Yesterday, I spoke at a high school in Indiana about self value and healthy relationships where I had the opportunity to share my own personal story along with some facts that I put together in a presentation to some wonderful teens. (you can view my presentation and personal testimony *here*)

I spoke to my first audience of teenage students in March of this year and previous to that had always felt a need to step out and really reach out to our youth. I feel I have a unique perspective on the subject because of my own personal experiences and really wanted to provide these young people with the truth about love and relationships. I have always felt like we as a society were failing them by not educating them about not only the risks of casual sex but the positive rewards of practicing chastity.

It has always bothered me that the approach of abstinence based programs were more to scare the kids out of having sex instead of showing them how awesome sex can be if they wait! Rather than focusing on the benefits of chastity, the focal point seemed to be on the dangers of promiscuity and careless sex. Yes, we need to address both the negative consequences but we need to discuss the positive outcomes. I think there would be more success stories if we try to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

I mean, if we're just telling them the bad things that could happen because of their poor choices they will just think "sex is bad" and sex is meant to be good when it is experienced within the exclusive bond of marriage. But if we don't tell them WHY it is BETTER within marriage then they are just going to assume that sex is sex so why wait when I can have it now?

I have had some positive responses from a few of these teens who have contacted me after my talks and I really feel like that is because 1. I was real with them. I told them the truth and made myself approachable...I didn't stand up there and talk at them, I allowed them to see that I am simply a normal person with a normal life and that it doesn't take a special person to make good choices, it just takes strength and courage...something that they all have and can use if they choose. And 2. I didn't focus on the negative aspects of careless sex, but instead the positive REWARDS of waiting. I really believe that this is key to reaching them so that they have a true understanding that they are in control and they have the ability to make great choices when it comes to relationships.

These young people are being sent all the wrong messages on t.v. through music and by many of the adults in their lives. We have made the excuse that "they are teenagers, teenagers have sex" but instead of buying into that, we need to take a stand and say "they are valuable individuals who deserve the BEST!" That's my heart's desire. I hope that I will have more opportunities to connect with our youth in the future and that others will join me in sharing the truth to these young people who just need a little honesty and direction.
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