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Posts Tagged ‘campus life’

teenagersI will never forget the mom and professional church worker who told me she hoped her sons and daughters would practice safe sex.   We were serving together on a life task force and, during lunch break, she confided, “I raised them to be chaste . . . I want them to wait for marriage.  But, once they started college, I encouraged them to use protection because, after all, they’re sexual, too, and I’m scared to death they’re going to be like everyone else.”

I remember the grandma who toured our local pregnancy center.  She thought the best thing parents could do for their daughters was to get them on The Pill so they wouldn’t need a pregnancy test.

Then there was the single father who raised his daughter to believe in Jesus, but made sure she had the Gardasil shot and was using birth control.  “I know what I was like at her age and I know she’s just going to sleep around so I have to look out for her.”

And there was the pastor who told me that he’s taken some girls from his congregation for abortions because “their parents wouldn’t be supportive of an unplanned pregnancy.”  These girls are “just going to do it,” he explained.  “They can’t help it . . . so I need to be there for them.”

Can’t help it?  What does this say about the way adults view children?

Children are sinful human beings born into a love-to-sin-world.  Do we say, “My child is a sinner.  It’s just who he is, so I’m going to help him lie, cheat, and steal with the least amount of damage.”  Is this how God sees children?  Is this how He helps them?

When we don’t see children the way God does, then our mentoring role in their lives is compromised.

Yes, children are sinful… just like their parents and grandparents.  But baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God sees us as His adopted sons and daughters in Christ.  Jesus won for God’s children the privilege of becoming heirs of the heavenly kingdom.  This not only bestows value but defines purpose.

Identity matters!  Our sons and daughters are not “sexual from birth” as Planned Parenthood sees them.  They are not captive to instincts and desires.  They are persons created more in the image of God than the image of wolves and rabbits.     To see children as God does is to realize they are more than flesh and blood but spirit and, because they are spirit, every choice they make will take them either closer to — or farther from — God.

It is the children who suffer when we fail to see them as God does.  Expectations for their purpose and behavior are lowered.  Their future appears grim.

Identity matters.  And, because it does, my grandchildren need me to remind them of what happened at the baptismal font.  Their baptism “is an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him” (1 Peter 3:21-22).  I can literally tell my grandchildren that their Lord and Savior rules!  This means that someday, when they are teenagers, they won’t have to be subject to raging hormones or made foolish by lack of judgment.  In remembering who they are, they will know the source of their wisdom and strength.  This will affect their choices and behavior.  But that’s not all.

When boys and girls see themselves the way God does, the way they view each other will improve.   Relationships will take on new meaning.  Think about it.  If boys see themselves in light of their baptism as sons of God and girls see themselves as daughters of God, then all baptized people become brothers and sisters in Christ.

Can you imagine?  I mean, really!   Can you imagine the impact this would have on high school and college campuses… at the beach… in the workplace… around the neighborhood… and for society as a whole?

I can.  And it renews my hope.

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Was Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, the author of my grandmother’s book, able to see into the future?  No, but when she wrote about taking care of the body, I believe she was thinking generationally.  Let’s fast forward to the words of another woman physician.

Miriam Grossman, M.D., also believes that the body deserves respect and care.  That’s because she sees — up close and personally — how complex the human body really is.

Dr. Grossman is a campus psychiatrist who meets with countless young women.  It is the fear, anger, and depression of these young women that motivated her to write the book Unprotected.  This short and politically-incorrect book is a must-read for young women in high school and college.  It is a must-read for young men who hope to someday marry a woman.  It is a must read for parents.

Consider the topic of sexually transmitted diseases, HPV in particular.  HPV (human papilloma virus) often catches young women by surprise.  There is emotional fallout.  Trauma.  What is a girl to do?  Damage control kicks in at student health centers.  Pamphlets explain that “HPV infection is very common . . . almost everyone gets HPV at some time . . . having only a single lifetime partner does not assure protection . . .  anyone who has ever had sexual relations has a high chance of being exposed to this virus . . . most men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.”

With these “calming” words, observes Dr. Grossman, young women with a serious and possibly life-threatening disease are led to believe that “everyone’s in the same boat,” so “chill out, and welcome to the club.”

But, writes Dr. Grossman, “these reassurances are inaccurate, and do no favor to women: in fact, infection with HPV is completely preventable.  It is not an inevitable consequence of becoming sexually active.  It is not something that will happen sooner or later.  Even if well-intentioned, to imply otherwise is misleading.

“This may not be popular to talk about, but there exists a population of young women and men who do not have to worry about HPV.  Or, for that matter, about herpes, chlamydia, or HIV.  They are safe because they wait, and marry someone else who waited.  Yes, it can be done; people have been known to survive and tell others about it.  Medicine should be studying them, and how they avoid risky behaviors, then applying that knowledge to our reproductive health education campaigns.  Instead, there is an odd approach in sexual health: instead of asking our youth to strive for self-control and smart choices, we assume they’ll make poor choices and have multiple partners including some they hardly know.  Why else would every pamphlet and Web site advise them, ‘First, talk with your partner.’  It’s as if whoever’s composing this material has given up on standards, and expects the behavior of the lowest common denominator.”

Dr. Grossman quotes a doctor who, on an HPV support site, is trying to provide words of comfort.   He put it this way:  “. . . Sex is simply one of the many ways in which humans interact with one another.  All those interactions involve sharing bacteria, viruses, etc.”

“What?” asks Dr. Grossman.  “One of the many ways in which humans interact with one another?  Is that the message we want to give to young people?”

Dr. Miriam Grossman, like Dr. Mary Wood-Allen before her, doesn’t want young women (or men) to be at risk.  She doesn’t settle for risk reduction but presses for risk elimination.  And, lest you missed it, neither of these women physicians of 1898 or 2011 seems to find benefit in tiptoeing around or worrying about “judging.”   If we talk to young people about healthier eating and not smoking, using drugs, or drinking and driving, then shouldn’t we also talk to them honestly about the consequences of sexual bonding outside of faithful and Biblical marriage?

Unprotected is a quick read.  Please toss political correctness to the wind and purchase a copy.

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