You might feel that you don’t understand 'the youth of today' but this year the theme for RSE Day is “Everyone can sparkle; celebrating differences” and that is what we would love to help you do! Help you to sparkle!
Author, Andy Stanley, said, “Difference is inevitable, but division is a choice.” We may not think of it as a choice, but it is! Allowing your perceived difference of opinion to cause division between you and young people (or anyone) is a choice - and there are no neutral topics. Celebrating that we all think differently and have the freedom to do so, is a good thing!
Why did the twin towers fall in 2001?
Hate crimes? No.
Greed, politics, religion??? No! No! No!
Twin towers fell because of gravity.*
(*Please don’t stop reading at this point - else you may be horribly offended by my being so crass about this tragic incident and I most sincerely mean no offence).
“BUT!” I hear you say, “There is so much more to it than that - that doesn’t tell the full story!”
And you’d be right, but isn’t that so often the case? We take a stand on this or that, but actually, every issue is multifaceted. It is very rarely just a simple for or against, love or hate option, as social media and lobbying groups would have us believe. If you’ve ever said, “I’ve absolutely no idea how they can think that” or “I just don’t understand why they say that”, that is not a judgment on the person or group you are referring to - it is a statement of fact.
YOU don’t understand. YOU have no idea!
So today, on RSE day, I would love for you to go and listen to the full story. Don’t make judgements, just listen. Find that person or group and kindly ask the question – “The other day you said X and I’d love to know why you think that?”
And then listen, REALLY LISTEN, to what they say.
Don’t argue, just seek clarity so that you can FULLY understand. You may not agree but you will have a better understanding.
And, IF they ask your opinion and you are happy to share, then so will they. But, if they don’t ask - please don’t feel the need to tell them! This was for YOUR benefit, not theirs! Telling someone that you think they are wrong is not the same as inspiring and encouraging them to do what’s right and helping them to sparkle!
Challenge them to grow. Inspire them to do better. Lead them away from danger, but don’t condemn them!
What has this got to do with Relationships and Sex Education? Everything!
If you do the above, then you are building stronger relationships and if you go on to ask questions and LISTEN, every time you shake your head and wonder “How can they think that?” then you will have a MUCH better understanding of people, your relationships will flourish and you may even gain some new friends to boot!
Sometimes people attend our RSE courses wanting us to tell them the “answers." They leave challenged as most of our teaching involves them interacting with us and each other, wrestling with both questions and answers.
In RSE, we are not trying to modify young people’s behaviours to 'our' way of thinking, we are trying to get them to think critically so that they have a good understanding and knowledge of all the different facets of relationships and sex and can then make wise and informed choices.
The golden rule - love others as you love yourself - starts with loving yourself. We believe that if they love and respect themselves, young people will have healthy self-esteem and positive relationships, and as a result of both of those, good sexual health.
Differences are not a problem but allowing those differences to divide us is! So please, go out and sparkle and help others to do the same!