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Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Ethics of Full Disclosure

...the birds and the bees

I never asked my parents where babies came from.

Somehow, before I ever realized this was a question worth considering, I had heard something from a friend that--while utterly confusing and ultimately completely incorrect--provided the answer.

Thus, I have no history to draw upon if my children were ever to ask me. But my plan is to calmly, oh, so very calmly, explain the process as scientifically and accurately as possible (while dropping enough subtle hints as to the appropriate and most beneficial social situations in which this is recommended to make a lasting impression). But I can't give them all the details. Full disclosure is simply not possible. Nor, I think, advised.

But I like giving tons of information, especially if it's a topic I'm interested in. I love laying it all out and explaining everything. In short, short and simple answers are simply too short and simply boring.

Full disclosure is impossible, however. There's just too much information, too much knowledge, too many competing views, too many options. Couple that with a desire to encourage people to act upon what they've learned, and you end up with a rather jumbled mess.

Yesterday I read a web guru who stated, emphatically, that in order to be considered an expert you must give simplistic, emphatic answers to questions. The masses, he assured me, only want simplistic. If you're too nuanced nobody'll care. You'll never reach widespread fame if you dabble in the grays. Black and white is the secret to success.

I don't think I believe him.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you now that I'm not going to fully disclose anything in this post.

Rather, I'll tell you that we're planning on disclosing more about the Sonlight | OneVerse project soon.

So sign up and tell your friends!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

P.S. I realize that I didn't really mention ethics in this post. I was thinking about it so I left the title as is. Plus, it's cool. If you wanted an ethics talk, share your thoughts below and we'll get a conversation going. But this post is long as it is...

P.P.S. If you don't like my word plays, please let me know. I've been told that such things can be annoying and unhelpful, rather than fun and enjoyable. What say you?


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I like them.

My parents never had "the talk" with me yet I can't remember not knowing age appropriate things about sex.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I am not going to ask what *really* prompted you to write this post.

Meg_L said...

There is an easy solution to the birds and the bees questions ....

Breed and raise animals.

It leaves no question in anyone's mind of what happens when you put A and B together.

se7en said...

I have to comment!!! You know Sonlight has an excellent series on the birds and the bees... by stan and brenna jones ( my mom gave me a book on the human body: along with the lung and the skin cell it mentioned that children may reach puberty at age twelve. No wonder we have so many kids I had no idea where they came from!!!

You keep doing this: Sonlight has one of my best books regarding your "Make friends and influence people" post.... Open heart, open home - totally love this book, it is ranked way up there on my list of favorites!!!

Have a great weekend!

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The HoJo's said...

We recently sat through a dvd called 'Things are Changing' an Australian idea, it gives basic info about growing up and how it is all because we have this wonderful gift of being able to have a baby, when we are old enough, a gift to give when you get married (that confused a few girls) where do we get the gift they asked :o) no nitty gritty but lots of biological info. The rest is up to the parents, it came with a pack for the child and one for the parent and was waaaay less scary than I remember sex ed at school. The girls watched the dvd separately from the boys and parents had to be there. All very sweet and non salacious. The girls were all 10/11 years old.
I really expected it to be toe curlingly hideous to discuss but it was a breeze in the end.

I have to agree, there is little doubt about the facts when you keep pet rabbits, although the rabbits have no morals so many an interesting discussion has been started.


ps we like the word play here

Jill in Kentucky said...

"The masses, he assured me, only want simplistic. If you're too nuanced nobody'll care."

I do this this is true, Luke. I think the "masses" do was easy, simplistic answers. I don't think thinking people like those type of answers. It insults our intelligence and our ability to think critically.

Want proof? Look at all the dumbed down Bibles. It is horrifying. The "masses" want dumbed down, easy to understand, someone's interpretation of the Bible. They don't want to take the time to read and study for themselves. Just give them the bottom line, in updated language so I can get on with my life.

I know this has nothing to do with the "sex talk" but I really think you and I are not one of the "masses" so it is hard for us to imagine wanting "simplistic answers."

Tony C said...

When it comes to the topic of sex...I like being in the gray area myself.

It scares me to think about what my teenager knows already. We try to be open about things and put them in a biblical perspective, but I know our effort is being countered from what she hears at school.

We should be in constant prayer for our young people...

Luke Holzmann said...

Heather, that's interesting.

Mrs. C, actually, what prompted this post had nothing to do with the birds and the bees. Rather, I just wanted a way to tie in the concept and everyone ran with it <laughing>. ...I think I'm going to blog about that next.

Meg, breeding animals is a great idea! Totally!

Se7en, <laughing> I should get you to consult me on my posts, then! I never even thought of Open Heart, Open Home because I've never read it. ...time for me to get more familiar with some of these resources <smile>.

Dan, that's a great question. And I have no emphatic answer. ...must not be a guru in this area <smile>.

xc, glad you like the word plays <smile>.

Jill, very interesting insights! What confuses me is that a large mass of people I know don't fit into the category of "the masses" <laughing>. But, yes, even I like a little more certainty from time to time.

Tony, good points.


Karen Joy said...

I think homeschooling allows for a very easy transition into such conversations... I mean, even starting with how plants reproduce sets the stage for future, more complex (and human-centered) talks.

I heard a great teaching once on a similar subject, and it had an illustration of a girl WANTING to carry her Dad's briefcase, but it was too heavy for her... There are some things that are just too heavy for small children, even if they think they want to know, and parents need to be aware of what their kids have the maturity to carry.

OTOH, I think some Christian families shy too greatly from the subject, and hope that their kids will just assimilate the info somehow, some way... they call it "modesty" or something, when it's really just avoidance, and does not do the child any favors.

I figured out, when I was about 9yo, that our family's encyclopedias had words in bold and that meant that there was an entry in a different volume for that word. So, I just read to my mind's content about puberty and reproduction and consequently became the go-to girl among my friends when they had questions. Looking back, my thought on that is, "ACK!!" I had no real understanding; I just parroted what was gleaned from the pages of the Britannica. :)

By the time my parents got around to sort of talking with me about sex, I was, I think 13. Pretty much all they told me was that I needed to wait for marriage. Which I did, thought it was out of personal conviction, not so much from their veiled admonitions.

My husband and I have decided that the dad talks to the boys, and the mom talks to the girls. Our oldest just turned 12, and my hubby started raising the subject about six months ago... But, it's our desire to open the conversation, not just drop a bomb and say, "Whew! Glad that one's over!"

On the subject of the masses and simplicity... I'm not sure about that. It's true that what catches my eye isn't vague -- I like to be TALKED to, and don't want to read trite, waffling junk. So, that's black and white, in my book. However, I think nuances are VASTLY important. It's what separates excellence from drivel.

And I think your word plays are silly. But, I'm not annoyed or anything by them!!

Luke Holzmann said...

Karen, great comment! Thanks so much for sharing all that. I'm nodding along with you and am glad you aren't annoyed by my word plays <smile>.

I love the part of blogging where others add so much more to your original posts <smile>. It's great!



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