As I went to tuck my first grader into bed, she told me about a book the teacher had read in class. The book talked about a young girl who was touched inappropriately by an adult. The girl was really embarrassed about what had happened, but decided to tell her older brother. Her brother assured her that she had done nothing wrong and encouraged her to tell their mother.
The mother was very glad the daughter told her about the inappropriate actions of the other adult. The mother promised her daughter the adult who had touched her would never be allowed in their house or around their family again.
When my daughter finished talking about the book, she told me she was confused and had some questions. She wanted to know why someone would want to touch another person’s genitalia. She also wanted to know what would happen if someone was touched inappropriately. I answered all of her questions and we spent some time talking about our bodies and genitalia. We talked about who is allowed to touch our bodies (medical professionals) and who is not.
I kissed her on the forehead and thanked her for telling me about the book and for asking questions. As I walked out of her room that night, I felt extremely grateful.
I was grateful the school taught my daughter about inappropriate sexual touching. I’m not sure we’ve had that conversation before. I was grateful my daughter was comfortable asking me questions. And I was extremely grateful for the teachers and staff who taught the information so well, my daughter was able to retell the story to me.
Thank you. Thank you to all of the teachers who help me keep my children safe. Thank you for teaching them about fire drills, bullying and personal space. Thank you for the countless hours you supervise my children as they play on the playground or eat their lunch. Thank you for being compassionate and for listening to endlessly long stories about rainbows and unicorns.
But mostly, thank you for covering the difficult topics and helping me to start the conversation at home.