graduation, anyway. Statistically speaking, not many of them will. Statistically speaking, many of them have already become parents, spent time in jail, and will spend years working for an indecent wage. I can’t go back and change their lives or the lives of their parents. But, every day I work to provide the tools, information, and motivation for so many others to shape a more positive future.
I teach sex ed for them. For my first group of students and for their parents.  I teach sex ed because every infant deserves to be born into a family who is ready for him, a family that planned for her arrival. I teach sex ed because every adolescent deserves to know how beautiful her body is, about the fabulous ways his body will change. I teach sex ed because every teen deserves to be able to speak confidently about his sexual boundaries, tell her partners what she does and does not want. I teach sex ed because everyone, when he is ready, when she wants it, deserves satisfying and safe sexual relationships. I teach sex ed so that my students can break the cycle, give their children the lives they always dreamed of (or not have children of their own at all), and I teach sex ed so that my students know now.

6 Responses to “Why I Teach Sex Ed: For “Christopher””

  1. Courtney

    This brought tears to my eyes! Amazing blog post, Lindsay! The greatest tragedy here is the parents’ will. They DO want more for their children, and they didn’t strive for a life of hardship, poverty, and struggle. They just happened to miss the sex ed jackpot or be born into a family that was actively engaged in that cycle. Keep being the change!

  2. Kirsten

    This is my favorite blog so far! thanks! Beautiful and it brough tears to my eyes as well!

  3. Volare

    So well spoken, Lindsay. I wish all students could have someone like you helping them navigate their way to adulthood. 🙂

  4. Cory

    Where were you when I was in H.S.? Thank you for sharing and always remember what a difference you’re making.