|A-Man, KingMan and AJ will receive their PURITY RINGS next week at graduation - something to be proud about!|
KingMan is 13-years-old now, a newly minted teenager. As a part of this rite of passage, I decided it was appropriate to enroll him in a Biblically-based abstinence program. Seems reasonable, right? Well, you'd be amazed by the number of people who laughed in my face. Add that to the number of people who smirked or snickered. To them, this whole concept was quite comical. Despite the fact that there is still not a cure for the HIV virus, despite the fact that studies have shown the benefits of being married before having a family, people just could not wrap their heads around why I would enroll my son in such a program. Family members have even said to me that "he's not thinking about girls yet." Do you wait until you are overweight to start thinking about the food you eat, or do you make smart food choices so that you don't gain weight in the first place. That's my line of reasoning in giving him the information first. It seems society has accepted that pre-marital sex is natural, inevitable and the cultural norm. Why am I living in a fantasy world, they must think. Well, I do believe in the Biblical command that sex is for married couples. I certainly don't want to wait until his hormones are raging to present this material. He is a very intellectual and responsible young man, and I wanted him to be armed with Biblical doctrine and healthy facts! Will being married first keep him from ever having a negative experience? No it does not. But I certainly don't believe he needs to sample a "buffet" or "sow his oats" before marriage. We don't teach boys that their bodies are sacred too. In session 4 of the Urban Life Training abstinence class, KingMan learned that sexual intercourse is an "exchange of DNA," and it's not something that should be wasted on people with whom we do not share a deep and abiding commitment, and most important of all, marriage. My son already believes that marriage is normal. When someone asked him if his basketball coach was married, his response was "he should be, he has 4 kids!" Despite living in a ward of a city where 82% of all African-American children are born to unmarried parents, KingMan still believes that a man with 4 children is a husband and father. For that I am proud. So despite the reality of my community, I remain optimistic about the values that we have instilled in our son. I am especially grateful to the Shine Program at the Boys and Girls Club. Shaping Healthy Identities through New Experiences is a health and life skills sex education program that promotes abstinence. KingMan started this program when he was 10 years old. I believe in training at home, but I also strongly believe in the concept of the village. The more reinforcement and information my son has about the benefits of abstinence, the more meaning and power it holds. Abstinence you say? Yes, absolutely!