The Futile Thought by Richard King

Story type: Essay

Too many fond parents like to imagine that their children know nothing at all of sexual matters–that they are clean and innocent and ignorant, and that, as long as they can be kept so, they will not run into danger and disgrace. But no parent really knows how much or how little their children know of this matter. Children have ears and imagination, and once they know anything at all–which is at any time from eight years of age, sometimes, alas! earlier–they should be told everything, not in a nasty, furtive fashion, glossing over the ugly part and elevating the decent side until it is out of all proportion to the truth, but quietly, with dignity, laying stress on the fact that sexual morality is not a thing of religion and of God, but of self-respect, of care for the coming generation, and, especially, of that great love which one day will come into their lives. It should not be called a “sin”; at the same time it should not be laughed at and made the subject of a whispered jest. Sexual laxity should be treated in the same way as dishonesty and untruthfulness–a sin against oneself, against the beauty of one’s own soul, and against those who believe in us and love us and are our world. Children should be taught to respect the dignity of their own bodies, of their own minds and soul; not by leaving them in half-ignorance, but by telling them everything, and telling them it in the right way–which is the clean and truthful way.

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