A few months ago a friend told me about a dream she’d had. In her dream we were teaching a sex-ed class for the girls at our homeschool co-op. I must have blinked like a giant owl because I had been mulling and praying and thinking on this very topic for quite a while. I may have lit a candle to call in the partner I would need in this venture because I just didn’t have the bravery to try it on my own. It was the perfect synchronicity of teaching and personality styles. We were both excited to begin.
We put a lot of thought into our plan and came up with completely different things to do. They dovetailed perfectly to achieve our vision.
Her thoughts were to take a more innocent approach and address things like self-talk and feelings and to leave s-e-x for a later date. The girls who we are working with are between the ages of 11 and 13. She came up with a plan to use the world GIRLS as an acronym for topics.
She also suggested that we have each girl bring a snack that she can eat. We have a lot of girls with food allergies, so for each of them to have something safe is a big deal. We provide drinks.
My idea was to call our girls group ‘Pink Tent,’ after the Red Tent Temple we ladies share each month. The word pink may seem cliched but I think it makes sense based on the same reasoning that leads us to use the words ‘Red Tent,’ for menstruating women. Some of our girls have their moon and others do not. Maybe this is a good way to bless our pinkness without bowing to cliches? So, we call our gathering The Pink Tent.
My contribution to the girls is to open with a story, have a little discussion about it and then to get the girls up and moving, hopefully dancing and finding joy in moving their bodies for a few minutes and later, ‘flooding’ in which we all say one nice thing about each girl, in turn. It can be difficult to hear nice things and to mute our negative self-talk and my hope is that this will bolster the girls.
Then we move to our topic for the month, which will cycle through those above which my friend came up with, a few additions from me and two that the girls added for themselves at our first Pink Tent (I will blog about that later). Patricia leads this discussion and once conversation begins, we both interact with the girls.
After we’ve been together for about an hour, the two adults leave the girls to talk among themselves for about another 50 minutes. Then we come back and do some stretching or yoga to help all of us ground after an intense two hours. We then dismiss the girls to their parents and that is all.
Our hope is provide an open-ended forum where these young women learn to support each other, in which they have access to adults who are open, accepting and non-judgmental and who will do our best to answer their questions.
Who are we? One of us is a degreed Special Ed teacher and the other has a BA in Anthropology and Creative Writing. We both teach, read and work hard to be kind, honest, thoughtful and caring. We can’t say we will leave all of our stuff at the door but our plan is to offer data and not morality and when we know our own opinions are going to come in, we agree to work on that and to talk to the girls about it.
Our goal is that every girl in this group be deeply aware of her own sovereignty and value in this world and they establish a strong support network where acceptance among young women is the norm. Here is my friend’s take on our experience.