Thursday, October 27, 2011

Leftover Q&A

We interrupt this blog series on dating to bring you answers to the questions we couldn't answer before the bell rang in some of our classes last week! All our students have the opportunity to anonymously ask us anything they would like about chastity (and anything else relevant to what we've discussed). We had such a great batch of questions and we were crushed when the bell rang! SO here are our answers:

How long have you been teaching/working for PCE?
Alicia has been working at the Center since June 2009. Kelly began in September 2011.

How/why did you get involved in PCE?
Kelly: I have been passionate about chastity education since I was in high school. When I saw the opening for this job, I knew it was perfect, and I was right! Working in the pro-life movement was an added bonus to which I was really drawn and that remains to be the case.
Alicia: I took this job because my decision to practice chastity in high school really changed my life for the better, and I wanted to work in area that I knew would truly make a difference in lives :) I love it!

Are you a virgin? Do either of you practice chastity?
Yep. We are both virgins and we are right there with you in the trenches, doing our best to practice the virtue of chastity!

Have either of you broken chastity? Would/do you regret it?
Yes, we both have made mistakes we regret. Impurity always results in heartache (at the very least). More important than regret is repentance. In the Sacrament of Confession, we have both found healing, strength, hope, and love. We have each been empowered by grace to begin again, and what a blessing it is to live the virtue of chastity!

How old is the youngest girl to come to PCE and found out she was pregnant?
The youngest clients we have had at PCE were 12 years old.

What do guys look for in girls?
A lot of boys, especially in adolescence, are focused on the physical. Rather than in building a lasting, healthy, balanced relationship that draws both people to God and makes them better, lots of guys are interested in what they can "get" from a girl. A lot of them grow out of that, which is a relief.
There are also great men out there who see women as God does. These men see each woman as a daughter of the King of kings and treat her as such.
It is impossible to be all things to all people, so my advice is this. Worry about what God wants you to become. Ask the Lord, "Help me become the woman you created me to be." The closer you are to becoming that woman, the easier it will be for the right man to find you!

What should we look for in guys?
If boys will be boys, then look for a real man! Here's some advice from a few of Kelly's guy friends:
A real man cherishes and respects the woman he loves.
Boys will say “I love you” to get girls to be physical with them. Some girls reinforce this by being physical in order to feel loved, but please don’t fall for it.
When a real man tells a girl “I love you,” he loves her for who she is as a Child of God, not for what she is on this earth.
If a boy gets a girl to be physical so he will say “I love you”, it’s a lie. “I love you” is not leverage.
For a real man, love isn’t a feeling or something he says; it is an action!
A real man would prove his love to you in what he does and how he does it. Only saying how he feels is not enough.
A boy will value a girl to the extent that he can see and experience her physically.
A real man will value going beyond physical features and value a girl for her personality, faith, and morals.

Do guys want someone who is more pure or who is experienced?
There are guys on both sides of that fence. Attempting to win them all over is setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. God has a perfect plan for you (cf. Jeremiah 29:11)! You are trusting him by pouring your energy into becoming the person he wants you to be. Let him figure out the rest! Live in the freedom that purity brings; don't fall prey to lust in the name of experience.

Where can we find chaste guys?
You deserve a man who has only one thing on his mind. No, not lust; doing God's will! The man who is capable of loving you properly is the man who is constantly seeking to love like Jesus. So what's the rush? A man like that is certainly worth the wait, and he deserves your patience. Learn to embrace singleness first. In the mean time, build the kingdom of God and enjoy being single! Loving yourself and others is a skill you will need regardless of your vocation and that is something you can learn right now. Get started on becoming a woman of God and let Mr. Right find you! Some ways to make yourself easier to find are dressing modestly, living and verbalizing your values, and spending time with peers who share your convictions. If you want to go where the good men are, I don't recommend looking for them in dark alleys, parties that feature alcohol/drugs, or detention. Try your local parish ;)

How do you know that you have the "right" guy?
There are several questions you should ask yourself:
1. Does this relationship make us both better people? Are we moving closer to heaven because of it or farther away? Remember that marriage is a vocation - your path to holiness.

2. Would this person be a good husband and father? Does he possess qualities that you hope your kids will have someday?

3. Do you both have a correct understanding of what a sacramental marriage is?

4. Is it love? Take the Love Test.

5. Pray about it! God wants the absolute best for you and will help guide you to your vocation and choice of a spouse.

Are you a virgin if you have oral sex?
"Technically" one loses his/her virginity when that person engages in sexual intercourse. However, keep in mind that purity is not just about the "technical" side of things - purity is in your mind and your heart - moving closer to God and authentic love and not of farther away from it. With that being said, sexual intercourse and oral sex outside of marriage are both serious sins.

If a guy wants to make out, should we assume he wants to have sex? Is it not practicing chastity when you kiss/make out with someone?
Making out can (and anything further does) prepare the body for sex. He may say that he doesn't want to go any further but, if he is aroused, his body is saying the opposite.
If making out causes one or both of you to become sexually aroused, then the boundary of "how far is too far" has already been crossed, purity has been compromised, and it's time to hit the brakes. Re-draw the physical boundaries of the relationship (take 2 steps back). If he has a problem with that, then his intentions are neither loving nor pure, and he can take that up with your dad.

