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Raising Chaste Catholic Men: A Review

When we only had four little ones!
When we only had four little ones!

As a mother, I am constantly thinking about and worrying about my children. I think about their health, their education, their friends, their religious upbringing, their happiness, their sadness, their hopes and their dreams. I contemplate what kind of people they will be when they are grown, what will their spouses be like (if they have one), and whether or not I am doing a good job raising them. From the very first moment my heart began to long for a child those thoughts have occupied my mind.

I don’t think that I thought much about chastity when I simply had little ones. Instead my days were filled with diapers, naps, crayon on the walls, gum stuck in long, pretty blond hair, broken arms, food on the floor, and Barney- lots and lots of Barney.

As my children grew older and I soon had both tiny kids and older kids who were facing a world that wanted to educate them in a way that I did not want, my mind often turned to questions about chastity and what I wanted them to know and learn. I wondered how I would tackle tough topics, what exactly I needed to teach them, and when I needed to teach it.  Looking back I can see that teaching about chastity began far before I actually thought about it. It began when my little ones were tiny and I taught them about the preciousness and sanctity of their bodies. It began when I started teaching them about the differences between boys and girls and how every person is made perfectly in God’s image.

Today I have 11 children in just about every age range- adult children, teens, preteens, elementary school kids, and toddlers. We are a very open family that can talk about anything. If the kids have a question (and boy do they have questions!) they know they can come to me about anything and I will answer to the best of my ability. It doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t falter or wonder if I’m saying the right things or handling it the best way. But it does mean that I always try to do my best and to welcome them no matter how uncomfortable the subject.

raising-chaste-catholic-menI was recently blessed to review Leila Miller’s new book Raising Chaste Catholic Men. To be honest, I wanted to review the book because I wanted to know what I could do differently to help impress upon my younger boys (ages 10, 4, and 3) what I obviously lacked for my older son who chose a completely different life than we had taught. I wanted to see if there was a magic trick to keeping our boys chaste. What I found out confirmed what I knew all along…

Raising Chaste Catholic Men is an amazing book. To begin with it is a simple conversation between two Catholic moms- Leila and you. Reading the book is like meeting up with a friend, sitting down for lunch, and spending the afternoon drinking coffee (or Diet Coke in my case) , and just talking for hours, so engrossed in conversation that you don’t realize the time slipping away from you. The book is short in length and is perfect for a busy mom to pick up during her hectic day and read. Leila intended the book to be this way. She knew that we have questions, need suggestions, and simply need Catholic support from a mom who has been there and is still knee-deep in the trenches; but she also knew we are often pressed for time. The length of the book and the way it is written acknowledge and respect both our time and our needs.

Leila tackles some truly difficult topics. When my oldest children were little I had no idea that one day I would be talking to them about transgenderism, gay marriage, the demasculinization of our boys and men, or pornography available at their fingertips all day and all night. Raising Chaste Catholic Men doesn’t shy away from these issues. In fact, these and a number of other- masturbation, navigating pop culture, dating, contraception, premarital sex, how to be both parent and friend to your children, video games, computer usage, and how to cultivate manhood- are all part of the book.

Combining Church teachings, the Bible, the Catechism, profound words from popes and other Catholic teachers, as well as a plethora of other resources, Leila helps us understand not only the Church’s teaching on chastity (which is different from abstinence!) but why chastity is imperative to our children’s overall growth and development- heart, mind, body, and soul!

When I finished reading Raising Chaste Catholic Men I felt like I had my own little cheering squad! Despite feeling like there were many times I have failed and even though I have a son who has veered from the path that we have tried to show him, Leila reminded me that all the work we have done has created a firm foundation to which he (hopefully!) will return.  My doubts that I was “doing it all wrong” melted away and I knew that regardless of what our children choose (and they can choose to deviate from what we know to be good and holy) the efforts we put into teaching our children is never lost or wasted. She gave some great lasting advice that I know will help me both now and in the future. It was a message I truly needed to hear.

In a world that wishes to strip away what it means to be male and female, Raising Chaste Catholic Men reminds us of the inherent goodness there is to our maleness and our femaleness. We are each perfectly made in God’s image and likeness and while we are made this way, we are also made very differently from one another. This is so that we can complement the opposite sex. We aren’t made for competition but we are created to be one. As Leila so beautifully pointed out, “The reproductive system is the only system in the human body that is completed with someone else.” We are made to complete one another… this is a powerful and important lesson we must impart to our children.

