I can state emphatically and with pride that my seventeen year old knows all about the proper use of a condom. Every teen should be so lucky, but I’m not the one who taught her how to use them. She learned the Ten Steps To Condom Use a few years ago in her junior youth group at church as they went through the Our Whole Lives curriculum. As a junior in High School she is in the midst of the High School portion of the curriculum. A couple of weeks ago, one of the leaders casually challenged all the youth to go procure their own condoms during the week– preferably that they purchase them and not pilfer them from parents or friends.
My daughter took the assignment with her usual positive aplomb and approached a girlfriend after school to head over to a local drug store after school. Mind you, my daughter attends school in the down town of a fairly large city and the local drug store for her really amounted to one of those somewhat sleazy mini-marts with two choices of condoms. She and her friend linked arms, picked the cheapest package–their only criteria–and she bought her first pack of condoms. On the bus ride home, her friend admitted to never having seen a condom before.
My daughter, being who she is, opened the package of two and handed one to her friend, right there on the bus, and then she proceeded to give her a brief lesson in proper condom usage. I don’t know what the other adults on the bus saw or might have thought about this exchange, but I for one, would have been listening in. No one ever gave me the ten steps to condom use. I had to learn about things hit and miss. When I was eighteen, I relied on condoms in spite of lack of proper knowlledge and relying on my partner to do everything right. Knowing Step Number Nine could have saved me a half hour of fishing around my cervix looking for a seemingly lost condom and several weeks of stress. (Yes, certain lessons are hard learned, but I’m glad my kid knows some of the rules ahead of the hands-on experience.) It’s interesting what kids bring home these days. I can guarantee I’m listening.