Is getting fingered having sex?
"Getting fingered" is a type of masturbation and it is sexual activity, which means that outside of marriage, it is a violation of chastity, a mortal sin, and certainly not what is best for either person (ergo, it is not love).

My boyfriend thinks it's weird that I want to wait until marriage to have sex. He is not abstinent and wants to have sex before marriage. Is he the right guy for me?
See above for "Is this the right guy for me?" question.... I would ask yourself, "Is this authentic love?" Keep in mind that love is the action of doing what is best for someone else. And remember, marriage is your path to heaven! The issue of chastity is an incredibly important one to be "on the same page" with because chastity is a virtue and continues on in marriage - it has everything to do with loving rightly. Seek a man whose desire is to love you the way that Christ loved HIS bride - willing to sacrifice and lay down his life for you.

How many girls, after hearing how the baby is treated during the abortion, actually choose abortion? I [Alicia] don't know the actual stats for this, but at PCE I am guessing about 70% or more will choose life.

How can we make a difference and help abortion not happen? What are some things that we could do if we recently became pro-life?
1. Pray! We see miracles truly happen at the Center all the time...your prayers make a difference!

2. Volunteer at pro-life pregnancy centers. Even the simple action of sorting baby clothes moves us forward in our mission to protect life.

3. Bring the pro-life message into your everyday life - conversations with friends, facebook, school clubs, etc.

4. Educate yourself. There are so many aspects of the pro-life message:

5. Being pro-life is not simply about stopping abortion; it's valuing all human life. You can make a huge difference by your witness to seeing the true value of each human person - just by being present to them, loving them through your actions, respect etc.

Are there times when having an abortion is okay?
The only case in which it is morally acceptable to abort a child is when the mother's life is in serious danger, such as in an ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy, if not terminated, always results in the deaths of both the mother and her baby. In cases where the baby will survive, but the mother is in grave danger of death as a result of childbirth, the decision of whether or not to carry the child to term belongs to the family. In these cases, it is morally acceptable to terminate the pregnancy or, make the same choice that St. Gianna Beretta Molla, who sacrificed her own life for the sake of her child, did.

How many women die in childbirth these days?
This article shows the Maternal Mortality rate for the USA (16.7 of every 100,000) and many other countries.

How many types of STDs are there?
There are at least 25 different STDs (source).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dating Culture: High School

     For a description of the dating culture in high school, begin with my description of junior high dating, and subtract a few more boundaries. Now add cars, cell phones, make-up, birth control, higher academic and athletic standards, access to alcohol, and plenty of hormones.
     The dating culture of my high school years was tacitly divided into three categories: single, couple, or hooking up. To their chagrin, the majority of students were single. I was single too, but I came to appreciate it, which has been beneficial both in and out of a relationship.
      “Hooking up” is an all-encompassing term for any sexual experience, usually outside of a committed relationship. Hooking up can refer to anything from French kissing to sexual intercourse. The girls who hook up usually gain a reputation for it, and are invited to a lot of the big parties. Hooking up often involves alcohol and a lack of adult supervision (or the “supervision” of adults with the philosophy that if their kids are going to party, they ought to do it at home). After singleness, hooking up was the next most common.The minority of students was in long-term, monogamous, boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. There isn’t much of a pursuit: a boy and a girl are single/just friends, then “talking,” then “official.” “Ken and Barbie are talking” is an ambiguous way of saying that they are paying extra attention to each other as they develop mutual crushes. “Talking” meant more flirting in person, on the phone, and via AIM instant messaging, which has been replaced by programs such as Facebook chat and Skype. In the past few years, “texting” has etched its way into becoming a sub-phase of talking.
     Talking was and still is the last step before dating/going out/being official/being boyfriend and girlfriend/being a couple. That usually consists of “just hanging out” and doing “whatever.” That could mean watching a movie at his or her house, inviting other friends over, walking around the mall, or anything.
     Couples enjoy one-on-one time whenever possible: between classes, at lunch, in study hall, after school, at parties, at each other’s houses, etc. There is no actual dating, except occasionally taking a date to a dance (and even then, you might be going as “just friends”). Although we had the means—some spending money, access to a car, etc.—real dates of any sort were and are very rare in high school.
     This post may seem verbose and/or downright confusing. That is because so many words in the dating vocabulary are used interchangeably. One word could have multiple meanings or no real meaning at all.
     The high school dating culture is ambiguous and fueled by hormones run amok. Need proof? If you ever go to the girls’ restroom during a high school dance, you will find that there is always at least one girl crying in there. It is the strangest thing! After spending time and money to look red carpet ready, Wendy McWeeperson finds herself surrounded by 3-5 friends, comforting her, re-applying mascara to her puffy eyes, and telling her, “You’re face isn’t that red. If I hadn’t seen you crying, I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell.”
     As I dived deeper into my faith, I became increasingly aware of how many talented, beautiful, unique, kindhearted girls in my school were looking for love, but wouldn’t have recognized it even if they’d found it. Every day brought stories of “He cheated on me,” “Did I tell you what happened at the party Friday?” “That blueberry has too many calories,” and “I heard they hooked up…”
There is absolutely hope for the high school dating culture. However, cleaning up that mess will require strong teens who know themselves, are committed to strong values, and desire the freedom that comes from establishing and maintaining boundaries.