Saturday, January 15, 2005

Family Values, Texas Style

My children are the greatest gifts that God has given me, or could have given me. Everyday, I feel more blessed to be their mom.

My children are my teachers, and I have to admit that some of who they are, and how they are, has come in spite of me. They have forced me to give up some of my hairbrained notions about what it means to be a parent, and what works in bringing out the best in them. They've taught me that being authoritarian and using fear tactics, does not work. And, that being truthful is something they need, because it shows them that I have faith in them to do the right thing, once they know what that is. They know, and I know, that they may stumble and fall sometimes. But we also know that if they are loved consistently, told the truth about life in ways they can understand, and are given clear boundaries, they will always get back up.

These are our family values.

I don't know where the family values are in some of the sex education programs the religious right promotes. For instance, when looking at one Texas town, even New Zealanders are scratching their heads:
Lubbock, West Texas, is deep in the heart of the Bible Belt. It boasts more churches per capita than anywhere else in the US. It also has the most fast food restaurants and the second largest one-storey shopping mall in America. As in the rest of Texas, Lubbock's teenagers are expected not to have sex until they're married. In schools, the policy is only to teach abstinence from sexual activity. Nobody talks to teenagers about sex.

In this town, teaching kids through fear and shame, are apparently considered family values:
Eva's pastor Ed Ainsworth is the leading light of Lubbock's abstinence campaign. For ten years Lubbock schools have relied on him to teach abstinence. If you've had sex, Ed says you're like a used toothbrush. He tells the kids that condoms don't work. While churches use the Bible, the schools use fear to keep the teenagers away from sex.

To steal a line from Dr. Phil, how's that working for you?
Despite the push for abstinence, Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the whole of America. The abstinence movement studiously ignores the reality of most teenagers' lives. But in Texas, no matter what the consequences, it looks as though virginity pledges are here to stay.

Full story here: Texas Teenage Virgins


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