Yesterday my 8th grader had the opportunity to go to an assembly at her school.
The speaker was Brad Henning. He speaks to junior high and high schoolers about the reasons they should wait to have sex until they are married.
Then in the evening, he speaks to the parents so that they can 1. know what their children heard. and 2. reinforce it by having heard it themselves.
Now, as a member of the Mormon faith, we have taught our older children, and will continue to teach our other children, that sex is a beautiful wonderful thing, but that it should be saved until marriage. (does that mean everyone who is Mormon was a virgin when they got married? Of course not!) So I was amazed, curious, and happy that our school district has someone talk to the kids about this.
He talked for two hours, and I could have listened to him for 2 more. But I will try to sum up the things that stuck out to me the most.
The first thing he talked about is what love is. It's not a feeling or an emotion. It is a choice. Love is when you choose the highest good for the other person.
And then he gives many reasons, compelling reasons to wait. Here are his top 9
1. So you can know the whole person. When he challenged kids who were sexually active to stop having sex and see what happens to their relationships, many were surprised to find that they had nothing in common with their boyfriend/girlfriend other than sex.
2.So you can build and test your trust.
3. So there is no guilt or fear later.
4. So best sex is not destroyed.(Best sex is between you and your spouse)
5. So you're not faced with abortions or pregnancies.
6. So you'll never have an STD. (every 2 seconds someone in the United States contracts an STD.)
7. So you'll never be compared to past partners.
8. So you won't have to fight a bad reputation.
9. So you won't be stealing from someone else's marriage. This one particularly struck me and the kids at Brad's assemblies. He explained it like this; how do you feel about other men/women having sex with your future spouse? He said that even those that were currently sexually active DID NOT want anyone having sex with their future spouse, now or ever.
He told one particularly poignant story. The most beautiful girl in school doesn't know she's beautiful. All the good guys are too intimidated to ask her out. So she starts coming to school dressed more and more revealing hoping they will notice her. Do the good guys still look and think she's beautiful? Yes. But now they won't ask her out for more reasons than just the fact that she's intimidating. But the "player" in school now notices her. And he thinks to himself, if she is willing to show that much skin in public, what will she show me in private? So he asks her out. She knows his reputation, but she is so tired of not being asked out that she says yes anyway. And after 3 dates, he gets what he was after and breaks up with her. Why does he break up with her? Because he's always known she was too good for him. And so rather than wait for her to figure that out and break up with him, he breaks up with her first so that no one will say that he got dumped by the most beautiful girl in school. So now she has a reputation and now the good guys for sure won't ask her out. Who wins? No one. Not the beautiful girl, not the good guys.
He also talked to parents about how we let our girls dress. He said most girls are oblivious to what it says about them. But he said that if all guys are looking at is her chest? Then she is dressing wrong. And that goes for us moms too. Obviously you can't always help if someone looks at your bosoms. But if it's constant because you wear too tight or revealing clothes, then the message you are sending is that your worth is based on what others think of you.
Then he showed us a picture of Halle Berry. Arguably one of the most beautiful women of all time. But how is her love life? Horrible. She is deaf in one ear from where a previous boyfriend beat her. One marriage ended because her husband had a sexual addiction to OTHER WOMEN. Was their behavior her fault? No. But she continues to attract people who are not good enough for her. Why? Because she uses her beauty and sex appeal to attract, rather than making those men be good enough for her BEFORE she shares herself with them. Why does she do this? Because her own worth has been tied up in her beauty and how others perceive that beauty.
He also said that teaching abstinence only is stupid unless you first teach 1. what love really is and 2. the differences between men and women. If you don't understand those first two things, then the third won't make sense.
And he said it was never too late for anyone to change their behavior. He read a letter from an 18 year old boy who listened to one of his assemblies and decided to change. He went home and wrote a letter to his future wife that night, apologizing for his past behavior, but promising her he was saving himself for her from that moment. And he did. For 10 years. And so even though he was no longer a virgin, she knew that he had still been saving himself for her since he was 18. And she cherished that letter and what it meant. I loved that part. Because none of us is perfect. But it's never too late.
I just wish you could have all been there. It was phenomenal.
And I could go on and on. But I won't. Check out his website or buy his book Don't Take Love Lying Down. It was really quite incredible and delivered in a way that is logical and really quite smart. He didn't bring any politics or religion into that setting. It was quite applicable to everyone, regardless of social or religious beliefs.
We've worked really hard to have open dialogue with our kids. So far Kate and Julia can ask me anything and I answer them honestly. And boy, have they! I have never shunned the topic of sex. I want them to feel comfortable coming to me. So if you imagine me spouting long lectures on the sins of sex, that's not how we do things. I have told my girls that sex is wonderful and amazing. I have told them that it's what God intended for us and that the feelings that they have and will have towards a boy is normal and natural. They just need to wait until it is right=married. It is a gift that they are saving for the most special person in their lives, their future husband.
I just felt compelled to share this today. And to honestly give props to the Tahoma School District. It makes me glad to live here.