Category Archives: Parenting

Comments on Comments on Miley

August 28, 2013

Watch the video?  Or not watch?

Miley CyrusBased on all of the comments, I feel like I could pretty much choreograph Miley’s VMA dance…even not having seen the dance.  Everybody seems to have something to say about Miley Cyrus.  Lots of bad comments.  Some good comments…or perhaps…comments only attempting to point to a redeeming good.

But, from this Monday morning quarterback, with all of our eyes glued to Miley, we are failing to see the bigger picture.  Where are the more important comments directed to Miley’s audience?

I decided not to watch.  Miley.  Reading all of the comments on Miley “grabbing her crotch,” multiple times…this is visual enough for me.

I didn’t watch, even though I know that I am now committing a modern American sin.  I am commenting on something I did not see firsthand.

In America, we have hundreds of reasons for watching anything and everything.  We’re bored.  Curious.  We have to be able to talk with our coworkers about it tomorrow.  And if none of that pulls us in, we must watch on YouTube, the day after, just to prove that we have the right to have an opinion about a 20-year-old’s lascivious tongue-wagging, crotch-grabbing on-stage embarrassment.  The modern sin is not watching.

I have not watched many things that were much-watched in America.  The first time I felt somewhat apologetic about not watching was a few months after May 25, 1977.  Everyone was talking about Star Wars.  My blank stare outed me every time.  “You mean you haven’t seen Star WarStarWars Logos?”

At its release, I had been busy.  Work, rehabbing a house, camping under the stars and road trips to Tennessee occupied all of my time.  Doing seemed so much more fun than sitting…sitting and watching someone else do all the doing.  Star Wars just didn’t make it to my radar.  I was not making a political statement…a cultural statement…a statement of any kind.  I just figured I would get around to watching it when I had time.

In 1977, movies came…and movies went.  There was no VCR, DVD or Net Flix.  Eventually, Star Wars left the scene…without me…and people stopped talking about it.  At that point, it just didn’t seem worth thinking about Star Wars any longer.  And I didn’t.

Things were fairly quiet on the movie front…for three years…until the 2000 release of…you guessed it…Son of Star Wars. StarWars Light Show Now, I ask you, if I had not seen the first Star Wars, how could I possibly see Son of Star Wars?  That would be a sequential disaster, trying to understand the “son” without knowing his “father.”

I had survived my first period of Not Watching.  So the stages of reaction to my Not Watching were familiar as they repeated:

  • You mean you haven’t seen Son of Star Wars?
  • You mean you have to wait for the first Star Wars to be re-released?
  • You’re kidding, aren’t you?
  • Head-scratching.
  • Eventually…next year…a movie is released that I do see, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Nobody is talking about Son of Star Wars.
  • Nobody remembers that I did not see Son of Star Wars.
  • Nobody cares…if they ever did.

The greatest lesson about Miley at the VMA is not about Miley, or her choreographer, her dance partners, her parents, her agents, the VMA show producers…or anyone else having to do with Miley.  The greatest lesson is about our own compulsion to watch.

We watch anything, anywhere, for any reason whatsoever.  We carry our little portable phone watcher machines with us.  And if we lose the signal in the subway, we watch multiple times at home on YouTube.  Watching is a cultural disease.

Not Watching- that is an art.  I didn’t see Miley because when I saw MTV for the first time…years ago…it had already degraded into a popular medium for teaching pre-teens how to lap dance.  I take my Not Watching seriously enough that I cornered the gym manager to ask why children had to group-watch MTV in the lobby of the gym.  We were there to create healthy bodies.  What about healthy minds?

Not Watching – I no longer watch SuperBowl half-time shows.  Janet Jackson convinced me that I don’t need half-time shows.  Not just Janet…but the whole media complex that winks and profits from this type of cultural pollution.  I don’t care who is on stage or how much money went into the production or how much hype is put into getting me to watch.  There are better things to do.

