Operation Keepsake - Any opinions?


#1

My daughter’s Catholic school is bringing in Operation Keepsake to discuss abstinence to her 5th grade class. I’m thinking she’s still too young to be learning about the “birds and the bees.”

Has anyone here had experience with Operation Keepsake? From what I can tell from their Web site, they are a secular organization. Here is their mission statement:

“The mission of Operation Keepsake, Inc. is to challenge young people to develop healthy relationships, strong character, and sexual restraint so that they may build and sustain committed marriages and strong families in the future.”

I’d prefer these life lessons be faith-based, and I found on EWTN.com a book, “PARENTS, CHILDREN AND THE FACTS OF LIFE” by Fr. Henry V. Sattler which looks good.

Am I just being an over-protective dad, or is 5th grade the right time to start having these discussions with my daughter? I’m also welcome to other catholic and/or faith-based materials that anyone can recommend.

Thank you and God bless!


#2

That was when this type of subject matter was presented to me in the early 90s. In 5th grade. I think it is probably an appropriate time. Especially nowadays when it seems like kids grow up so fast due to technology, youtube, cellphones, etc. I'm sure kids in her school have already been talking about that sort of thing and she has been exposed to it to some extent.

She definitely should have some sort of discussion along these lines prior to middle school so she doesn't start taking the opinions of her peers as truth or start living by their expectations.


#3

I don't know about your daughter, but I know I got my first period in 5th grade. If I had not known about "the birds and the bees" it is possible I could have done things that would have led to me getting pregnant. Your girl probably already knows a lot more than you're giving her credit for, and while I don't know anything about the specific program you mentioned, I think you definitely need to start talking with her and giving her resources to look at on her own time.


#4

That's about when I got the birds and the bees "talk". It wasn't really a talk--my mom gave me a book, and told me to read it, and then bring it back to her, at which point she asked if I had any questions. I turned bright red, said no, and that was that. :rolleyes:

I don't think it was too early--I already had an inkling and a lot of misconceptions, and I was a very sheltered homeschooler.


#5

I learned in grade 5 too. It was more like "ewwwwwww" than appealing. I had been grossed out for a few years noticing our cats coughcough by that time. We were taught the biology of the changes our bodies were going through, and general instruction on how babies were made.

A strong, Catholic program would be an excellent program!


#6

[quote="journey137, post:3, topic:192025"]
I don't know about your daughter, but I know I got my first period in 5th grade.

[/quote]

My sister didn't learn until after she woke up screaming in the middle of the night that she was dying!


#7

Well, from a proudly confirmed “Over Protective Catholic Dad”, I would like to commend you for being your daughter’s Dad! Too many parents, especially fathers, lack the ability or interest to be parents to their children and I applaud you for taking the time to be a good Dad.

Never feel that you are being “too-protective” cause there are those who let go of the reins too soon and that is when children veer off the path that leads to Heaven. So stand strong and be the parent that God wants you to be. When you die and stand before the Creator of All will you be able to say that you did everything you could to help your family get to Heaven.
Keep that in mind the next time you think you are being too protective.

I have 3 great Catholic children. Son 18, son 12(almost), and daughter 6(my lil’ ladybug who thinks she is at least 16!) and I’m a Stay-At-Home Dad too!!

I would have to say that a really good video if you can find (even YouTube) is by Jason Evert on chastity. Another good video to find is by Pam Stenzel… her talk in to a bunch of middle school kids (might be high school??.. anyway…) she talks about chastity too and gives some pretty scary stats about disease and the lies told to our kids are told about sex in school… mostly public school.
I would highly recommend these… you can find a YouTube downloader and actually copy the link for the video and download the series of videos and watch them with her when you have time… might want to view them first yourself and determine if your daughter is ready for these…

EDIT Re-reading my post and thinking a little bit… 5th grade may be a little soon to see those videos … look at them and even download them and maybe hold on to them for a year or so when she is in middle school and the pressures of peers may play more of a factor in your decision to show these to her.