While my way of doing things almost mirrors Leila’s, I will say that even if you choose to do things differently, this book can help you navigate the often winding, rocky path to teaching our children about their sexuality, chastity, and the inherent goodness of their bodies. Building a firm foundation where our children can find peace, hope, love, and joy is imperative. We can only do this if we are willing to tackle tough subjects, keep the lines of communication open, and live a faithful, chaste life ourselves.

leila-millerI strongly encourage you to read Leila’s book Raising Chaste Catholic Men. You will come away feeling empowered and hopeful. Our sons deserve the best we can give them- that means always teaching the truth and showing them the right path. Raising Chaste Catholic Men will help you in your quest to do this.

If you’d like to purchase Leila’s book, Raising Chaste Catholic Men, you can do so here.

Stop by her website as well to check out her other inspiring and thought provoking articles!

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for this review.

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YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body

 

For many years, centuries perhaps, the Catholic Church has gotten a bad rap regarding her teachings on sex. Considered prudish by some and demanding by others, her insistence on purity and chastity has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and ignored by many.

pope-john-paul-iiIn recent years the Church has worked tirelessly to help people understand what Christ, and consequently the Church teaches regarding human dignity, sex, and why it is important to understand how these subjects intertwine. Pope John Paul II began this process with a series of talks that would later be compiled together as the Theology of the Body.

Theology of the Body emphasizes the sacredness of the body and how when we understand the true nature of our bodies- that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that the gift of our bodies have the ability to make visible the invisible mystery of God’s love- we can not only come to know and love God in a manner that is impossible to do in any other fashion, but we can know and love one another in a much deeper and spiritual manner as well.

Continuing Pope John Paul II’s work and as part of the New Evangelization movement, Ascension Press has been active in helping to bring the Theology of the Body to the forefront of Catholic education. Their new program, You: Life, Love, and The Theology of the Body, seeks to remind us that we are worth more than the world says; that we have an inherent dignity that sets us apart and can bring us to happiness, joy, and communion with God and one another.

You: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body

The You program is amazing. With inspirational presenters, captivating visuals, and down to earth advice, You connects with teens and parents alike. The program first builds a firm foundation regarding human nature, love, and responsibility and then tackles the difficult subjects that our teens are faced with today- pornography, masturbation, premarital sex, same sex attraction and marriage, and gender issues. It does this all the while reminding them of Christ’s love for each and every person.

This modern interpretation of age old teachings tie in Scripture references and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a way that makes sense and that will resound in the hearts and minds of all those who watch the videos and read the books. The program consists of 5 DVDs, an instructor’s guide, a student workbook, and a parent’s guide. It can easily be used by schools, religious education classes, youth groups, a homeschool program, or even within a small group setting. Additionally, this isn’t made simply for teens. Adults who wish to learn more about the Theology of the Body would benefit greatly from this course.

You is not just another chastity program that says, “Don’t have sex! You’ll regret it!” Instead, it reminds us that human beings are created for love and created for communion. Our bodies don’t make sense on their own, but when we view them in the light of chastity, respect, communion, and love, we can see how beautiful and important the human body truly is.

Our society wants us to believe that what we want right now is all that matters. It has taken the words chastity, purity, and sacrifice and given them negative meanings. Chastity frees us from the attitude that it’s ok to use others and to allow ourselves to be used by others and instead opens our hearts to love- both to give love and to receive love. The You program shows us how living a chaste life, as we are all called to live, can bring us not only happiness but true freedom and love.

For those who are nervous to teach on this subject, You provides everything you need to teach the class. The instructor’s guide is broken down by session and provides notes, prayers, ways to engage the students, ice breakers, different activities to connect with the teens, and for those who need it, a complete breakdown of how to run the class including minute by minute instructions. This program can be used for beginners or veteran teachers alike.

The DVDs are simply amazing. Set against beautiful backdrops, well-known Catholic speakers who are vibrant, engaging, and relatable talk to the teens in a way that captivates them. The videos, while varying in length, seem to always last just the right amount of time. Some are longer (about 10 minutes), while others are short (about 3 minutes). But the message they each carry will speak right to the viewer’s heart.

The student workbooks are engaging and informative. They dive into the topics raised within the videos and they help the teens immerse themselves in a very meaningful way. With encouragement to “take it to prayer”, random tidbits and facts throughout, and review questions both at the end of each section and at the end of each chapter, students “will discover the truth about their bodies, their sexuality, and their unique call to love.”

