Whatever the answer, there’s something in the air that makes this a hot topic. In the March 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (www.oprah.com), there is a story called “The Innocence Project,” which was written by Amanda Robb. It started off like this: “A lot of fathers hope their daughters will be virgins until they walk them down the aisle. But some are going a step further – taking pledges to support the girls’ commitment to chastity. And formalizing those pledges at what are called purity balls.”
Before I even finished reading the story, I thought, “What a wonderful idea!” As a, what I like to call, born-again virgin before I married (celibate for five years before), I have talked quite a bit to my 15-year-old daughter about maintaining her purity until she’s married. I even passed on my covenant ring (review some of my earlier posts that talk about covenant rings and making the commitment) to her after I got married. So, the idea of a purity ball seemed like a wonderful reinforcement to what I am already teaching her.
But, as I continued to read the story, it seemed like Robb revealed some statistics and facts that indicated there may not be that big of a difference between teenagers who take the pledge and teenagers who don’t. Although between 1990 and 2002 the United States teen pregnancy rate declined by more than 30 percent, which supporters of abstinence-only initiatives believe their programs are largely responsible for, according to Robb, social scientists don’t believe that the programs are behind the declines. It was further revealed that 88 percent of teenagers who make the pledge end up breaking it.
Robb, and O magazine, presented a well-researched article that offered a variety of viewpoints on the subject. Everyone from adults who made the pledge as teenagers and still ended up having sex and adults who made the pledge and remained virgins until marriage to experts in the field of sexuality, abstinence and statistics. The comments got me to thinking: Should parents get involved in encouraging their children to make a pledge of abstinence/celibacy before marriage?
Absolutely! The obviously unsuccessful storied and discouraging statistics didn’t change my viewpoint. In fact, they gave me a little insight. Although it’s necessary to support our children in the correct decisions for their lives, it is also necessary to give them complete information. Parents are remiss if they don’t tell their children the dangers of having unprotected sex and give them complete information on protecting themselves. Wait. Wait. Don’t get mad at me. There’s fine line between supporting premarital sex and providing necessary information. A lot of Christians, and parents in general for that matter, believe that if you give complete information then you open the door for sexual activity.
The fact remains that some teenagers aren’t going to abide by their abstinence pledge. Most often because they’re taking the pledge at such a young age, don’t really understand it completely and are doing it to simply please their parents. Which means a lot of times parents, although they have good intentions, are missing some key ingredients in providing their children with abstinence information and support.
Also, pick up a copy of O magazine and check out “The Innocence Project” article. It was excellent reading.
Whatever decision is made on how to promote abstinence among the single, teenage people in your household; it is still the right decision to make. As we encourage our children to be celibate until marriage, we encourage a future generation of adults to do what God has called for them to do, which is not to commit adultery (any sex outside of the bonds of holy matrimony).
To assist you in your commitment to remain celibate until marriage or to help you talk to your teen/children about celibacy and abstinence, I’ve listed some organizations that may help:
Organizations that support “abstinence” until marriage:
True Love Waits -- http://www.lifeway.com/tlw/
Silver Ring Thing -- http://www.silverringthing.com/
National Abstinence Clearinghouse -- http://www.abstinence.net/
Heritage Foundation -- http://www.heritage.org/
Articles, links and information -- http://www.insideout.org/documentaries/withthisring/links.asp