Is this OK?
Earlier this month, the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides hosted a welcome panel at the United Nations as part of the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
At this event, Planned Parenthood was allowed to distribute a pamphlet that clearly, if not explicitly, explained the facts about H.I.V., casual sex and its consequences, while outlining other options for couples besides sex -- including a section on masturbation.
The pamphlet echoed a larger effort by UNESCO, the United Nations agency charged with advancing education and culture worldwide, to educate young adults about sexual and reproductive health.
In a statement published in the New York Times, Mark Richmond, UNESCO's global coordinator for H.I.V. and AIDS and the director of the division that coordinates educational priorities, said, "In the absence of a vaccine for AIDS, education is the only vaccine we have. Only 40 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 have accurate knowledge" of how H.I.V. is spread, even though that age group "accounts for 45 percent of all new cases."
Some Christian denominations are upset by this pamphlet and the fact that it was distributed by the Girl Scouts to their members willingly.
I am a devoted Catholic, and I would be upset if my child came home with this, but I also know that as a parent, it is my job to be "all up in my kid's business," to put it in simple terms. And I plan (no, I promise) to be just that.
They come home with a pamphlet; you bet I'll read it. And then I'll tell them how it relates to our life and our values.
In this world, there is only so much protecting that we can do of our children. What's missing is the good foundation of values that starts at home.
The amount of times that they are presented with information that goes against the teaching in our homes is too many to count, but as parents, we should be the ones who put a special spin on the message, relating it to our values and explaining to them what we believe as a family.
As a child who went to a Catholic school for most of her life, I remember friends whose parents decided to skip the birds-and-the-bees talk, thinking that the schools would do it for them. You know what happened to those kids? They ended up pregnant or got themselves into some pretty serious trouble.
I'm a firm believer that information is power, and that it should be given to children in an age-appropriate manner. Nothing beats a good sit-down with Mom or Dad to discuss life's greatest issues. Really, a pamphlet like this should be no match for the insight from Mom or Dad. If anything, it should be a welcome cue to start the discussion about sex in your home. In this day and age, sadly, it may already be time.
Were the Girl Scouts wrong in allowing Planned Parenthood to distribute these pamphlets? You decide.