Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Teen sex not always bad for school performance

WARNING! THIS WILL BE A HIGHLY SARCASTIC POST!

Well, it seems that the American Psychological Association (APA) is having another Forrest Gump moment. You know, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” Except the APA’s box has been sitting outside in the 100 degree Atlanta heat and has melted into utter oblivion. Another way to say it, in Forrest Gump vernacular, “Stupid is as stupid does.” You may be asking, “What is he ranting about today!” Great question, glad you asked.

This morning, the Washington Post published a story entitled, Teen sex not always bad for school performance. To summarize, the APA states that their latest study shows that committed sexual relationships among high school teens does not adversely affect their GPA.  Additionally, those who are in uncommitted sexual relationships or just “hook up” have a slightly worse GPA than those who practice abstinence. Based on this evidence, there is a call to reform the sex ed programs to reflect this new found knowledge and to put the hearts and minds of our teens at ease by telling them it is okay to have marital relations with someone you are not married to while you are in high school.

Initial thoughts

Sooooo, if I want my teen to improve their GPAs I should encourage a committed sexual relationship? Or maybe, “Hey fill in the name of your son and/or daughter here, if you have relations with your date tonight, make sure you two are committed or your grades could go down!” Last but not least, “Mom and Dad, do not tell me that I cannot have relations with my date.  The APA says that if it is within a committed relationship, my GPA could be greater than those who abstain. PLEASE!! I am trying to get into college!”

Serious thoughts

While the APA and other media outlets are campaigning to change our mindsets and steal our teens’ virtue, the Church continues to spread the good news that in Christ there is freedom. The Church is not against the marital act…it encourages the free, faithful, fruitful and total mutual self-giving of persons within the context of a marriage.

It is not like this government-endorsed hedonism is new to the Church. Remember Rome? I find it funny that University of Southern California sociologist Julie Albright or Marie Harvey, professor of public health at Oregon State University think that teens are stupid. Lacking prudence, life experience and adequate control over their hormones…yes.  But they can think and they are observant.  You think they haven’t noticed the disastrous effects of the sexual revolution or that mom and dad switch out marriage partners more often that Paris Hilton changes clothes? I think they are observant and the following statistics are encouraging:

  • 54% of high school students are virgins.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2002). Youth risk behavior surveillance.
  • 58% on teens surveyed recently said sexual activity for high school-age teens is not acceptable, even if precautions are taken against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
    National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2000). The Cautious Generation? Teens Tell Us About Sex, Virginity, and “The Talk”. Washington, DC: Author.
  • 82% of teens desire to have one marriage partner for life.
    Barna Research, 1998
  • 87% of teens do not think it is embarrassing for teens to say that they are virgins.
    National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2000). The cautious generation? Teens tell us about sex, virginity and “the talk.” Washington, DC: Author.
  • 63% of teens who have had sexual intercourse said they wish they had waited.
    National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2000). Not Just Another Thing to Do: Teens Talk About Sex, Regret, and the Influence of Their Parents. Washington, DC: Author.

While these numbers are encouraging there is room for improvement. We need them to hear that the Gospel brings freedom in every area of our lives.  That modesty is not just about clothes but about speech and media too. For those of us who work with the youth, we need to show them first. Our living one way and teaching another compromises our witness…whether we believe it or not.

Some final snark

I thought I would end with a few reflections:

I wonder if our students test scores would improve if we spent more time teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic than how to put a prophylactic on a banana or a cucumber. I mean, I need an editor for my blog because writing and editing are not among my gifts (As Chris in a comment helped remind me – thanks Chris for the correction). Or maybe, that dating means I am ready for marriage and that committed till-death-do-us-part relations are vital to our national economic welfare (See the outstanding research presented by Dr. Patrick Fagan at the Family Research Council on this topic). Frankly, I am looking to marry off my kids one day and I need someone that they are worthy of or are worthy of them (BTW, just a note for the future, my best friend has a 9mm).

To my fellow parents, catechists and youth leaders.  How are you educating? Remember that every word, movie/television/music choice and or reference; every giggle or joke about the gift or sexuality, every fashion choice we make is being scrutinized by our children and students. FAITH IS MORE CAUGHT THAN TAUGHT. I am sure you are doing a great job since it is not only our soul but the souls of all who have been entrusted to us that are hanging in the balance. Of course, if we do not know how we are doing, we will at the general judgment when all our sins and meritorious choices will be revealed to all in the light of God’s grace.