Good Luck, Stay Strong, Be a Protective Dad!

God Bless you and your family,

Paul


#8

I think 5th grade is a good age to learn about the birds and the bees. I expect to tell my kids at about 10, unless they show signs of earlier puberty. I would share your concern, however, because

1-this lesson needs to be taught within a religious framework. It can not be secular. Why a Catholic school wouldn't be able to pull that off is beyond me.

2-this is a lesson that should be taught by the parents.

3-this lesson shouldn't be taught in a group setting. It is very personal information they're going to be learning, and they need the freedom to digest it without embarrassment of the group.

4-this lesson should never be taught in a co-ed session. Sitting in a classroom next to a boy, while you learn about the mechanics of s*x, is the first step to teaching girls that there aren't any boundaries between girls and boys. It also makes kids prematurely comfortable talking about s*x with each other, which is a precursor to being more comfortable experimenting etc... Co-ed s*x ed is a serious undermining of the message of abstinence.


#9

After hearing about this book a bajillion times, I finally got and read "The joyful mysteries of life" in preparation for "THE TALK" (my eldest is almost 9). It is an EXCELLENT introduction into the facts of life - gives out the physical information, but focuses on the spiritual context. It sounds strange, but I'm really looking forward to reading this to my kids (one at a time), because it gives me peace that they'll be learning the right stuff the right way.


#10

Fifth grade is absolutely the right time, especially when you consider the amount of sexually active middle schoolers, the early onset of puberty in girls, and maturity in general. Girls especially need to practice saying no and learn to protect and assert themselves, as there are people who take advantage of innocent, naive youth. Would you rather her get it from you and her strong Catholic school's program or from her peers?

For us, it was general biology mechanics and how our bodies will change as we grow. She'll probably start her growth spurt, if she hasn't already. That's usually the first sign. Some of her friends may be wearing training bras. They'll be getting their periods soon. She needs to know now.


#11

I don’t know anything about the Operation Keepsake but I think that 5th grade is probably the right age to be teaching kids. My school never actually formally taught about sex until we were in the 7th grade and I feel that was wrong because before that we all had an idea of what it was without fully understanding it. It was always a very taboo subject in my family as well so I could never be open with my parents or ask them anything, but if you are open with your daughter now she will feel she can be open with you later.


#12

since girls can and do get their periods and show development in other ways as young as nine, I would say the parent who has not presented this information to her preteen is remiss. The book you cited from EWTN is an excellent resource for parents. If this Operation is offered through the CAtholic school, parish or CCD there has to be a parent opt-out form and chance to review the program first, that is part of child safety regulations. If it were my 5th grader I would be reviewing it this week.


#13

When I was a little girl in the 4th grade a little boy named Fernando. Yes, I still remember his name. He was obsessed with doing drawings of sexually explicite drawings of two persons having sexual relations. He would show me the photos and just laugh. I would just look at him as if he was mentally sick.
I used to think that only dirty minded people did those things in the photos. I had a very sheltered life and didn’t find out about sex until I was 14yrs in the 8th grade. I went into total shock that all of my adult members were doing what Fernando had shown me years ago in his drawings. I was grossed out.

When I was 13yrs.old I used to think that girls got pregnant by sleeping near a boy.
When a boy cousin came to live with us I thought he had gotten me pregnant because
my period was not coming at the time it was supposed to start. I told my mom I needed to see the doctor about that. The doctor asked me if my cousin had touched me while I was sleeping. I said, "No, but that his bed was near my bed eventhough his bed was in a separate room with an open door.LOL. The doctor didn’t tell me about the birds and the bees and just gave me a shot so my period would start. It started and I was happy.
Meanwhile… I still didn’t know nothing about sex until one day I heard some school girls talking about sex. I learned about sex from the girls at school.

My younger sister told me she thought she was seriously ill when she started to bleed.
She called our Mom from school and our mom just told her to put on some toilet paper.
She didn’t explain what was happening to her.

Yes, 5th grade is a good time to learn about the birds and the bees.


