Sunday, September 12, 2010

Teaching chastity

Today in church, my second counselor taught a lesson about chastity to a room of teenage girls. She did a really great job, especially considering how difficult it is to talk "the birds and the bees (and the consequences)" with teenage girls. All of the girls in our group are aged 12-17.

As I was listening to the lesson, I started feeling very anxious and worried about the girls in our class. Teenagers have to face such pressure any more about becoming sexually active before they should. Some of them have boyfriends, and some are just starting to date. I have others who are very young but are already talking about dating and boyfriends. Even our youngest girls face the pressures to date from such seemingly innocent sources as "Hannah Montana" and "iCarly." They also face the pressures from class mates wanting to know how far they've ever gone and are considered lame if they don't participate. If they don't have boyfriends they are considered undateable or too "goody-goody." Schools are no longer teaching abstinence, claiming that it is unrealistic. Even their teachers and counselors will provide them with birth control, but won't counsel them about the benefits of waiting until marriage.

I feel so worried for them! There are so many consequences from becoming sexually active before marriage. The weight of such an emotional commitment to someone can be overwhelming for a teenager. Teenage boyfriends usually don't last, and they risk giving up their most precious possession (virtue) to someone who will just toss it away for the next girl to come along.

I know this lesson probably sounded lame coming from a bunch of adult women, but we do worry about them and love them and want them to avoid the pitfalls of dating too early or being sexually active too early. Hopefully some of the message will stick with them. I do know for a surety that waiting is worth it. Nothing is more rewarding than kneeling across the alter with a righteous man and making covenants to him and to God to be faithful to each other.

When their parents tell them not to date until they're 16, and only group dates until they're 18, I hope they see it is for a reason! If they get to know a lot of different guys, and have fun dating lots of different people in safe situations (like group or double dates) without getting serious- then they will be saved from so many of the heart aches that sexually active and exclusively dating teens face. Teenagers fall in love HARD (I remember- I fell in love twice while I was a teenager). That breakup when you go away to college, or on a mission, or just because, is SO unbearably painful. This breakup can be 100x MORE painful if they have been having an intimate relationship.

I try to tell them not to date exclusively until they are emotionally capable of handling it- but sometimes they look at me like I have 3 heads. I guess all we can do is teach them as we know best and pray that they will make the right decisions that help lead them to a happy and Christ-centered marriage.

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