Parents let their kids know about how vaginas and penises work.

So you made (or know) a curious and smart human whose thirst for knowledge about the world and all it encompasses includes a thirst for knowledge about bodies? It's time for a sex talk.

Congratulate yourself! You have a totally great young person in your life who is curious and open to knowledge!


But now the gauntlet has been thrown. So wait, how DO you talk to kids about sex?

So with the birds and the bees...

Is there a right way?

Is there a wrong way?

Some couples make valiant, generous, and awesomely awkward (but in the way that is super sweet) attempts...

Basically, when you find yourself on the stage of life being asked to perform what may be the first of many sex talks with young and impressionable people in your life, the answer is not "you're doing it right" or "you're doing it wrong." The answer is this:

You're a good person, you are honest, you are kind, and you are inquisitive. And your instinct to be simple, honest, and humble with the kiddo in your life is *totally right.*

Yep! You're right! Sorry, shame, this is not where you are welcome. Sure, you might feel like you're making an awkward moment here and there (everyone does, this is life!), but frankly, you got this.

The simple truth is if this kiddo is old enough to wonder, this kiddo is old enough to know. And how great that they're learning new things from a safe, trusted adult like you.

STILL, much like kids want some details about the birds and the bees, you might enjoy some do's and try-not-to-do's about the birds and bees chat specifically.

WHY HAVE THIS CHAT?

An honest and candid and curious sex talk gives kids:

  • language to use their whole life that will keep them healthy
  • a way to prepare for sexual maturity without having to *experience* it
  • a big old hunk of trust-building moments with you

Show your kid or the kid in your life that you'll help them get answers. If you don't show them that you're the source of answers, your awesome and intuitive kid will find their own answers ... somewhere else.

Here are a few do's and try-not-to-do's to remember.

DO:

Teach words.

Words like vagina, scrotum, testes, anus, clitoris, intersex, sex, and diversity are ideal to introduce when kiddos are learning words like dog and cat. They're on the same difficulty level, and the result is we have a whole generation who knows the name for both farm animals AND body parts.

Use correct language yourself.

You're modeling for this kiddo, and you're teaching them about honesty and integrity AND bodies all at the same time.

You're being honest! It's all good.

Stay chill, stay real.

Often our instinct after hearing a sex question from a kiddo is to go "eeek!" first and "OK, so here's the deal" later. But with some practice and yoga breathing, you can skip the "eeek" and go straight to The Deal. And if you don't find the answer...

Be curious.

Figure it out together! Be curious time is also a great time to practice the "stay chill, stay real" principle. When kids are curious about "grown-up" stuff, just answer 'em!

For example*:

What's this?

"It's underwear that holds up special socks!"

What's this?

"It's a condom. It goes over the penis."

What's this?


"This is a tampon! Look what it does in the sink!"

*A big thank you to Dr. Doe for these examples.

TRY NOT TO DO:

(BUT IF YOU DO, IT IS OK!)

Use language that presumes heterosexuality is the norm.

"When a man and a woman love each other they have sex!"

Use language that assumes that gender identity is set in stone.

Easy on the penis=boy and vagina=girl stuff. It's not all black and white!

Use language that is very "BOYS THIS" and "GIRLS THAT."

This is a good time to adopt a "people are people" kind of vibe.

ALSO, try not to beat yourself up if you aren't perfect. It's all good.

So, enjoy the talk! And remember, this kid might just teach YOU something!

So true, little lady. So true.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."