Hey, Everybody, Let’s Give Up!

Fifteen people sat around the conference table. Fourteen were educators teaching junior and senior high students about sexual abstinence until marriage. One person, Mr. Boss Man, at the head of the table, was a state leader in charge of setting the educational focus for programs in the public schools.

Fourteen voices told about the high school students who wanted educators to return to their classrooms next year. These students, even the juniors and seniors, want to hear the truth about sex. They want to receive encouragement to be abstinent as a way of fulfilling their personal goals and securing their good health.

At the conference table, from the front of the room, Mr. Boss Man with his one voice answered fourteen. “Isn't that too late? Aren't they already having sex?”

He might as well have said, “Hey, everybody, let's give up!”

Maybe Mr. Boss Man hadn't heard that over 50% of high school students persevere under considerable pressure from a society that pushes sex at every turn. These students haven't given up. They are sexually abstinent.

Mr. Boss Man's name isn't important. He is not alone. He is only one of many community and national leaders who are heading the parade to give in to failure.

Yes, they concede. Sexual abstinence until marriage would indeed prevent untold negative personal and social consequences of adolescent sex. But before they can take one deep breath, they raise their flags of failure and begin chanting.

On the Left, they cry, “Teens can't be abstinent. They can't, they can't. Rah, rah, shish boom bant!”

On the Right, they answer back. “Teens don't need to be abstinent. Sex is natural. Rah, rah, bish boom pow!”

Imagine. What if this mentality had ruled the coaching staff for the San Francisco 49ers? From 1979 to 1992, they were led by one of the top quarterbacks of all time. Joe Montana earned the nicknames “Joe Cool” and “Comeback Kid” due to his ability to rally his teams from late-game deficits, including 31 fourth-quarter comebacks.

Montana made his career proving that losing is not inevitable, no matter how many minutes or seconds are left in the game. His comeback from a 28-point halftime deficit to a 38-35 overtime victory against the New Orleans Saints still stands (as of 2006) as the most points ever overcome to win a regular-season NFL game. It was the first of Montana's 26 fourth-quarter comebacks with the 49ers.

Imagine. Montana could have had a coach tell him, “Relax. You're losing. Don't worry. Save your energy. We'll try again next week.” But he didn't. Winning was the point of playing the game. And he played until the last second on the clock.

Imagine, instead, the coaches of the losers, the teams that played against Montana, the Saints, Bengals, Lions, and Dolphins: maybe they should have saved all the blood, sweat, and tears of coming in second. If they had known the 49ers would come back and win, maybe they would have given up earlier in the game and saved a lot of strained muscles and broken bones.

Imagine if Mr. Boss Man coached football with the same confidence he coaches teenagers. “Chance are you're gonna lose. Give up now.”

Giving up does not make winning teams in football. And it does not build winning lives for people, either. In the famous Oak School experiment, Harvard professor Robert Rosenthal's research into the “Pygmalion phenomenon” showed the impact on students of a teacher's expectations.

“Simply put,” as reported in The National Teaching and Learning Forum, “when teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not so encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways.”

Regarding our youth and sex, success is closer at hand than what many would have us believe. Parents want their children to understand the benefits — the physical, emotional, social, educational, and economic benefits — of saving sex for marriage.

Students increasingly want to be encouraged to succeed in their relational and educational goals by adults who help them maintain their commitment to sexual abstinence.

For those adolescents aged 12-19 who have had sex, 63% of them wished they had waited. They are prime candidates for hearing that they can return to a sexually abstinent lifestyle. Change is possible.

And for all of those parents and students, there are many dedicated educators who are able to undergird these personal desires and goals with medically accurate information and lessons that build student confidence and give students the skills to maintain their personal commitment to abstinence until marriage.

The parade is ready. They are ready to march. The only thing holding them back from success is Mr. Boss Man and his fellow leaders at the front.

“Sure, we can start marching toward success,” the leaders tell the group. “But why bother? You're never going to make it.”

A former elementary school teacher, Jane Jimenez is now a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family. She writes a regular column, From the Home Front. Her work has appeared in both Christian and secular publications. Jane and her husband Victor live in Phoenix and have two children.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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