We have a few items we want to share with you for prayer.
McMaster is winding up its term in the next 10 days or so. We ask that you pray with us that our fellowship will continue to share the gospel with summer students and especially connect with those who have never heard or received Christ before. Pray that the word of God would spread…2 Thessalonians 3:1 and that the Holy Spirit would empower us like never before.
Community – Some great doors are opening to share with some friends in the community. I [Bob] have shared the gospel with a couple of men who we share office space with. Pray for new life for these friends. There are also 2 other men Bob will be meeting with this week to talk about the Lord.
Lastly, Chris Kovac, a good friend, neighbour and Navigators staff at McMaster, has been leading an opposing voice regarding gender identity and sexual orientation education beginning in grade 3 within our local school board. The board has not really listened to the majority who oppose this implementation. For our US friends, there is a public school board and a Catholic school board. Below is an article in with Chris is quoted in the local newspaper. Pray for wisdom…not sure if this could be one of those Romans 1 situations where God moves his restraining hand of protection if our community is bent on gong this way. There are many in the city that would like to see the policy changed and are considering legal action.
Thanks for praying with us.
Bob and Scarlett Royce
Below is an article from the front page of the Hamilton Spectator today. Please read the article to see what the city is planning on teaching kids. Our voices need to be heard on this or untold numbers of children will be taught material that will have a negative lasting influence on this next generation. There is a poll on the spec home page today with a forum to post responses. Please take the time to vote and let your voice be heard. The poll can be found at www.thespec.com.
Sex ed moves to Grade 3
Sexual orientation on the curriculum
April 15, 2010
The Hamilton Spectator
(Apr 15, 2010)
Ontario elementary schoolchildren will learn more detailed sex education in earlier grades under a new province-wide curriculum that begins this September.
The revised curriculum, to be taught in all school boards in Ontario, also means for the first time, children will learn about "invisible differences" such as sexual orientation and gender identity in Grade 3.
In addition to learning about healthy relationships, self-esteem and the value of delaying sexual activity, students will learn about some potentially controversial issues. Some of the material to be discussed includes:
* In Grade 4: puberty and its physical and social changes. It's now taught in Grade 5.
* In Grade 5: the concept of personal desire, liking someone "in a special way."
* In Grade 6: personal pleasure in masturbation, vaginal lubrication and wet dreams.
* In Grade 7: sex acts such as oral sex and anal intercourse.
Some parents and educators don't support such explicit teachings about sexuality.
"For some kids, it's too much too soon," said Vilia Milic, a Hamilton school teacher who taught for 36 years before retiring last year. "We're not letting kids be kids. We're rushing them. Whatever innocence is left will no longer be there ... I don't think it's the responsibility of schools to go into specific detail. It's problematic."
Chris Kovac, a Christian father of three, said teaching about same-sex relationships in Grade 3 is "completely inappropriate."
"They're little kids. Why get them thinking about things that has no relevancy to them at this point?" he said. "I'm paying taxes into a system that's teaching my kids something that's counter to what we believe at home. They should have to remain neutral on matters of faith and religion. "
Ministry of Education spokes-person Gary Wheeler said teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation is part of the province's overall commitment to inclusive education.
The province's equity and inclusive education strategy aims to see students of all diversities reflected in the curriculum.
At the same time that the province implements these changes to the health curriculum, it is also expecting school boards to have equity policies in place that deal with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Those policies have also drawn strong reaction from upset parents who don't agree it should be incorporated into their children's education.
The health and physical education curriculum, updated for the first time since 1998, reflects how the approach to teaching health has changed, said Wheeler.
"The focus is on helping students build skills for making healthy choices."
Sarah Flicker, a York University assistant professor who reviewed the curriculum, says the ministry's commitment to acknowledge sexual pleasure and desires to youths is innovative and terrific.
"Often when we talk to kids about sex-ed, it's a no-no-no, finger-wagging thing. It doesn't speak to the reality. Why do kids have sex? Because it feels good."
So how does one determine what sex information is age appropriate?
Physically, kids hit puberty sooner so it makes sense that it's taught in an earlier grade, she said.
Psychologically, kids mature at different rates but the key is to provide the information before most kids get sexually active, she said.
"If we wait until after they are sexually active, we are missing a key opportunity," she said.
Lastly, one has to look at youth behaviour. Whether we like it or not, educators need to be pragmatic about what youth are actually doing, said Flicker.
Hamilton's public board acknowledges some topics within sex-ed can be challenging to teach because of their personal nature and connection to family, religious or cultural values. Parents can choose to withdraw their children from those lessons. Hamilton's Catholic school board plans to teach curriculum in the context of their faith.
Flicker said she's always hearing from youths about how awful sex-ed is. "I'm really hoping these curriculum shifts will change that discourse," she said.