Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a group of 10 Milwaukee High School of the Arts students engaged in Module 5 (Attitudes About Abstinence) of Promoting Health Among Teens. One of the exercises is “Agree / Disagree,” during which the facilitator reads a statement and the students stand on one side of the room designated as Agree or the opposite side for Disagree. The statement was “My parents/guardians would be proud of me if I chose not to have sex during my teen years.”
The majority of students started to move toward the Agree side of the room. Looking very pensive, one student stopped and moved to the center of the room. She asked the facilitator to read the statement again at which point several other students seemed to struggle with the choice. “Can I neither agree nor disagree?” she asked. The facilitator responded, “Ordinarily, you need to choose one or the other, but let’s hear what you have to say.”
“My parent is proud of me for many things – my grades, my relationships, the way I conduct myself – not just my choices about sexuality. She would trust me to be responsible. So, I need to stand in the middle.”
Throughout this exercise, the teens were thoughtful, insightful, inquisitive, and supportive of one another. And, kudos to Autumn at Neu-Life Community Development for her skillful facilitation.