This is the perfect age for Not Watchers.  Cable TV offers 1000 channels.  NetflixIf only 20 are worth anything, that is five times more than the four channels I had as a teen…20 more than the zero channels my parents grew up with.  Netflix is a virtual library of anything a watcher could watch.  Even if you are picky, that is a lot of watching.

And what about the Doing?  What are we missing about Doing in a culture addicted to Watching?

Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Miley…if I never watch any of them…I can have a wonderful, fulfilling life.  Beauty FlowerIt is one life…one chance on earth…one opportunity to feast my eyes on the beautiful, the creative, the brilliant, the honorable…the redemptive.

I can’t agree with many of the comments made by Justin Timberlake in defense of Miley.  But when I agree with JT, it is a big high-five agreement.  “It’s the VMAs, what did you guys expect?”

If Americans have anything to learn from this “shocking” performance of Miley’s, it is this…there is much to be gained by learning how to Not Watch.

Not Watching – You will survive.  Next week, nobody will know if you Soul Eyewatched…or not.  The week after that…they won’t care.  If it’s worth it, and if you have the time, five years from now you can download it.

Your eyes are the gateway to your soul.  Healthy bodies, healthy minds.  Try Not Watching.

You will survive!

Illinois Teaches Teens How to Do Safe Sex?

April 15, 2013

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

We can all agree on the problem with teens and sex.  We have too much of it, along with the attendant problematic results:  STDs, single parent homes, absent fathers, abortion, economic challenges, and more.  Since the 1960s and the start of the sexual revolution, we have watched these problems escalate.  We have wrung our hands.  And we have sought solutions.

Illinois legislators think they have the solution.  And in their eagerness to “solve the problem,” they are preparing to mandate the “solution” that many believe is one of the problems that got us into the fix we are in.

For half a century, we have explored ways to address the problems associated with teen sex.  Sadly, the first problem is our inability to even agree on the problem at hand.  Do we…

  • Suffer from Puritanical sexual standards, or
  • Believe that sex has no meaning other than the actual physical encounter…
  • Welcome babies as the blessing of our fertility, or
  • Dispose of babies as inconvenient byproducts of sexual pleasure…
  • Address the different sexual needs of men and women emotionally and physically, or
  • Maintain that gender has no significance based on our “sexual equality”…
  • Help parents in their roles as educators for their children on sexual values, or
  • Bypass parents as ignorant stewards of their child’s sexual health…?

This list of conflicting values and beliefs could fill up a spiral student college notebook.  Not surprisingly, the supposed “solutions” to the problems of teen sex could fill up ten spiral student college notebooks.

In Illinois, legislators have put their collective finger on the solution.  They have decided to bet on condoms and contraception.  But they are not betting with their own lives.

Legislators are betting the lives of all Illinois school children on a pipe dream, betting these young wedding giftlives on a “solution” that is actually a problem gift-wrapped in wishful thinking.  They want all Illinois sex education programs to instruct students on how to use a condom and on how to take birth control.

They are not the first to throw condoms at kids, and they won’t be the last.  But, after 50 years of condoms in baskets, free for the taking, we have not solved anything.  Indeed, the very real possibility is that we have made the problem worse.  It is a conundrum that perplexes many.

How could we possibly go wrong in teaching children the use of condoms and contraception?  Let us count the ways:

