Monroe: What’s wrong with the Healthy Kids Survey
Children are our most valuable resource in Eagle County, and it is the responsibility of adults to protect them from danger, particularly when they are too young to understand the consequences of that danger.
As a father of three young daughters ages 6, 5, and 16 months, I have found that fatherhood has become the most gratifying and fulfilling adventure I have ever experienced in my life. I also quickly realized that raising kids becomes a full-time exercise in vigilance. Don’t poke your sister with that pencil. Don’t touch that candle. Don’t walk into the street without an adult. Don’t pet that angry dog. Don’t stand on that ledge. Et cetera ad nauseam…
My goal indeed is to teach my young children to think for themselves, and the day will come when they will be able to identify and understand complex and confusing topics, but for my children, that day has not yet come. And I do not expect them to fully get to that point until they are mostly through their adolescent years.
As with many parents, my goal is to raise children that are functional in our society, respect authority, think for themselves and love their Creator. I feel strongly about this. This is not just my goal, but also my responsibility. It is not a bureaucrat’s job to teach my children. It is not a school teacher’s responsibility to indoctrinate my children, and it is abhorrent for public school staff to confuse my children.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which has questions for middle school kids, asks our children — yes, middle schoolers are children — questions that confuse and disorient the emotions and minds of children that should otherwise be guided and counseled in these issues by their parents.
Question No. 4 on the survey: Some people describe themselves as transgender when their sex at birth does not match the way they think or feel about their gender. Are you transgender?
Question No. 5 on the survey: Which of the following best describes you? A. Heterosexual (straight), B. Gay or lesbian, C. Bisexual, D. Asexual, E. I describe my sexual identity some other way, F. I am not sure about my sexual identity (questioning), G. I do not know what this question is asking
What purpose could these questions serve other than to confuse our children? One could argue that our children are already confused, but is that not exactly why they need adults to teach them the biological truth?
Yes, children’s feelings tend to be all over the map, their emotions can be raw, unfiltered and real, but their minds have not yet learned to understand these emotions. If we ask a kid if they feel like eating ice cream or broccoli, we probably would not be surprised by the answer.
As adults, we must seek to help children navigate their emotions in light of reality and teach them to place their emotions into the context of truth. Feelings are real and God-given, but they are not always indicative of what is actually going on — especially in the lives of our young children.
Questions 18-24 of the survey are all about sexual consent. Our 11-year-olds are being asked some of these questions.
Question No. 18 on the survey: Have you ever had a sexual experience where you were unsure if you gave your fully-granted consent to the other person?
Question No. 19 on the survey: Have you ever had a sexual experience where you were unsure if you received fully-granted consent from the other person?
Question No. 24 on the survey: Have you ever forced someone to have sex with you when you knew they did not want to?
I get it, bad things are happening to children and this needs to be talked about, but do our 11-year-old children need to have the pressure of sex added to an already confusing childhood? We adults understand that adding sex to a relationship can make things weird. This is even true in heterosexual marriages where marriage counselors often focus on the sexual relationship of the couple. Why? Because it’s complicated!
Our children do not need to be exposed to this complication. Allow our children to be innocent while they still can be. Allow them to enjoy their childhoods while they are children. Children are not ready for sex, and they are emotionally and mentally not ready to answer questions that only serve to cause more confusion.
My challenge — no, my plea to our Eagle County Schools officials, is that they allow our children to be children. Adult life is messy enough; we do not need to unnecessarily expose our greatest treasure to the danger and confusion that this survey brings into the lives of our children. Let parents decide when their children are ready for these kinds of questions and let parents ask these questions in the safest place on planet Earth — their home.
Stephen Monroe is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Gypsum.