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Research demonstrates that teaching abstinence works! In survey after survey, students say that abstinence is what they want to learn. Self-control, self-respect, delayed gratification, planning for the future, and building healthy friendships are values that are essential for every aspect of successful living—not just in delay of sexual activity.
“My daughter had one choice. Either she was going down the aisle a virgin, or she was going down the aisle in a coffin,” says the author in pure hyperbole. Her point is this: Kids need clear sexual boundaries. The media, the classroom, and other voices send conflicting messages to our teenagers. Society teaches youth how to say no to drugs and alcohol, but not to sex. Parents, pastors, teachers, and youth workers must speak the same message: Sexual activity outside of marriage is unacceptable!
Author La Verne Tolbert brings a down-to-earth approach to teaching children and teens the importance of sexual purity. Using stories from everyday life, research examples, and Bible-based principles, she helps adults understand the why of the abstinence message and how to communicate that message effectively at home, how to monitor the message at school, and how to reinforce the message in our churches and in our communities.
Keeping Your Kids Sexually Pure gives those who care about kids the power to lay a firm foundation of sexual purity. With the sometimes fatal consequences of non-marital sex gripping our world today, here is a message whose time has come.
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La Verne Tolbert (PhD, Biola University) is the founder of Teaching Like Jesus Ministries, which equips pastors, teachers, and volunteers in Christian education and children's ministries. She lives in Highland Park, California.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Lift up a standard for the people.
Isaiah 62:10 KJV
My daughter had two choices: Either she was going down the aisle a virgin or she was going down the aisle in a coffin. This, of course, is hyperbole. Restated, it means that in our home the boundary lines for sexual purity were clear: Nothing less than virginity was acceptable.
I looked into the eyes of this child whom God had given me to raise, my twin sister’s daughter. When she was born, I suggested naming her La Nej, which loosely means “snow” and for me was symbolic of a fresh, new beginning.
Eleven years later La Nej was in a foster home on Long Island, New York. Through prayers, letters, and urgent calls to the Department of Social Services, I was able to assume custody and flew three thousand miles to get my niece. I would later marry, adopt her, and raise her as my own daughter.
When I drove to the facility in upstate New York, the Holy Spirit was my navigator. I had no idea where I was heading, but I was determined to get there. The paperwork that would grant me custody was not yet final, but La Nej was permitted to come to Los Angeles on an “extended vacation.”
The child was distraught when I arrived at the foster care facility. I later learned that her foster mother had taunted her, saying I wouldn’t come for her after all. The quiet panic in her eyes turned to relief when she, standing outdoors despite the wintry weather, finally saw me walking toward her. “Kiss, kiss! Hug tight! Never let go!” she said as she wrapped her little arms tightly around my neck.
It was a phrase I would hear often, one that would become a precious signature of the commitment we had made to each other. We gathered La Nej’s things, most of which I soon discarded. Her thick hair was braided in ugly little pigtails, and the striped woolen cap scrunched on her head looked third-hand. Since this was the day before her twelfth birthday, we had a wonderful excuse for a little pampering. I drove right to my favorite beauty salon in Manhattan and marveled at how different La Nej looked after a simple shampoo and set. Then we shopped till we dropped.
The world of beauty had been my career for more than ten years. A former magazine beauty and health editor, I had written two beauty books and in the process had relocated to Los Angeles, where I continued to write, travel, and consult. How would I juggle these responsibilities now that I was a single parent? I decided to think about it one day at a time, a lesson I had come to learn in my daily walk with God.
On the plane back to Los Angeles, the relief of finally getting La Nej out of the system gave way to the reality of my new responsibility. I realized that I had no idea how to raise a child. I thought about my own childhood and the emotional scars that had remained hid-den for years, scars that resulted from being displaced from my parents at times, living with grandparents off and on, and occasionally in foster homes too. Perhaps I saw myself in La Nej. All I know is that I wanted her to make different choices than the ones I had made— poor decisions that resulted from raggedy self-esteem.
We sat down for our first serious talk immediately after breakfast while we were still in our bathrobes. Her eyes tried unsuccessfully to hide her surprise as I pulled out larger than life charts of the male and female reproductive organs, visuals I had used in public school classrooms during my volunteer years as a board member with Planned Parenthood.
“These are the ovaries. The egg comes from here once a month,” I said as I made a fist and placed it below my stomach. The lecture continued as I charted the course of what happens when the sperm meets the egg. “The best way to keep the sperm from meeting the egg is to say no,” I concluded.
Although I’m uncertain of how much she actually understood at that time, of this I am certain: La Nej knew that keeping herself sexually pure was of the utmost value. Later she would hear her options for going down the aisle repeated again and again and again and again. . . . I had lectured with the best intentions. When I put the charts away, however, I vowed never to use them again with my or anyone else’s daughter. There had to be a better way.
Research demonstrates that when parents expect their children to be abstinent, they are more likely to abstain from sex. Studies also show that when boundary lines become fuzzy or mixed messages are conveyed, like handing out condoms while telling teens to just say no, kids are confused about what’s right and wrong.
All across America Christian parents are setting standards and raising the bar high. Like the mother on the antismoking billboard who says to an acquaintance who is puffing away on a cigarette, “Not in my house!” mothers and fathers everywhere are taking a stand. Children are expected to obey biblical guidelines that affirm sexual intercourse for marriage only. Period.
Messages from the media coupled with courses in the classroom present our children with a smorgasbord of options, including non-marital sex, same-sex sex, group sex, Internet sex, and combinations thereof. Society urges us to teach our children to say no to drugs and alcohol but draws the line there. When it comes to their most precious possession—their bodies—our children are learning that they have the right to have sexual intercourse. And parents have the right to say, “Not in my house!”
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