Notes home cause a ruccus when you live in a foreign country. Because they take time to translate, and you still don’t really understand exactly what you’re signing up for.
So when my 5th-grader handed me a note last week that said something about man-to-man and woman-to-woman and important for your child’s development, I knew I was in for all kinds of unexpected. Google translate didn’t really help.
So I signed the bottom of the note and tore off the part that said I would come to a meeting on Tuesday evening at 7pm. Then I handed it to my daughter and started praying for the gift of the German tongue. Or at least the gift of understanding the German tongue.
Tuesday night arrived, and I went to the meeting. My Mann and I decided I would go alone, so the kids could stay home. I chose my seat carefully, front row, close to the door, and next to a lady I sort of know.
I sat down, notebook and pen poised for action. You know, because I would definitely encounter words I would need to translate later.
I could see the screen well, for it was a power-point presentation, so I started writing down words I didn’t recognize from the introductory slide. Words like Werteorientiertes, begleitet Madchen, sexual padagogisches.
I was the only one taking notes.
I gave up the writing once the woman started speaking. For one, she spoke way too quickly. And secondly, well, I got the idea of what this whole thing was about.
I sat in that chair, heart racing at times, intrigued and amused that, of all the years we had to live in Germany, it had to be 5th grade for my oldest. I mean, truly, who would have thought that my oldest daughter’s first sex-education class would be in a country where sex can be found on billboards and late-night commercials?
My tension eased, however, as the presentation went on. For reasons I can only call God at work, I had peace. And here’s why:
- She’s heard it before. Thankfully, we had “the talk” a while ago, and, while it completely grossed her out, my daughter is well aware of what it takes to make a baby.
- She only understands most of what is said on any given day in class. In this case, I must say, I’m kind of glad she might not understand every word of every question that any girl may or may not ask.
- I get to take my girl out for coffee or cocoa or coke when it’s over. Because, really, we must debrief. I will ask her what she understood. If she has any questions. But mostly I will instill in her the truth that the gift of her sexuality is one of the most precious gifts of all. We will talk about purity and grace and the value God gave her when He threaded together who she is. And, well, quite frankly, I’m kind of excited to start this open conversation with her.
- I was no longer taking notes. And, well, that’s a good thing considering I was in a completely German-speaking meeting, full of completely German-speaking people. It’s also good because I think people were starting to wonder how I had children if I needed to take notes on how to make a baby.