  • The language of safe and protection is used to sell condoms.  True safety is always safe – 100% of the time.  Medically accurate information reveals that condoms and contraception fail…even with experienced users. [See testimony linked below for detailed information.]
  • The singular “problem” that concerns legislators is pregnancy.  How do they prevent babies?  Many young people do not see babies as a problem.  In fact, for many young people, babies can be a solution for these teens to their own set of problems totally ignored by adults.
  • Condoms and contraception address one primary problem:  pregnancy.  They are not the solution to STDs and can even magnify exposure to STDs.  STDs are not simply “cured” with a few antibiotics.  They lead to sterility, serious lifelong health problems, cancer and death.
  • Classroom educators who promote condoms and contraception through their demonstrations are giving medical advice and instruction to minor children.  These teachers are not subject to the professional medical standards that govern any other area of medicine: credentialing, supervision and medical liability.
  • Condom and contraception instruction lacks any serious follow up with minor children: testing for their understanding, their retention of information or the appropriateness of information for their individual situations.
  • Condom and contraception instruction is often conducted “in the shadows,” in such a way as to distance children from parents and important adults in their lives.  In some cases, parents are characterized by instructors as ignorant, out of touch, and untrustworthy.
  • Condom and contraception instruction empowers people who prey on children, implying that teen sex is appropriate and isolating children from true protection in their families and from medical professionals.
  • Abortion is the unspoken fallback option promoted – and sold –  for any failure of a condom or contraception.  It is no surprise that many of the same businesses that sell abortion are lead advocates for and teachers of contraception.

These are serious drawbacks to the proposed mandate in Illinois.  But the greatest problem with the solution is its failure to actually and directly teach students the healthiest choice of all.

The proposed legislation withholds truth from our children.  The bill “makes changes to provide that all classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual intercourse in grades 6 through 12 shall emphasize that abstinence from sexual intercourse is a responsible and positive decision.” [underlining added]

This statement is worded to suggest that there is a long list of responsible and positive decisions Children Kissing Their Father on His Cheeksabout sex that students can use to choose the one they like best.  It suggests that abstinence is just one of many decisions the student is free to choose from  They can responsibly consider no sex…or they can responsibly consider sex with a condom.  Either…or…both decisions are on the list of “responsible sex”  given approval by the instructor.

Consider that a sixth grade student is 11 to 12 years old.  Is that what you want a stranger to be teaching your child?  Do you want the teacher to tell your 12-year-old daughter that she can have “safe” and “responsible” sex if she uses a condom and that abstinence from sex is just one option of many “good choices?”

Girl giving mom flowers.Condoms and contraception are mechanical fixes used to address a condition of the heart and soul.  Children want love.  They want acceptance and affection.  These are not sexual needs.  They are heart needs.

We can teach children healthy approaches to life, and we can guide them in those choices.  We do that in the areas of diet, smoking, driving and drugs.  It is time to step up to the plate and truly safeguard the sexual health and future for our children.

Illinois…Illinois legislators…the children of your state deserve the best and truest options of all.  If education is not directed to the highest and best goals for our children, then we will get the problems that we deserve.  Unfortunately for our children, we are playing with their lives and with their futures.  They deserve better.


NOTE:  Detailed testimony presented by Scott Phelps to the Illinois State Legislator presents research and professional evidence, including CDC guidelines, supporting a commitment to abstinence until marriage education for students in grades 6 to 12.



August 13, 2004:   Only

April 16, 2004:   One Stop Shopping

The Invisible Crowd

February 1, 2013

It is a common fantasy of the common man…and woman…finding a way to become invisible, to become the proverbial “fly on the wall” in a room, to witness happenings that would be closed to us, to hear words that would be denied us.

In 1897, H. G. Wells explored this fantasy in his famous novella The Invisible Man, where scientist Griffin finds a way to change a body’s refractive index to that of air.  In the same way as air, Griffin’s body reflected no light.  He was invisible.

Griffin, the mad scientist, was only able to accomplish his feat through mastery of scientific principles and conducting hours of chemical experiments recorded in three notebooks.  But there was an easier way.  I know.  On January 26, 2013, I became invisible…without performing one scientific trick…sharing my invisibility with a large crowd of nearly 50,000.

2013 March for Life Plaza 2On a bright San Francisco morning, blessed with perfect temperatures and clear skies, an estimated 50,000 people congregated at the Civic Center Plaza for the 9th Annual Walk for Life.  I had personally invested hundreds of dollars to make myself visible as an American who values the dignity of each human life from conception to natural death.  I had hoped to be seen.  I wished to be counted.

