Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road

17 Mar


            After having spent 33 years in the High School classroom, and observing teenagers day after day I have come to the conclusion that life is about 3 things. How we relate to, learn about and handle our relationship with these 3 things will determine much if not all of the success and happiness that we will have in our lives. I believe that while teaching the 3R’s is a fundamental and sacred principle of our educational system the study and discussion of these 3 even more basic elements of our everyday lives should be mandatory in every public school curriculum throughout the world. And they are: Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road…and here’s why.

            1. Sex – Our physical attraction to and need for someone else. Our sometimes overwhelming need for physical pleasure. The basic, primeval lure of reproduction. The undeniable connection, often repressed, between the animal world and ourselves. The basic instinct that we cannot separate ourselves from, no matter how hard we try. All of the religions in all of the world cannot sway us from our keen awareness of our sexuality and our link to the animal in all of us. We copulate and we reproduce just like all other animals. It is the only way for our species to propagate and survive. We are not separated from animals by divinity, and that’s just the way it is.

            2. Drugs – Our bodies are made of chemicals and natural substances that are found throughout our planet and our universe, that comprise all living things. Life eventually becomes mundane and ordinary for all of us and we find solace and euphoria and altered states of consciousness through the use of various drugs. Eventually we all try one or another and how we react to the effects they have on our bodies and minds will be revisited time and again over the course of our lives. All chemical substances will react with our physical organs and alter, enhance or reduce their functionality…from nicotine to alcohol to Ritalin and beyond. Whatever chemicals we ingest, be they natural or manmade, they will induce or influence behaviors and reactions that we will either find pleasant, unsatisfactory, euphoric or detrimental (and many times even addictive) but our relationship with drugs of one form or another will be constant and ongoing throughout our lives. The relationships we have with these chemicals may be the most important and profound  relationships that we will have during our lifetimes.

            3. Rocky Road – i.e.: Desire. We will all develop a desire and passion for something that may either drive, consume or haunt us throughout our lives. It may be one of the two of the three most important things that I have mentioned here so far, or perhaps all three to one degree or another. Perhaps the desire for the euphoric state that drugs induce will addict us. Or perhaps our sex drive will steer us on a course of emotional ups and downs over roads where we cannot find the off ramp. Or maybe the delicious tastes of food and the satiations that we can only find through our gastric delight will consume our thoughts and desires. Perhaps it will be the work that we choose to do or a vocation or a love for sport or the physical desire to be on the go all the time. Maybe a need for adulation or attention or love, or simply a desire to be left alone, will fill our dreams.

            Power, success, wealth, greed, fame, fortune or that nameless something, that we just can’t put our finger on…yet. Whatever it is you can rest assured that it will be something and not just anything, that will drive us or motivate us or propel us through to the end of our lives. That “Thing” will be our Rocky Road; That which we just can’t get enough of. And how we deal with that desire and pursue it or avoid it or succumb to it or live with it or without it will be our true life’s work…whether we work at it or recognize it or know it or acknowledge it…or not.

            It will be the personal relationships that we forge with these three most powerful forces; Sex, Drugs and Desire, from our adolescence through to our death, that will influence and drive us most throughout our lives. How we will cope with these relationships and how we will recognize our personal struggles with all of them will determine the very fabric of our lives and the course through which we pursue our happiness.

            Ironically these may be the 3 least discussed topics in all schools and homes when they should be the 3 most discussed topics, especially since we all have homes and we all go to school. Why do we avoid or demonize or place taboos on all of these topics? What makes them so influential in our lives and yet at the same time so embarrassing to talk about? Certainly I can understand our reticence to discuss these topics with our little children but by the time they have reached middle school and adolescence we are all, parent and child, pretty much on the same page. That is when we need to begin to open discussions on these topics. That’s when we need to begin openly discussing what it is that we are all privately thinking about anyway.

            Society needs to begin developing a curriculum for the home and school that will open a dialogue between children and adults about the topics that really concern and affect us all. Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road: A Course in Reality Science 101.

            Studying how to read, write and calculate is without a doubt important to all of our children but it will be how our children learn to cope, medicate and congregate in the 21st century that just may save us all.

9 Responses to “Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the need for open discussion to begin between parents and children on every topic you’ve named. Unfortunately, parents refuse to address the subject matter and it falls to the educational environment. Again, due to funding and any number of other reasons, children are not taught at all and that’s where I see the ‘the school of hard knocks’ take control.
    We live in a school district where students cannot fail a grade or be held back a year (even at the parent’s request). This seems to be a set-uo for certain societal failure.

  2. learningisthereward March 17, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    Absolutely! As a teacher of pregnant and parenting teen girls, I know well the pull of these three topics. My students obviously have engaged in sexual activity, and many have past histories of drug use or suicide attempts. Each of them is seeking love, and teens often confuse sex with love. Interestingly enough, many of my students say that getting pregnant saved their lives. They stopped abusing drugs and alcohol or stopped contemplating suicide because they had someone else’s needs to think about. We discuss all these topics honestly in and out of class, but I’m never sure how effective it is. They are distracted by pregnancy and parenting, and there is content to teach, end of instruction tests to pass, etc.

  3. avwalters March 18, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    I agree with all you’ve said. However, I think that, before middle school there’s another important skill that the schools probably should address–interpersonal negotiations. (Even pre-school isn’t too early.) If children can be taught to communicate honestly and negotiate fairly, we’d be well ahead of the game in the later issues of sex, drugs and rocky-road. You’d think such a thing would be taught in the home–but then I survey all the dysfunctional families, and I see how it is we got to here. So, first lets teach them the essential function of humanity (and the vocabulary they need to go with it) and they’ll be in much better stead to wrestle with those big issues, later.

  4. momshieb March 18, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    And as a teacher of young children (10 and 11), I wish that we could be more open and honest about all of this with the kids. I see them beginning to feel those attractions, and I have no means of talking with them about it all.

  5. LG March 18, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    Fantastic analysis. Thank you for a thought provoking read. If you think sex, drugs and desire are not discussed in the West, in the East, it is conveniently pushed under the carpet. Great read.

  6. onnovocks March 18, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    I’m only allowed to use the like button once, so here are the other 4: like, like, like,like. 5/5. 🙂

  7. AnElephantCant March 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    AnElephantCant dispute any of this
    Although he can’t talk about hard drugs or sex
    But there are no ifs and buts
    When it comes to peanuts
    The Rocky Road that leaves AnElephant all wrecked

    Great post, sir.

  8. brucethomasw March 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Great post – gives one pause for reflection.

  9. Barbara Backer-Gray March 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Great post!

    I would argue, though, that Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road don’t start when we’re teenagers. If you broaden Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road to Affection, Safety and the Need to Feel Worthy, they start affecting you the moment you’re born. I know that my strengths and weaknesses were pretty much established by the time I was, oh, say, eight. Looking back, like your post is making me do, I’d say that my personality and my experiences by the age of eight have determined my relationship with Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road from the beginning to the present day.

    That’s not to say, though, that we shouldn’t address these issues with out teenagers. Definitely. But I think we have to start thinking about these things in broader terms and from the moment we become parents. We have to ask ourselves how we want our kids to be in the world and what that means we, as parents, need to do from day one and what we, as teachers, need to do from the first day of preschool.

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