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Legendary Local: This Man's "Embarrassing" Job Takes a Load off Parents
by: Debbie L. Sklar
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Mike Foell has been teaching Sex Ed. since the late 70's.
Mike Foell has been teaching Sex Ed. since the late 70's.

Sex Education is alive and well in Rancho Santa Margarita thanks to Mike Foell.

Foell, 54, is the Pastor of Congregational Care at Mission Hills Community Church and an eighth-grade Bible teacher at Mission Hills Christian School, where he teaches students about the facts of life, but with a twist.

Typically, the dads have been in attendance with their sons like last month when he held the“Sixth Grade Father/Son Quest,” as well as a workshop for fifth graders to help young men better learn about their coming of age.

“The events usually go over very well,” Foell says. “I talk for some of the time and then there is interaction between the sons and the dads.”

In April, there will be a talk for seventh-graders followed by an event for eighth-graders in May.

Pastor Foell has been teaching Sex Ed. since he was a youth pastor in the late 1970s. It’s something he has continued to do as a senior pastor and pastoral counselor.

So what exactly does he teach them and is it embarrassing?

“Depends on the student(s),” he laughs. “Usually, the conversation is different if it is a large group of students because they are at different levels of knowledge and they tend to become more embarrassed when there are others around them. One-on-one is typical easier, but it varies from student to student, audience to audience,” says Foell, who once dreamed of a career as a professional baseball player.

The Stats Sex Ed. in general continues to be a hot topic in schools. According to the Guttmacher Institute (www.guttmacherinstitute.org) in a report in 2006:
 

  • Currently, 35 States mandate either Sex Education or education about HIV/AIDS and other STIs, but their laws tend to be very general. Policies specifying the content of sex education are typically set at the local level.
     
  • More than two out of three public school districts have a policy to teach Sex Education. The remaining one-third of districts leave policy decisions up to individual schools or teachers.
     
  • Eighty-six percent of the public school districts that have a policy to teach Sex Education require that abstinence be promoted. Some 35 percent require abstinence to be taught as the only option for unmarried people and either prohibit the discussion of contraception altogether or limit discussion to its ineffectiveness. The other 51 percent have a policy to teach abstinence as the preferred option for teens and permit discussion of contraception as an effective means of preventing pregnancy and STIs.

Foell says he got the calling in his early 20s when he was teaching at a Christian elementary school leading a home Bible Study for some of the parents of his students.
 
“One in particular encouraged me to consider the pastorate because of his belief that I had a gift to teach God’s word, loved people, and desired to develop lasting relationships with them,” he says.

Foell adds that the biggest misperception about the classes he teaches is that kids “know it all”  and that they don’t want to hear it from their parents.

“I feel like I have helped people develop or strengthen a biblical worldview with respect to human sexuality and I have exhorted them to remain faithful to the values the Scriptures present as living lives of sexual integrity,” he says.

When he isn’t conducting the classes, he does do some pro bono counseling if he has time.

“I also do seminars for area local churches in the area of sexual addiction and pornography. I especially enjoy teaching parent groups how to effectively communicate on matters of sexuality and helping their kids stay free from pornography,” he says.

But does it ever get tedious?

“Not really,” he says. “I see it as a part of my calling as a teacher and pastor and I believe it is an important subject in the day that we live."


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