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losing Courtney's virginity
losing Courtney's virginity
When I read your email, and you spoke of the discomfort to me or my family -- I must admit that I thought Courtney wrote and read to the class something in her memoir that pertained to Alden or me. And I wrote you back accordingly with my honest, clueless feelings.
Then I had a brief talk with Alden about her obligation to her family first, and about how she can't cling to her privacy arguments if it pertains to our family -- which I thought the thing with Courtney must have done since you were writing me about our family's discomfort. But I didn't press Alden for the story.
But, tonight, I ordered her to tell me the story -- before I had to hear about it at the school Corporation meeting tomorrow night. Imagine my chagrin when I learned it had nothing specific to do with me or my family...
Of course, Alden is now upset with me for making her give me the story, but -- hey! -- I misunderstood the situation and thought it was about me -- or her.
Listen, please understand that Courtney's memoir does not cause me ANY discomfort. I don't find her memoir, or her sharing it with the class, in the least bit inappropriate or offensive. Good for her, I say.
Sandy, you and I have talked about Courtney's sexual precociousness several times in the past. It is what it is, and it is who she is. I don't find anything WRONG about that. And I have no problem with Courtney making the decision she made -- either in the action or it's retelling. I might have advised her to do differently, I might have talked about consequences with her, and I might have talked about -- as I did with Alden -- the notion of responsibility to one's family. But, hey, Courtney is on the road to a big, big personae, and this is how you get there -- you do edgy things in a really public way. God Bless you, as her Mom, but I don't know that it's stoppable. We've spoken as friends about that.
As a parent, please accept my sympathies with having your kid put you in that position.
And, as a parent, all the things I said yesterday still apply. Alden and I love Courtney...
But, what's important to me -- since you wrote expressing your concern over our discomfort, and you mentioned sadness at your house -- is that I convey to you my feelings that there is nothing to feel uncomfortable or sad about.
This is the 21st century. Sin is dead. Shame has fled. We ARE empowered. We simply can't talk about a woman's right to choose and not include all of the choices. We know 20% of kids Courtney's age have made her same choice. We know two thirds of high school kids have made that choice. We just can't say all those kids are bad, or wrong, or doomed.
We can caution them, we can talk consequences, we can point out dangers, we can tell them they're not ready, we can ask them to make sure the choice is genuine and motivationally mutual -- but (assuming we're not fundamentalists) we can't allow them their 21st century personhood without allowing them the right to make that decision -- I believe. So I support Courtney's actions -- if she chose freely and it was heartfelt. I know there is a lot she is unaware of and unprepared for -- but that's true of all of us about most all of our decisions -- it's the human condition.
And I say more power to her for reading her memoir out loud in class. If the assignment was to write about memorable events in their lives, and she was asked to share with the class, then why shouldn't Courtney be able to talk about losing her virginity? There is no reason not to, and every reason she should -- just as Alden would write about her parent's divorce or some other kid would write about being arrested for shoplifting. Awkward, embarrassing, searing -- but that was the assignment.
I'm aware it had all sorts of elements of rebellion and defiance and drama and exhibitionism and teen angst and shock effect and taboo breaking and everything else wrapped up in it. But I fully applaud the fact that Courtney made a big old cannonball dive into her eighth grade writing assignment. She called JoAnne's bluff on just what it meant to write a teen memoir. It was intelligent, daring and personal -- hard for you to live with, I'm sure -- but please don't feel uncomfortable or sad on my account.
Very best wishes,