Love Affair with Failure

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

June 20, 2005

As big as it can be, a building size mural on our baseball stadium features four young kids suited up for a game.  It preaches success to every driver and the youngsters riding with them.  Get Active, Stay Tobacco Free.

MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving founded a campaign in the memory of a mother’s young teen killed by a drunk driver.  Schools post crumbled cars in the middle of high school campuses.  Youth clubs and police visits to schools carry one unshakable message to students.  Don’t drink and drive.

Drugs?  Teens are told in no uncertain terms.  Don’t do them.  Radio commercials not only preach to young people, they preach to adults.  Talk to your kids, ask your kids where they are going, accept nothing less than success.  What if a parent did drugs in their past?  The radio exhorts parents to separate past failures from teaching success.  To help teens get over their problems, you have to get over yours. 

Tobacco, drunk driving, drugs…we have no problem preaching success.  And then, of course, there is sex.

Medical realities have created the necessity to lead children to healthy sexual choices…abstaining from sex until marriage.  We are in the midst of an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, STDs.  One in five people over the age of twelve…the age of twelve…has genital herpes, a lifelong incurable disease.

Statistical proof has been offered demonstrating we can lead children to successful lives where they abstain from sex.  And students are showing that even when they have had sex, given truth and encouragement, they can redefine their lives with sexual abstinence.

During the course of ten years with abstinence funding and growing educational programs, we have seen teen pregnancy rates decline.  This should be good news and inspire us to be more determined in our efforts and more clear in our message…leading teens to success.  It should make television producers more responsible for showing the consequences of teen sex and for leading the effort to show sexual promiscuity as irresponsible behavior rather than the great American pastime.

Instead, PBS is spending American taxpayer dollars to preach failure.  It has ignored the hundreds of teens in the Louisiana’s Governor’s Program for Abstinence. Instead, looking for a preacher for failure, it has chosen one teen in Texas who actively opposes the abstinence curriculum in her school.

Shelby is a Christian teenager in Lubbock, Texas.  At age 13, she pledged abstinence until marriage.  But at the ripe old age of 13, Shelby doesn’t believe in abstinence programs.  She is the perfect person to preach failure to America.

Abstinence…it’s the healthy choice.  It is a message that is working, against all odds, against the rampant sexual filth promoted by television and movies, encouraging teens to make the healthy choice.

Just imagine what teens could do if PBS producers, parents, educators, movie actors, friends, family, and legislators actually believed they could succeed.  Just imagine what teens would believe about sex if they could hear adults in leadership roles mentor and encourage them to succeed.  Just imagine for one minute that there existed a PBS producer who believed that teens deserved the truth about premarital sex and used all their resources to encourage them to abstain from sex.

Preaching failure…letting a 13-year-old student speak for them…producers are taking the easy way out.  Success, they are teaching, is not for everyone.  It may work for Shelby, but it won’t work for her schoolmates.

Focusing on failure…letting a 13-year-old student direct their cameras…producers are pointing out how easy it is to fail.  And if failure is inevitable, then why bother exhorting students to succeed.

If students have trouble succeeding in maintaining sexual abstinence, we have no further to look than to the mentors who lead the way.  Why would teens have any chance for success if we found our message on failure?

August 20, 2007:    Happy Teens

September 10, 2004:    Duh