In the opening greeting to the crowd, the speaker asked those of us at the Walk for the first time to raise our hands.  My hand went up.  I wanted people to see me…to see us…all of us.

I shared in the mission for the walk:  Silent No MoreTo change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is an answer. Abortion does violence to women and to their children, both physically and emotionally. We deserve better than abortion.

I hoped to further the goal of the walk:  To be a vocal and visual message that people of the West Coast stand for life. To reach out to women harmed by abortion. To inform society of the damage done to women by abortion.

Walk for Life SF 2013 StreetThe crowd was a wonderful mix of people, each one committed to being a voice for life.  Fifty thousand of us walked the two miles to the Embarcadero. Another 500,000 marched in Washington, D.C., despite freezing snowy weather.

And for all of the people and all of the opportunities to talk with us and to photograph us, we were largely invisible.  My hotel provided guests with free copies of the San Francisco Chronicle.  I waited for a copy of the paper with a front page story and photo to take home to my family and friends.  I waited.  I am still waiting.

How do you make a crowd of 50,000 people invisible?  You work for a San Francisco news service so devoted to abortion of babies at any time and for any reason that every person at the paper is willing to close their eyes to the undeniable tens of thousands of people walking through your city.

Thanks to the Internet, I finally located the Chronicle’s story about the crowds at the march.  Instead of focusing on the 50,000 people, the reporter and photographer highlighted pro-abortion activists…across the city at Justin Herman Plaza.  The lead photo for the story showed two pro-abortion protestors with their bullhorn yelling and waving their bright orange sign:  Abortion on Demand and Without Apology.  But who were they yelling at?  Where were the 50,000 people?

March for Life 2013 Young WomenThe reporter made obligatory references to the invisible crowd in her story.  But it was all packaged in bright colors to tell another story under The Chronicle headline:  S. F. abortion rally shows 40-year split.  Abortion rally?  Clearly, those 50,000 of us attending the Pro-Life rally must have been invisible.

The Chronicle is in good company.  Local and national media are loathe to report in any significant way on the growing tide in America that supports human life…all life.  It’s OK.  I will still pay hundreds to attend the next Walk in 2014 and to be a witness for life.

The best part of walking in 2013 was to share the sidewalks with the impassioned young people who can see the truth, even in a culture that works so hard to make the truth invisible.  Life is precious.  And the coming generation of young people who are not afraid of the truth will tell the story missed by The Chronicle.March for Life 2013 Logo

The Chronicle hires the reporters and photographers who refuse to see life.  But their failure to tell this story will not prevail.  Just ask all of the parents who witness their baby growing in the womb, clearly visible on the 3D and 4D ultrasounds.

Life is precious.  Above all, no matter how hard we try, life will tell its own story.  Close our eyes, cover our ears…yet through it all…life refuses to be invisible.

Save your pennies.  Hitch a ride.  Bring your friends.  We have a story waiting to be told.  Hope to see you with me on the streets in 2014!


For full video and photographic record, with photographer credits, visit the official website:  WALK FOR LIFE WEST COAST

Because I Said So

December 3, 2007

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Another writer has put her best words forward, trying to prove the obvious.  The title of her book tells us what we already know:  Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)

Unfortunately, though, knowing that we are a sex-obsessed culture and witnessing the damage it does to our children will not be enough to compel a cultural change.  Politicians, academics and editors refuse to support education that helps teach and mentor children to remain sexually abstinent.  What are they waiting for?  Research, they say.  Research and evidence.

Well, here in her book Prude they get what they want.  Carol Platt Liebau is no dummy.  Graduating from Princeton, she entered law school at Harvard and served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.  Her work as a law clerk for a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge launched an impressive succession of legal and policy positions spanning fifteen years.

Evidence?  Politicians want research?  Fine.  Liebau gives them evidence…along with logical argument…she “puts all the facts at their fingertips,” detailing the radical sexual forces assaulting our children.

