Saturday, April 14, 2007

It All Starts in the Church and the Home

I won't bother linking to the many stories and headlines I have seen in the past day concerning a "new study" which tells us that abstinence education does not stop sex. The headline might as well have read: new study tells us that telephones do not stop sex. When will educators, politicians, media outlets, etc. finally realize that just because you present and educate someone with "information" that does not mean the now "educated" person with new information actually will use that information.

The development of good life habits, regardless of whether it deals with sex or the care of teeth, will not simply happen due to the presentation of information. How many of your parents told you first off that you needed to brush your teeth because of all the health benefits? You probably were told it was something you had to do.

Notice the irony about sex education: you only need to glance at the trends in sexual education and the rates of those infected with sexually-transmitted diseases and realize that those moments of education and information at schools did not make a difference either.

Truly educating someone about good life habits requires constant teaching and effort. Think about the Twelve Steps from Alcoholics Anonymous and how much effort and constancy it requires of individuals following and at times enduring those steps. What does that First Step teach? It teaches us complete dependence on God for all things. This First Step should provide us with a hint about how most approaches to education in sexuality go wrong.

Without a young person realizing how his sexuality is to be meaningful with a God-centered life, it is hard to see how a plea for abstinence with an information-deluge or a sex-education-deluge will do anything other than presenting a false impression of actually doing something. If abstinence and a life of chastity doesn't start with the Church and the Home, then I don't see how a school will do any better.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Too many people believe thinking knowing something will dictate behavior. How many people actually think it is safer to drive while talking on the phone? no one. But how often does knowing it is less safe deter people? I'd love to know how many of these commercials to learn more about AIDS have actually had an effect on the number of AIDS cases.

People seem to have a hard time differentiating between knowing something and doing something and become confused thinking that if one knows something a person will therefore act accordingly. I think it, at least in part, comes down to what is easiest.

For example, if a parent wants to keep their child off drugs, the easiest method is to tell them not to do them and hope for the best. It is not so easy to go in depth on the subject, repeat the importance of it, be involved in one's child's daily life, know their friends and keep tabs on what they are up to. It is easiest to say, "well, I told them about X, so they should know how to act," and such an approach ignores any dependence or reference to religion, family or, more fundamentally, any authority figure whatsoever.

AA is not afraid of referencing God. But to admit that there is any sort of authority is to admit that there is an absolute right and absolute truth and people cannot act any way they want. Too many people are afraid of surrending that absolute "freedom."