Education is key

So in follow up to last Thursday’s infuriated blog about the lack of attendance at the lecture by Stacy Honowitz, I will say that I have spoken to many people who should have been there. And I still maintain that the members of this synagogue should be ashamed of themselves. A small number of people that I spoke to had valid excuses, but the vast majority actually felt ok to say that they didn’t go because they felt that it either didn’t really apply to them, was something they already know about or that they’ll have another opportunity to go next year. I don’t believe the Sisterhood was planning on making this an annual event, and given the lack of people this time, I can’t imagine Ms. Honowitz agreeing to come again next year.

I also heard that it wasn’t promoted enough, which may be true, but come on – it was in the weekly activity sheet, there was at least one email about it, plus a phone tree from the synagogue a couple of hours before. Unless there are a couple of months lead time on these events there is not a lot more one can do on the promotion end.

I have been doing the best I can, spreading what I learned that night. Suddenly people are interested to know what was said, what did I find out that I didn’t already know. I’m not going to keep the information to myself, because education is so important, and no matter how stupid people are, their children shouldn’t suffer because of it.

I had conversations individually with each of my own kids about “private parts” and touching. My oldest is 8, and she 100% understood what we were discussing. And, contrary to what some parents were scared of, speaking about inappropriate touching and genital areas did not lead to discussions on sex and procreation. Thank goodness. My son, who is 7, grasped enough of our conversation to know what he needs to do if G-d Forbid something ever happened to him. We discussed (with both of them) having a “safe person” at school, in case something happened when my husband and I are not in direct reach. We chose that safe person – the same for both my kids – and I will remind them every so often that this is who they need to go to if something ever happened in school.

The discussion with my little one who is 3, didn’t go quite as planned. It went something like this:

Me: Do you know where your private parts are?
Her: No
Me: It’s everything covered by your underwear. Anything that is underneath your underwear is private. Nobody should see it or touch it. Only Mommy & Daddy.
Her : Ok
Me: Em, where are you going? Why are you leaving the room?
Her: I’m going to look
Me: Look for what?
Her: To look in my drawer for my private parts. Under my underwear
Me:  (ok, I admit, my 8yo and I were doubled over with tears streaming down our face at this point, totally speechless)

A few minutes later she came back in and told me there’s nothing there, just underwear…

Later that evening I showed her where her “private parts” are, and explained again and she said “oh, you mean my vagina and my butt” so I know now that she understands.

It is never too early to teach our kids, and it is never too late to educate ourselves. Do the right thing by your children, and make sure that they have the awareness of what is right and what is wrong, and also the security of knowing that if someone ever did something to them (or attempted to) that Mommy & Daddy will make sure that they do everything to see that the perpetrator is punished. Give your child a voice and let him or her know that you can, and will, listen.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Robyn - Tee
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:20:38

    I don’t know if your lecturer mentioned this, but the one thing my sister, who is a social worker, always emphasises to her kids (and to her siblings to tell their kids) is that if someone says ‘Don’t tell mummy or daddy’ or ‘I will hurt mummy or daddy if you tell’ then you tell *immediately*. Unless it’s daddy talking about mummy’s chanukah present!

    In other words, good secrets and bad secrets.


    • vanessabrooksceo
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:39:47

      I’m not sure that the lecturer mentioned this Robyn – I don’t remember. I do know that it is something we’ve talked about with the kids though, and it is also something they are taught in the KidSafe program that their school does. We often tell the kids that we don’t have secrets, unless it’s something like a party or present etc. We suggest using “surprise” rather than “secret” for these things.


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