Guest Author - Maria Hester, M.D.
Parenting in this age can make the first trip to the moon seem easy. There are so many negative messages bombarding our children these days. Even during the day, popular soap operas are filled with messages that any type of sex is fine. If Cindy is sleeping with her sister Sarah's husband, no big deal…as long as she does not get caught.
If Thomas has three or four sex partners in the course of a season of the latest evening sitcom, he may be considered "the man" by fellow men and a stud, something to be sought after, by the women. After all, if so many women have desired intimacy with him, he must be something worthwhile, right?
In my years as a physician, I have treated numerous pregnant teenagers who, somehow really thought that their boyfriendw were actually going to stick around to help them raise their precious babies. The odd thing is that after having had a couple of babies by different guys, it still did not kick in that the vast majority of teenage boys are not remotely interested in "playing house" behind the sexual pleasures they may obtain for the moment.
Many girls use sex to get love, while many boys fake love to get sex. In other words, while many sweet, innocent girls are looking for a special type of love, many sweet, innocent teenage boys are looking for a special type of respect they feel they can only get from the guys by playing the role of a player.
We all know about the countless young mothers who end up parenting alone and give up their deepest dreams for the sake of their beloved children. Of course, not all young boys "hit and run." Some are far more responsible than this, but realistically, what does a 15 year old boy have to give a baby? Both parents are just children themselves.
Everywhere we look we see sex. Even commercials selling soft drinks attempt to conjure up sexual images in our brains. After all, what does a woman's cleavage have to do with how good a drink tastes?
While unplanned pregnancies take their toll of countless young people, even more potentially devastating is the impact of being diagnosed with an STD, especially the HIV virus. Many people imagine themselves as being invincible, especially when they are young. The thought that they may contract a serious disease is far from the forefront of their minds.
While HIV remains incurable, it is now highly treatable, in most cases. Yet, the medications and their unpleasant side effects can most assuredly change the course of one's life forever. There is still the social stigma of HIV infection many people have to deal with as well.
Having treated many individuals with HIV and AIDS over the past 16 years, I can sadly say I have seen far more than my share of shattered lives, unnecessary suffering, and premature death.
Society pushes us to "enjoy life to the fullest," even if that means risking your future, and even your life. After all, odds are in your favor, right? Wrong! If and when the bomb falls, it may be too late to turn things back around.
Parents face a tremendous challenge in today's society. While their children are bombarded with sexual messages, parents still have the responsibility to do what they know is in the best interest of their children, even if it makes them unpopular. We wouldn't forego an interview for a dream job because we felt our chances were slim. Likewise, why forego the opportunity to teach those whom we love the most those principles that can literally save their lives, even if we fear they will not listen?
While everyone does not espouse traditional Judeo-Christian values, the undisputable facts are that Virgin is NOT a bad word, and Sex CAN wait until marriage.