I found abstinence mentioned only in passing. When the teacher arrived with the school nurse, she asked if there were any questions. I asked why abstinence did not play a noticeable part in the material.
What happened next was shocking. There was a great deal of laughter, and someone suggested that if I thought abstinence had any merit, I should go back to burying my head in the sand.
The teacher explained to me the job of the school was to teach “facts,” and the home was responsible for moral teaching. I sat in embarrassed silence for the next 20 minutes as the course was explained. The other parents seemed to give their unqualified support for the materials.
“Donuts, at the back,” announced the teacher during the break. “I’d like you to put on the name tags we have prepared – they’re right by the donuts – and mingle with the other parents.”
Everyone moved to back of the room. As I watched them putting on their name tags and shaking hands, I sat deep in thought. I was ashamed that I had not been able to convince them
to include a serious discussion of abstinence in materials. I uttered a silent prayer for guidance
My thoughts were interrupted by the teacher’s hand on my shoulder. “Won’t you go and join the others, Mr. Layton?” The nurse smiled and sweetly said: “The donuts are good.”
“Thank you, no,” I replied.
“Well, then, how about a name tag? I’m sure the others would like to meet you.”
“Somehow I doubt that,” I replied.
“Won’t you please join them?” she coaxed.
Then I heard a still, small voice whisper, “Don’t go.” The instruction was unmistakable. “Don’t go!” “I’ll just wait here,” I said.
When the class was called back to order, the teacher looked around the long table and thanked everyone for putting on name tags. “Now we’re going to give you the same lesson we’ll be giving your children. Everyone please peel off your name tags.”
I watched in silence as the name tags came off. “Now, then, on the back of one of the tags, I drew a tiny flower. Who has it, please?"
The gentleman across from me held it up. “Here it is!”
“All right,” she said. “The flower represents disease. Do you recall who you shook hands with?”
He pointed to a couple of people.
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