#14

She already knows about sex by 5th grade. Unless you live in a cave and have kept her locked in a closet since she was born, and she never, ever goes out, watches any TV, reads any books or magazines, talks on the phone, plays with other children, associates with anyone else, listens to music, reads the Bible, etc. She knows.

And there's nothing wrong with her knowing. Sex is part of being human. As others have said, it is very important for girls especially to know about sex and their bodies because of their periods. Because of the improved health of our children in the U.S., girls are starting their periods young nowadays, as young as 9.

Also, girls need to know about sex to protect themselves from creeps who would try to take advantage of their innocence.

There are 12-year-old girls giving birth all the time at our hospital. Your daughter knows about sex. She'll PRETEND that she doesn't know around you, but she knows.

She probably knows a distorted version, and certainly an incomplete version of sex. That's your job--fill the facts and give her the complete picture, the "Christian" version and why sex is intended for married couples.


#15

I was just laughing at the fact that at the age of 9 or 10 I saw “Look Who’s Talking” and assumed from the way the film cuts from Kirsty Alley kissing a man to the shot of the sperm swimming toward the egg that people must get pregnant from french kissing! The subject was taboo at home and I could only guess what sex was from what I saw on TV or heard from the other kids at school. I think there is a healthy level of knowledge at every age and the key for us parents is to figure out how much information is enough. Even my 3 year old daughter knows (mainly from following me into the bathroom and asking me) that grown women menstruate once a month. Eventually when it’s time, I’ll have to explain why.

I don’t know anything about the Operation Keepsake program, but you can bet that I would want more information before I gave permission for her to see something in school. I want her to hear about things from ME at an appropriate time, not have the school decide how much she needs to know and when. If I allow her to participate in the program at school, it will only be after her and I talk about it first.


#16

I would stop paying tuition to a Catholic school that is not using Catholic teaching for morality.


#17

@samovila...I can beat your theory.

When I was younger I saw an episode of three's company where Jack was worried his girlfriend was pregnant. Well, I learned in class that 2 cells needed to come together to form a new person. What these cells were, I didn't know.

So, I figured out that when 2 people kiss and hug it causes friction, and 2 skin cells fall off and become a new person. :blush: I didn't have a theory on how the skin cells made it to the mommy....

For the OP, will the school give you a chance to review the curriculum before hand?

My 2 kids just had a class on "bad touch" they are in kindergarten and third grade. It was pretty simple and straight forward. They were told that no one is to touch them where their bathing suits would go, unless it's mommy or daddy giving a bath, or the doctor examining them.

My kindergarten daughter mentioned the phrase "make out" She has no clue what it means, when I asked her, she said it was "something you do on a date." Further questioning led me to believe it was something she heard, but doesn't know what it means.

Parenthood is so fun these days.....:rolleyes::(


#18

[quote="journey137, post:3, topic:192025"]
I don't know about your daughter, but I know I got my first period in 5th grade. If I had not known about "the birds and the bees" it is possible I could have done things that would have led to me getting pregnant. Your girl probably already knows a lot more than you're giving her credit for, and while I don't know anything about the specific program you mentioned, I think you definitely need to start talking with her and giving her resources to look at on her own time.

[/quote]

I'll second that. I got my period in the 5th grade. I was 11. If she hasn't heard anything by now (and trust me, she has) it's time to tell her. Or rather, have her mother tell her. Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I think it would be completely inappropriate (borderline creepy and perverted) for a father to have this conversation with his daughter, unless the mother is dead or has abandoned the family.


#19

She’s right. Trust me, friends talk, and tell jokes and rumors. Your daughter has already heard and seen a lot more than you’re aware of. If she doesn’t get it from you (or rather her mother (see previous post)) then she’s already heard it from her friends.


#20

I thought 5th grade was too young, too, until my 5th grade daughter got off the school bus one day and told ME the facts of life:blush: And that was 28 years ago! Things are even worse now. You better get to her before her school bus buddies do.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.