February 21, 2005
The large card still stands on my dresser, a sweet remembrance from the man who has shared over thirty years of life with me. As February winds down, my mind is filled with the many pictures of love
renewed on this past Valentine’s Day.
At one luncheon, going around the table for introductions, we shared special thoughts about the husbands and wives who completed our lives. From newlyweds to those married over forty years, it was refreshing to see the tenderness used to describe the object of each person’s affection.
Last Sunday, Andrew thanked those who organized this month’s Sweetheart Dinner. As he talked, sounds of babies surrounded us, until one coo and babble turned more insistent. Mom bundled up her hungry babe, and headed to the private room in the back.
Sex is at the center of so much loveliness. It is the intensity of passion, the bond of reconciliation, the playful encounter and…the creator of life…building and sustaining relationships of love, promise and honor.
And then…we turn on the television and see sex purchased with a hundred dollar bill on prime time television during what used to be family hour. Wives are traded, singles prowl the city in search of sex, and nearly naked ladies sell everything from potato chips to beer.
Computer filters must fight the ever-mutating attacks on family life by XXX fare. Even public librarians defend the right to provide porn, resisting filters to protect the minds and hearts of children.
Cheap sex is not new. Modern culture simply puts a new shine on the “world’s oldest profession” and magnifies the ways to profit from sex. Yet, one sad result of our ability to reproduce sex on stage, television, music and film is the complete disconnect of sex from its greatest purpose and its best expression.
Promiscuity is a concept undone by American marketers and impotent judges. Still defined by a dusty dictionary… aimless, designless, desultory, haphazard, hit-or-miss, indiscriminate, irregular, purposeless, unplanned…the word promiscuity carries no meaning today because all sex is permissible.
The director of a major metropolitan agency worked to explain the finer points of their sex education program to me. They taught it all, she said. They empowered kids to embrace their sexuality. They reinforced that sex was just a normal part of life, complete with deprovera, cherry-flavored condoms, and “confidentiality,” the promise they will help kids evade the loving supervision of parents who know that sex is not meant for teens.
What about abstinence? I asked.
Sure, she said.
Sure, what? I asked.
For some kids, abstinence is a choice…until they are ready for sex. Responsible sex.
Responsible sex? What would you tell a thirteen-year-old girl in your sex ed class who came to you for your advice about having “responsible sex” with her sixteen-year-old boyfriend? Could you tell her, since she asked, that you advised her not to have sex of any kind with him…that sex at her age was unhealthy and out-of-order…and even just a teensy weensy irresponsible?
Without a pause big enough to blink, she fired back at me. No.
No. We are values-neutral. We don’t teach values.
Sex without values?
What kind of educator is reluctant to teach our children the immovable healthy boundaries of sex? This means more than mentioning boundaries…saying that abstinence is a choice…something that some kids will choose…until they don’t choose abstinence.
Sex education is a matter of connecting sex with a nobler, finer purpose than recreating in the backseat of a car with a kid you just met. And it is a matter of believing in that purpose with enough conviction to commit to it and promote it and counsel for it.
Everyone teaches the value of sex. It’s just a matter of focus. Either you link sex to the values that sustain healthy relationships and support the care of our next generation with mothers and fathers who love each other…or you don’t.
Our children learn what we teach. If they are having sex that is aimless, designless, desultory, haphazard, hit-or-miss, indiscriminate, irregular, purposeless, unplanned…need we wonder why? Aren’t they doing exactly what we are teaching them?
Sex without value IS a value.
May 14, 2004 Order in the Courtroom!
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