The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Feb 15, 2010

Cultural Challenge of the Week: Abstinence Education

Rebecca Hagelin:

School has been cancelled all week, and the teenagers have been having a ball. They've been tromping through the snow and in-and-out of several homes. Yesterday, there was a large group here for hot chocolate and a little rest from all the sledding. It was so much fun to sit with them around the fire and hear them talk about school, college applications and ....snow! Tomorrow, a "bunch" of them are coming over for lasagna and all the fixings. I'm so grateful to have a daughter who has chosen her friends well. And, I'm also grateful that somehow when our kids were little, my husband and I both had a vision to create a home where teens would want to "hang out."

Being around teenagers and seeing how much potential they have -- how their entire adult life awaits them with all of its joys, worries, and experiences -- really makes me want to do all I can to help them protect their integrity, their innocence, and that great potential.

Innocence? I can hear some folks questioning my selection of that word. In today's world, are any teenagers really innocent?

Well, when you look at all they don't know -- can't possibly know -- because they haven't lived on their own, raised families, had to look for jobs, etc., etc., yes, they are indeed innocent. And, given that this particular group of kids that was gathered in my home all believe that sex should be saved for marriage -- they are innocent in that regard, too.

Guess what: They didn't make it to their senior year believing they should save sex for marriage by accident. It came from some pretty deliberate teaching by their parents, reinforcement by caring youth leaders, and regular involvement in their faith communities.

But not every child has that supportive network of adults who love them enough to teach them the value of abstinence, and then go the extra mile to equip them to practice it. That's why it's important to teach abstinence in the public school systems.

Sadly, however, thanks to recent political decisions, it seems that the few schools who do teach a solid abstinence message are going to lose all funding. It's not surprising when you consider how hard some are working to replace all abstinence education with comprehensive sex education. I wrote about that subject last week, and then this week a new medical study was released that shows just how superior abstinence programs are to any other type of sex education. That's why the subject is my Culture Challenge of the Week:

Culture Challenge of the Week: Abstinence Education

This week the American Medical Association (AMA) published a report that shows abstinence education works. Tragically, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi had already pandered to dishonest groups like Planned Parenthood, who profit from teen sexual activity, and took the unbelievable action of terminating government funding of these successful abstinence programs.

When adults take the time to tell children what is right and what is wrong, and teach them how to avoid sex, the majority of them actually do. But, when a young person is constantly bombarded with sexual images, taught by those in authority that he can freely engage in sex if he wants to, and is presumed to be unable to control himself, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he will most likely become sexually active.

In the AMA’s Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a study of sixth and seventh graders reveals a stark contrast between kids who are taught the president's preferred sex education and those who receive abstinence education. When students are told that abstinence is best at the same time that the educator is telling them how to use a condom, nearly half of the teens end up having sex within two years. But when teachers give a consistent abstinence only message, equip children with practical methods to say “no,” and relay the full expectation that they can control themselves, only about a third of those children become sexually active in the next two years.

The facts are clear: true abstinence education works.

How to Protect Your Family from dangerous sex education

While many in the policy and education world are shocked at the revelation that abstinence education works, Robert Rector and Christine Kim of The Heritage Foundation have known this truth for years. In 2008, Heritage analyzed 21 different studies done on abstinence education programs. Researchers “found that in 16 of the 21 reports there were significant positive results in delaying early sexual activity and initiation.”

In addition to eliminating all chances of becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease, Rector also reports that the research reveals that teens who practice abstinence, “will be happier and less depressed than their permissive peers. Abstinent teens also do dramatically better in school. They are half as likely to drop out as their sexually active peers. And teens who abstain until at least age 18 are twice as likely to attend and graduate from college as those who become sexually active while in high school.”

When I think about the millions of teens who will be left emotionally scarred by sexual encounters they are not mature enough to handle, or the millions of little girls who will become pregnant because adults shamefully encourage them to be sexually active, or the youngsters who will contract and carry a serious STD for life, it makes me angry that we have a president who is more concerned with satisfying the special interest groups than he is advocating for the safety of our children.

In most states, parents have the right to opt their children out of the sex education classes. But, you have to take the action to make that happen. Contact your school counselor and find out what the options are, and then sit down with your children and explain why you are choosing a better way. Make certain that the teachers do not belittle or punish them for not taking the classes. Find other parents in your child’s classroom who dare to take a stand, and support each other.

Secondly, be proactive in teaching abstinence to your children. Check out sites like,, , and for great abstinence education resources. Do your homework, take action and be committed enough to your children to teach them the truth. Since the president abandoned what works, and is even funding programs that make your job harder and your children more vulnerable, your sons and daughters are more reliant than ever on you to show them the way.

Thank you so very much for your continued support of my efforts to help parents strengthen their relationships with their children, grow their faith in God, and equip them to tower above the pop culture. You are helping every time you forward this e-mail to other parents, youth leaders and educators. Each week, I write this e-newsletter both as the mother of three (two boys in college and a senior in high school) and as a media/culture analyst. I know that many parents feel helpless in their efforts to raise children with character, and I know that all of us need ongoing encouragement and help in doing so. This free newsletter is my way of providing a little consistent support to others. Please feel free to e-mail it to others and to let them know they can subscribe at

If you are one of the folks who recently ordered my book, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, but haven't yet received it, please accept my apologies! The snow has delayed my fulfillment abilities a bit. They should be on the way to you shortly. Thank you so much for your patience.

I also thank those of you who have e-mailed me with questions, suggestions, or just kind words of support. Although I can't respond to every e-mail, I do read each and every one of them and say a prayer for the person writing. Sometimes I even work suggestions and tips into these e-newsletters! So, thanks again.

Until next week, I hope you all stay warm and cozy. And, I pray that you will make the effort to spend one-on-one time with each of your children. If you haven't ever had "the talk" with them about abstinence, this just might be the perfect time for you to do so. It might (ok, it will) be a bit awkward for you and for your child, but deep inside they are hoping you will give them direction; that you care enough about them to share truth.

Please take the time to look through the websites I mention above so that you can get the support you need to equip your children to rise above the noise.



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