Kate O’Beirne, Washington editor of National Review can’t say enough about Prude. “All parents want their daughters to be healthy and happy. Smart parents will recruit Carol Platt Liebau to help rescue the girls they love from the destructive forces they face. Liebau sounds an alarm we dare not ignore in her brave, groundbreaking book.” 

Groundbreaking?  Hardly.

The books keep coming.  Each year, one or more valiant writers pull together the facts and give voice to victims of the sexual revolution. Each book lays out the research and the evidence.  It is never enough.

In 2000, at only twenty-three years of age, Wendy Shalit published A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue.  For her effort, she was mocked and ridiculed.  Again, in 2007, she wrote Girls Gone Mild, drawing on 100 in-depth interviews and thousands of e-mail exchanges with women from ages twelve to twenty eight.  Shalit documents how young women want a culture that affirms and promotes chastity.

In 2005, Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families hit bookstores.  Author Pamela Paul investigated the “all pornography, all the time” mentality of many younger men and its ripple effect on the culture.  Her in-depth interviews confirmed what much research shows.  Pornography damages relationships, negatively impacts libido and is highly addictive.

In 2006, Dr. Miriam Grossman penned Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. Drawing on her ten years as a psychiatrist at the student health service at UCLA, she is armed with facts, evidence and research that disprove the tenets of the liberated sex mantra preached on college campuses.  No wonder that Dr. Grossman feared professional retaliation and listed the official author as “Anonymous, M.D.”

Dr. Margaret Meeker, a pediatrician for more than twenty years specializing in treating adolescents, has written several titles on teens and sex.  In Epidemic: How Teen Sex Is Killing our Kids, she presents research on the physical and emotional consequences of teen sex and makes these facts come alive through stories about the teens she has treated.

These books, and many others, evidence a large body of scientific research documenting the destructive consequences of “liberated sex”.  They support the need to restore sexual abstinence as an expected standard for our children and to set cultural norms affirming this goal.  Research is available to show that effective abstinence education programs are doing just that.

But the facts, the research and the evidence are not enough to satisfy the demands of those defending our sexualized culture.  The facts are never enough…for a very simple reason.

The sexual revolution in the 60s was not founded on facts, research and evidence.  It was founded to give us what we wanted.  Embracing birth control and abortion on demand, human sexual behaviors of all kinds were defined as positive and empowering.  Sexual self-control was defined as negative and unnecessary.

These definitions are self-justifying.  One cannot fight a definition by using research.  A chair is defined as a place to sit, not because research proves it true.  A chair is a chair…because I said so.

If a woman says sexual promiscuity harmed her, by the modern definition of liberated sex, she is simply repressed.  She is immature…”because I said so.”  By definition, sex is good.  Liberated sex is better.

What about a research study of a thousand women who say sexual promiscuity harmed them?  Well, they are all repressed…because we said so.  The study “proves” these women need to be treated so that they will enjoy liberated sex.

The more we are pushed to gather evidence, the further we drift from the truth.  We can pile up research, and we can write a book.  Many will laud our efforts to restore common sense and save our young women.  But, our book, if not mocked as a puritanical tract, will be ignored by those who hold the power to direct a cultural change.

You may have facts.  Unfortunately, though, you will never have enough facts and research.  Modern definitions have been chiseled in stone:  liberated sex is good sex…and sexual restraint is bad.  That’s just the way it is…”because I said so.”

Emerging Questions for Emerging Answers

November 12, 2007

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

A pattern has emerged. Five easy steps, repeated each year, continue to promote the notion that adults should forget teaching teens the benefits of remaining sexually abstinent until marriage.

Step one: Those in favor of promoting contraception to our young people as “safe and protected sex” publish a Report suggesting sexual abstinence for teens is an impossible … and possibly undesirable … goal.

