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Valentine's Day Card for Today's
You may wonder what an abstinence education program has to say about love on Valentine’s Day. After all, abstinence may seem to rule out love with a “just say no” attitude toward sex. Yet abstinence is not the final word of the Healthy Respect program, which is based on an “abstinence in preparation for marriage” curriculum.
Abstinence in preparation for marriage is the full Healthy Respect message -- one that leads into the larger and deeper questions about the commitment and character that underlie true and lasting love. Ask any teen if he or she wants a lasting love, and that teen will say yes, because he or she knows that the alternative to a love that lasts is a heart that breaks.
Yet too many teens do not know the basic elements that make for a lasting love. The media, the culture, their peers and maybe even parents and other adults have taught them by words or example that sexual experience is the beginning and end of love. The more sex, the more love.
At Healthy Respect, we teach young people that sex is awesome, powerful and wonderful. Yet like any great treasure, it must be cherished and preserved. It should not be given away easily, but saved for a special circumstance with a special someone who matters most. Sex is best when it is engaged in with commitment and caring which are the hallmarks of marriage.
Sound old-fashioned? Think teens today won’t buy it in this “everybody’s doing it” age? It’s true that the abstinence message is not always popular when our classroom instructors first introduce it. Some students giggle, some roll their eyes and others think “get real.” But we also have found that teens listen, not just because our instructors talk about sex, but mostly because they talk about respect. The students realize that the real topic of the Healthy Respect program is their own selves – their health and their lives. Our trained, male-female teams talk about sex in the context of self-esteem, character, education, career and personal goals. They show how teen sex cannot only lead to an unwanted pregnancy and the tragedy of abortion, but also how it leads to broken hearts and broken dreams for the future. Our controlled and confidential student surveys show that students go through a serious attitude change when they take Healthy Respect.
The hearts on the Valentine’s cards we will get and give today symbolize something great about human love. We want it to be real and we want it to last. At Healthy Respect we bring that Valentine’s message to students everyday in the classroom. They respond because they know we care.
From all of us at Healthy Respect: Happy Valentine’s Day!