CM on Sex Ed

Dear Reader,

Charlotte Mason is amazing, isn’t she? It seems like there is no subject she doesn’t tough upon at some point from bargain shopping to today’s topic, sex ed. Charlotte’s take is that when we introduce such subjects to children we implant in their heads the very ideas which we are trying to argue against. Here is what she says:

“We are apt to forget that every manner of offence is conceived in thought before it is produced in act; that, in fact, the offence is committed potentially once it is so conceived. Therefore, there is possible danger in all teaching which tends to occupy the mind with sexual matters . . . If we teach with a certain object in view, we are very likely to be the unwilling suggesters of evil . . . the virtuous man, with a moral end in view, unconsciously suggests the very evil he would fight most seriously.” (Formation of Character, p.125)

Now it is hard to know what to do in a  world in which it seems impossible to avoid sexual content. I do think I have managed with my own children thus far to avoid almost all of what they might have gotten from friends or the media and for that I am grateful. But once that horse is out of the barn, it is impossible to get it back in. One can try to avoid future exposures to explicit material.

But there remains the question of what to do about sex ed. My own feeling would be that it should be geared to what the child already knows. If a child has heard a lot from their peers, then we must make sure the have the truth as well as a right perspective on the whole thing. But if they are still a bit more naive, we must be careful that we are not the ones suggesting things they have not heard of and don’t need to know yet. In others words, our approach must be personalized to each child which is impossible to do in a  school setting.


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