Step two: The liberal media quickly skims for any phrase that might give them a justification … no matter how slight … to print bold headlines declaring that abstinence education is a failure.

Step three: Repeat “Step Two” ad nauseam.

Step four: Experts fully and thoughtfully analyze said Report, revealing glaring errors, omissions, and inaccuracies in the report. Press releases are issued: the Report fails to qualify as research and is demonstrated to be a thinly disguised political tract controlled by bias.

Step five: The liberal media ignores their own prejudiced reporting of flawed “research.” No headlines appear to retract their errant headlines. The media could take responsibility and announce, “We goofed,” “We messed up,” “We were wrong.” But they don’t.

The latest report to trigger this five-step pattern, Emerging Answers 2007, was issued with great fanfare this month by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies. Written by Douglas Kirby, Ph.D., it was quickly raised on high by the liberal media … ad nauseam … and used to “prove” that … you guessed it … teaching sexual abstinence to teens is a failed enterprise.

Now that the media has finished its part in this charade and departed for other urgent news flashes, thoughtful experts will be able to take the time to analyze Dr. Kirby’s work and put forward their responses. I offer the following Emerging Questions for their consideration:

  1. Why is researcher bias ignored? The introduction to the report states, “Dr. Kirby thought it important to also note that ETR Associates also developed and continues to market several of the curricula reviewed in Emerging Answers 2007.” Plainly speaking, Dr. Kirby makes money selling the curricula he helped write and is now “researching.”
  • Listed as the sole author of the report, Kirby also gives credit to his Research Associate for “important contributions” … none other than an ETR Associates employee of eight years. Further, ETR staff Lori Rolleri and Karin Coyle are thanked for helping determine the topics covered by the report and creating its “balance.”
  • Amazingly, The National Campaign announces these conflicts of interest with thanks to Dr. Kirby for his admission, as if the admission absolves both of them from any professional or ethical challenges. Would this work for the tobacco industry?
  1. Why do The National Campaign and Kirby continue to isolate and address only one of many consequences of teen sex … teen pregnancy? Throughout the report, teen pregnancy is identified as the target for educational programs and the basis for Kirby’s evaluation. If there are fewer pregnancies, the program succeeds? No matter how much sex adolescents are having? No matter the age of the adolescents having sex?
  • This emphasis on teen pregnancy is a foundational research bias. It defines what will be accepted as “success” by the researcher. Consider an 11-year-old who is sexually active. One program may prevent pregnancy by helping her become sexually abstinent. Another program may inject her with Depo Provera. Which approach is successful?
  1. Where are the many positive evaluations of abstinence-until-marriage programs and curricula? These exist. Could their exclusion from Kirby’s “balanced consideration of topics” have anything to do with the research bias set up from the outset in the design of the study favoring contraception for adolescents?
  1. Why is medically accurate information on STDs minimized and even mischaracterized in its importance for teens, suggesting that “protecting” teens from pregnancy is the same as “protecting” teens from STDs? Kirby refers to “behavior that affects the transmission of STDs” and to “protection against pregnancy and STD” as if such “protection” actually exists.

Behavior doesn’t cause STDs. Bacterium and virus are the culprits. The research on their individual infectivity for the major STDs is clear. Condoms have a limited ability to prevent STDs. Chemical contraceptives have NO effectiveness.

In good time, the answers to these and other Emerging Questions will emerge. They will be developed by experts in the field of teen sex who will finally be able to review the full 204-page report in detail. Their answers will shed great light on teen sex and truly effective ways to intervene.

Most likely, “Programs That Work” will actually include many abstinence-until-marriage programs overlooked by Dr. Kirby and The National Campaign. These abstinence programs will focus on teen sex as an inherently risky behavior and will teach teens the truth about the many negative consequences, in addition to pregnancy, related to teen sex.

When that time comes, one great question remains: Will the press take note, much less care? Never mind the ad nauseam. Will the truth, when it fails to conform to media bias, ever make even one headline?