Learning to respect sexuality is important to becoming a balanced individual, one who is able to mix freely and form lasting friendship
Alive to the World understands sexuality in its fullest sense: we are sexual beings in our biology, our psychology, our spirituality and in how we relate to others socially. Learning to respect sexuality is important to becoming a balanced individual, one who is able to mix freely and form lasting friendships. These help to prepare for marriage and for bringing up children in the future.
A positive approach
Alive to the World recognises that the crisis in modern sexual relations is multi-faceted: untimely pregnancies, lack of respect and risk of disease are one aspect, but there is also a growing rate of infertility and profound loneliness as adults fail to bond appropriately in long term relationships. All are destructive of family life and can become self-perpetuating. The cost to individuals and to society generally is far-reaching and will become greater as unattached adults age. The financial burden runs annually into billions of pounds.
Alive to the World’s guiding principle is to help children succeed at every stage in life. Guarding their futures is important when it comes to sex education since a young person’s single false move can have lasting consequences. By contrast, focusing pupils’ attention on the building blocks of good character helps them realise their yearning for lasting love and gives them the strength of character to pursue it.
Expanding children’s potential
The building blocks to character development include: understanding oneself as a human person, recognising and learning to master emotions in a positive way, learning the Golden Rule of treating others as one wishes to be treated, appreciating the differences and complementarities between the sexes, learning to be a good teammate and to respect authority, understanding the difference between loving and using people, wanting to work hard and persevere. Throughout the programme, pupils are taught to value their family members and teachers, and especially the unique bond they have with their parents (even if fathers or mothers are absent, the relationship is there).
Students come into the programme from many family types and it is a delicate balance to help them aspire towards marriage without being judgmental of the arrangements they may presently be in. Alive to the World uses the characters in the stories to portray the good of marriage while recognising the common tensions and upsets which regularly occur even in the best families. By showing the students how to negotiate these, and by explaining the physical and emotional feelings they will encounter as they grow up, the programme helps students to become confident individuals who give of themselves generously and mix well with others. This prepares them for satisfying friendships, a good work ethic and happy marriages.
Understanding the body and its care
Each of the Alive to the World books has a section on understanding some aspect of our physical make-up and taking care of the body. This includes hygiene, diet and oral health, as well as exploring physical co-ordination and the joys and demands of having a baby in the family. By Book 4, the children learn about DNA and their genetic inheritance, and in the succeeding years they come to understand the growth spurts and mood swings which accompany puberty. They learn to appreciate that responsibility accompanies increased independence and to understand their feelings for the other sex. They are also taught to avoid entrusting themselves to strangers while remaining polite and friendly towards those they meet, including people who may at first sight appear different. Book 8 has some particularly useful chapters on sexual attraction which some schools might want to introduce at an earlier age.
The programme does not cover the physical aspects of sexual intimacy or intrude upon the modesty of the pupils, believing that these important subjects should be addressed one-to-one in the home.
The programme brings alive the values and good things of the world
“The first reports we had of teenage pregnancies disappearing came from a huge Fe y Alegria school at La Rinconada, a very populous and vulnerable area in the south of Caracas. The head told me in a matter-of-fact way that they were used to having 8% pregnancies yearly, in each class level, but the introduction of AttW in 2013 brought notable results. In 2019, they only reported 2 or 3 pregnancies, and these, in the two later grade levels.Christine VollmerCreator of Alive to the World
Separately in 2019 we had a report from Miguel Ranera, the Head of a group of 14 schools in El Callao, Peru, which has been applying AttW for 5 years. The education authorities had paid him a visit asking ‘what he was giving the girls’? as the Peruvian average is 14% pregnancies per year among teenagers, and Ranera only had 0.5% average. He replied he was only giving them AttW. They said they would try it!”