Monday, January 7, 2013

If We Treated Other Education Like Abstinence Education

A debate sprung up on the Biblical Conservatism Facebook Page. Essentially, a couple liberals started repeating the meme that "you can't stop kids from having sex, so it's important we teach them how to do it safely."

I made the point that actually no, it's entirely possible to teach kids to wait to have sex until marriage. I know this for a fact because my church does a weekend retreat for parents and children every year called "Passport to Purity." One year it's teenage girls with their mothers, the next it's teenage boys and their fathers, and so on. We teach these teens the Biblical reasons to wait to have sex until marriage. We teach abstinence seriously, not as a joke. Here's a shocker: Kids actually follow through with it! The large majority!

So I got to thinking, what if we taught other things to kids with the level of seriousness schools teach abstinence?

"Using heroin is bad for you. It can lead to the spread of diseases like Hepatitis and HIV, lead to addictions, cause you to do things you wouldn't normally do, and even can lead to death by overdose. But we all know you crazy kids are going to do heroin. So, today we're going to talk about how to use heroin in moderation as well as the importance of using a clean needle each time you shoot up."

I bet some of you are laughing at the silliness of this story.  Yet this is the way abstinence is taught.

How about another example? Bullying. Schools are cracking down on bullying. What if bullying was treated this way:

"Bullying is bad. It's emotionally scarring and physically harmful to others. But since we know you crazy kids are going to bully each other, here are some padded boxing gloves. Please wear them when you beat up a kid for his lunch money."

One more example:

"You should never cross the street without looking both ways. But you're kids. We know you're not always going to look both ways. So make sure whenever you cross the street, be sure you're wearing a helmet as well as elbow and knee pads. Never cross the street without protection."

It turns out we can and do teach kids to abstain from activities ALL THE TIME. We teach them to "Say No to Drugs." Nobody argues the point. We teach children not to take candy from strangers. Nobody argues the point. We teach children to wear their seat belts. We teach children never to cross the street without looking both ways. None of these activities are hard to teach children. The big difference is we take it seriously when we teach children not to do drugs, not to bully, to wear their safety belt in cars, and to look both ways. Abstinence we treat as a joke. And that's the real problem.

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