(Locator: Monroeville, Pennsylvania)
Music: “XX means female and XY means male…”
He can sing like the birds, but when it comes to the bees, James Ritchie
delivers with more zing than sting.
Nat in class: “Babies do not grow in stomachs.”
He’s been called the “Dr. Ruth” of his United Methodist church.
Nat in class: “My word, you have a lot of
questions. You want to see all the questions so far?”
Ritchie gathers fifth and sixth graders for the three-day sex education
study he calls “Created by God.”
James Ritchie/“Created by God”: “They ask everything conceivable,
some things that aren’t conceivable, but you do your best to keep a
straight face and say, ‘what a great question that is.’”
Nat in class: “Why does it hurt when we get
kicked in the groin?”
The class doesn’t shy away from sexual vocabulary. Dr. J will use slang
words – along with the anatomical terms. The kids recite the correct
language as they learn definitions.
Nat in class: “Repeat after me, ‘Ewwwww!’ Now I
want you to hold that thought for several years.”
Parents participate on the last day of class. They, too, practice saying
Nat in class: “Everybody, ‘endometrium.’”
And, they hear the frank questions their kids have been asking.
Nat in class: “Is it normal to want to have
Along with the straightforward answers.
Nat in class: “If the boyfriend is insisting on
sex, he may be a boy but he’s not a friend.”
And then Dr. J has parents and kids get together and talk about puberty,
sexuality and growing up.
James Ritchie/“Created by God”: “Parents tell me it opened up
lines of communication. That’s worth the price of admission right
Ritchie travels the country teaching kids about sex from a faith
perspective. He keeps a collection of the kids’ questions, which now
number in the thousands. For more information, call 412-372-1354 or log