President’s Corner for December 2015: Dr. Freda M. Bush
“Had the Talk?” powered by Medical Institute is the name of our new initiative to be launched in the first quarter of 2016. Talking about sex is not easy or comfortable, but it is necessary. If our youth are to get the best benefit of developing healthy relationships, while avoiding risks and unnecessary lifelong consequences, they must be told the truth. Let’s face it, we are in a fight for our children to combat the lie of victimless casual sex. Like GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle.” Let’s be clear, however, that “The Talk” is not a onetime event at a certain age, but rather a conversation that occurs over a lifetime.
When I was in 6th or 7th grade, a public health nurse came to my school and showed a film on the female body, menstrual cycles and sexually transmitted diseases. She talked afterward and answered questions about the signs and symptoms of the diseases. I remember running home that afternoon all excited because I was sure the discharge I recently started having was an STD. I remember bursting through the door and announcing to my mother that I need to see a doctor because I had the “clap”. She did not act shocked or laugh or put me off to “later”, but instead she simply asked why I thought I had a disease. When I told her, she sat with me and explained that I was probably getting ready to have my first menstrual period and that the discharge was normal. She then explained that I could only get the “clap’ if I had been having sex.
My mother that day handled my need for information in a respectful way. Through her acceptance, she seized the moment to open the door for even more conversations. I have to admit my mother was my first role model for having “the talk” with my children, my friends, and later my patients and others.
“Had the Talk” initiative will fulfill two of MI’s stated goals: 1.To increase the number of individuals who have the skills necessary to form healthy relationships, build strong marriages and form safe and stable families. 2. To increase parent child connectedness. Our motivators for this initiative are: 1.empowering the lifelong conversation about sex for parents and grandparents and 2. focusing health professionals, educators and the public on primary prevention and risk avoidance.
Furthermore, the paradigm shift includes offering our resources free of charge. Your donations will greatly enhance our ability to encourage and inform the conversations of children, youth and young adults with parents and other persons of authority which will subsequently inform their conversations with their peers and later their families. Thank you for your support through the years and even more now.