To the those at the Washington Post who agree with this report and all the sociologists and sex ed teachers who are looking to warp our virtue: Go back to school, you learned nothing based on your comments. Oh, and demand a refund from your alma mater, you were cheated. Just sayn…

9 Responses to Teen sex not always bad for school performance

  1. The Friend says:

    Actually, several 9mm’s and a huge plot of land out of state to bury the body/bodies. And this friend has several other friends with fun toys like shotguns and assault rifles.

  2. Chris says:

    Marques: I think the Washington Post article misses what might be the biggest sadness in this entire discussion, if I remember the first story I read/heard about this study: The researcher seemed to indicate that the main reason for the ‘success’ of the committed couples was because this relationship was, essentially, a ‘replacement’ for missing parental support/affection (which, I think we know, is a critical problem in this country).

    (not that I don’t take teen sexual behavior seriously, but I think failures of even reasonable secular parenting are responsible for so many of the crises our kids are facing, in addition to the obvious faith crisis.)

    • Q says:

      You are completely correct Chris. I have been working on a blog related to that. It is going to follow my blog on how the digital age is related to Sacramental symbolism and the need for communion. The hierarchy is messed up. The parental relationship should provide the foundation for those relationships that follow…nothing that you do not already know. You’re correct though. I think I will add an addendum to the blog to bring up your point.

  3. Chris says:

    Oh, one other thing: You may wish to read the second sentence of the first full paragraph of the last section of your rant…. I think something is out of place there.

    PS: I too possess a 9mm (in addition to some other similar items), should the need be there.

    • Q says:

      Lawyer with a gun. That logically seems to fit especially with your two daughters. Shoot then sue. Or is it a choice of weapons? Hmmmm, not sure which would be more deadly.

  4. Chris says:

    choice of calibers :-) Most deadly might be their mother if you make her sufficiently angry.

  5. Mrs. Nod says:

    I have not read the Washington Post article (rarely follow secular media — saps my spirit too much). That said, I’d like to note on the “committed relationship.” Last I checked, we call it MARRIAGE. And the really good ones are SACRAMENTAL as opposed to natural (secular).

    My opinion, having been one, the teen girl is yearning for love, everlasting love, to validate herself. I had a good father (not perfect), but I still sought outside of me for validation. Even when I met my husband. He nailed me on it during our dating.

    — You are trying to shove me into the place in your heart reserved for God. It is a place only God can fill, not me. I cannot BE your ALL. Only God can do that.

    Wise man. Probably why I married him. Also why I would put myself through the “healing ringer” with God several times before I married him. To make sure God filled the hole, before I said “I will.” (Q was there for several of them.)

    Anyway, the point is trying to get the teen girl to realize God is the “everlasting love” she seeks. And, that until she sees herself as a Daughter of God, holy, beautiful and much beloved, she won’t be ready to give herself to a husband in marriage.

    • Q says:

      Great observations Mrs. Nod. My only addition to your comments is that I think we have lost our sense of mentoring. In ages past, when a young man and/or woman entered into puberty, it was not a signal to start dating but to learn those skills that best prepare them for marriage. Today, dating is what you do when you hit a certain age. Dating, properly understood, is that time that says I am ready to marry and you seem to be the one from which this relationship logically ends in a marriage proposal – not a test drive. The friendship phase never occurs. The closest someone comes to friendship is what they learn on a date….wrong place to figure those pieces out.

      In the end, especially among the Catholic young adult community (from my observation) in the area, their utter arrogance towards those who actually know better will continue to put them into unhappy situations in the long run. Relationships in society are spinning out of control. To make things worse, young adults are so desperate that they will date anyone and they seek advice from their peers. Throughout most of history I believe we called that stupid but now we call it Christian counsel.

  6. Mrs. Nod says:

    I am mentally trying to dissect your second paragraph.

    “. . . young adults are so desperate that they will date anyone . . .” I’ve seen this in some people and been worried about them. A person who cannot be alone, who must always have someone, I question who they are running from – themselves? God? It seems like they do not know how to define (validate) themselves outside of a relationship. And they are so desperate to have one, they will settle for abusive, bad relationships (unhealthy, co-dependent relationships). A healthy marriage is comprised of mutual interdependence on each other and reliance on God.

    I’m not clear on what you are getting at with the comments on seeking advice from their peers. Are you saying that Christian young adults (I assume we are talking 20-somethings), only seek advice from other single 20-somethings? And never ask advice from say a married 30-something or 40-something? Please clarify.

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