I love my job. Have I mentioned that before?? This time I’m talking about the sex education job, getting to teach the truth about sex and share my testimony over and over. This week I am in an all-girls 8th grade class where we kind of introduce the notion that they are more than just a physical being – that sex is a really big deal, inside and outside of marriage.
In this particular job, we have outlines to follow that are in line with district standards across the board. We use activities to get the point across and I especially love the conversations that ensue from them. These sweet 8th graders’ questions are REAL and pure and intense at times. And other times they are just funny. Kids are HILARIOUS.
Today, as we were talking about consequences of sex and how one might be bigger than another, I asked a question that I ask all of my classes because I think this message is important; “What is the one thing in life that is not ‘fixable’?”
One little girl raised her hands and shouted “Herpes!”
It was… Awesome. We laughed together as a class because I just told them what a virus was and that it’s not curable. But in the same moment, she confirmed for me why I do this. Why I feel so deeply for these kids. I am definitely an advocate for abstinence (Because of my story not in spite of it). I am pro-life. I am pretty old fashioned and conservative but I also know the day we live in. I know what these kids are facing and I. Get. Them.
In a world where the media rules, majority opinion rules over fact and truth, and what used to be considered inappropriate is now not only appropriate but trendy, these sweet kids are… For lack of a better word… Confused. They have no idea what is right or wrong. Only the opinions of their parents and other influences can determine that, and if the parents are under the influence of the media…well…
These parents are effectively raising this generation to be narcissistic, trend following zombies void of Truth. Respect. Honor. Self control. Not all of them. But a lot.
What’s happening is by the time I am getting to these kids they have likely already had some experience in the area or have the people around them unintentionally giving them the message that they should. I have seen so much tragedy the last year of teaching than in all my own years of middle and high school and raising my own kids.
So back to the question. What is it? What is the one thing that cannot be fixed in life?
Think about it. Death can never fix life. If these kids get too many messages that they are not good enough or that there is no way out of their situation, they are at a much higher risk for suicide.
Did that just get a little too heavy for you? Read on.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-25 years old with Colorado being one of the states with the HIGHEST rate*
So what should we be doing?
1. We need to be telling our kids the truth
Parents. Its our job to train up our child. Its important that we teach them right from wrong in the beginning so they will always have a voice in their head. Kids do dumb things. Its part of their development but we play a vital role in communicating the values and morals that our kids carry for the rest of their lives. Speak truth to them and be consistent.
2. Speaking of truth, what IS the truth?
I have said this time and time again to my inquiries… In order to TEACH you have to KNOW the subject. And by KNOW I mean KNOW… You know? You must believe with all of your heart that what you’re teaching your child is the truth of all truths. Facts. What do you believe about the world, God, promiscuity, drugs, broccoli, respect, gender, bullies…? Such a long list and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg! Parents, I want to challenge you to call a meeting with the spouse and other adult influences in your kids’ lives to determine your world view and how you are passing that legacy down. Because you need to know where you stand on these issues BEFORE they arise.
3. Speaking of influence…
Who is your child’s greatest influence, other than you? If you said friends you’d be half correct. Their friends… And the media… Is IN their heads. When I say media I am talking about movies, news, magazines, music, and especially social (FB, Twitter, YouTube, IG, etc). The eyes are the windows to the soul and if what they are being exposed to tells them they have to be in the “IN” crowd to survive… And these things most definitely ARE… then we’re not doing our job well. Now, I like a good Mean Girls party as much as the next #90skidd but my daughter was to a certain maturity that I deemed appropriate before she watched it. And when she did it was with me. And we talked about it. All the way through the movie..lots of talking. Lots of questions and answers. Just her and me.
I’m not saying to never expose your kids to the world (because I personally believe if we do that they cannot effectively be a light in the darkness) but I am saying they need guidance and YOUR influence.
4. And the most important thing of all…
Drive it home that EVERYTHING IS FIXABLE. Everything.
I tell not only my own kids but especially my students, every single presentation, with tears in my eyes because I just can’t hold it back… Everything is fixable. The only thing not fixable is death. If you get an F on a paper, can we fix that? Yes! What if we can’t? Then we move on. This too shall pass. What about something more serious like the herpes we mentioned earlier?? Herpes is not curable but it can be managed. I tell them that we can figure anything out.
These kids are so afraid of the what ifs and are literally STUCK in the moment (it has everything to do with how the teenaged brain is developed) that they simply can’t see what’s next. That’s why adults tend to think teens are “so dramatic”. Kids just can’t. Teens just can’t. Its our job to speak life and truth over them and to make sure they have a safe and consistent place to come home to. I’m pretty sure if more kids heard THAT mesage we’d have a much lower suicide statistic to deal with, especially here in Colorado.
We get ONE CHANCE, ladies and gentlemen, to raise a good, noble, productive member of society. You’ve heard the saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”? Well this is how. Take your job seriously and raise this generation so that they can effectively make a good next generation themselves.
Make good choices,