The parent’s guide briefly reviews what the teen will cover in each lesson, provides questions to ask the teens, and family applications to help teens live out the teachings they are learning. The guide is an invaluable source for parents who wish to connect with their teens but may not know how to. .

You impresses upon our teens what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman and why this is important. It reminds us that we are each created not only out of love, but we are created for love. It helps us answer the question “who am I?” It tells us that purity “isn’t being numb to the beauty of God’s creation of masculinity and femininity” but instead that purity allows us to see the beauty of masculinity and femininity the way God wants us to- through a lens of true love and respect.

If you are looking for a program that will help you to teach the your teen how to live an authentic life of freedom, love, and happiness; if you are looking to guide your teen through confusing and challenging topics such as same sex attraction and marriage, pornography, and gender issues; if you wish to teach your teen that true love involves sacrifice, discipleship, chastity, and charity, then You: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body is the perfect program to try.

If you are interested in this program (and I promise you will love it!), check out Ascension Press’s website. Here you will find this program and many other resources to help you on this journey toward love, respect, chastity, and faith.

created for love

 

I was given this program in return for my honest review. I am not being compensated for this review.

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Understanding the Gift of Human Sexuality: An Interview with Jason Evert

understanding the gift of human sexuality

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my interview with Jason Evert who will be a speaker at the Theology of the Body Congress being held in Ontario, California next week. He will speak on homosexuality and the Theology of the Body.

jason-evertJason Evert is a renowned speaker and author known for his talks on chastity. Together with his wife Crystalina, Mr. Evert connects with both the young and the old; the faithful and those of little or no faith, as well as those who are seeking answers to the questions that have been set upon their hearts. Through the Chastity Project, various social media outlets, through seminars and talks, and through a new program entitled YOU, Mr. Evert seeks to empower, educate, and prepare the next generation to share the vision, the knowledge, and the love that comes from understanding God’s gift of human sexuality.

We began our interview talking about the new videos on Theology of the Body for teens entitled YOU: Life, Love, and Theology of the Body (which I will have a review of on Wednesday) and continued to tackle a few hot button topics.  

Once again, I feel that Mr. Evert’s words need to be heard in their entirety and so I present our interview in a question and answer format. I pray that you will be inspired, encouraged, and empowered by the wisdom that he shares today.

Q. You are well known for talking about chastity to teens, how do you think the new videos will reach out to a new generation of teens and young adults as opposed to other ways you have brought chastity talks to them?

The previous generation of Theology of the Body for Teens that we came out with was great at the time 10 years ago. Today teens are struggling with brand new issues that weren’t even on the radar 10 years ago. For example, I was talking to a young woman who wanted to go to college at Stanford and as a part of the application process she had to pick a gender… there were 18 genders to pick from and the two genders that were missing were male and female. They weren’t even an option. This wasn’t on the radar 5 years ago let alone 10.

There are questions like “what is marriage?” What does it mean to be male and female? These are fundamental issues that teens really need to have to have a solid understanding of in order to understand God’s plan for their lives. So this new version is really cutting edge in terms in being able to offer solid guidance, not just to teens but to educators to answer these tough questions.

Q. Is it just for use in schools or catechism programs or would families benefit from it as well?

Whether it is a homeschool family or a child who goes to a public school and the parents want to make sure they are getting a truly authentic education in human sexuality rather than “that’s it”… for home use or you can do it with group study, Ascension Press has a really neat offering that if you only had 4 people who wanted to do the study as a group you can just do the digital videos so you pay for the workbooks and don’t have to buy the dvds- you can get free streaming online of all the digital content.

There are 10 chapters, each chapter is about a half hour long and covers all kinds of content- homosexuality, pornography, modesty, vocations, starting over… it’s not just a chastity program. It goes much deeper into identity and John Paul’s full understanding of what the Theology of the Body is.

Q. At the Congress you will be talking about those who experience same sex attraction. How does TOB give clarity and hope to those who experience same sex attraction?

We need to take a good look at our language when we are talking about this topic. A lot of times people speak, “Oh that’s a gay person” “That’s a lesbian person”, “That’s a straight person.” But this isn’t really a Catholic way to talk about what it means to be a human being. What I mean by that is that there really aren’t like 9 different kinds of people. There are really only three kinds of people according to the Catholic understanding of that word.

A person is a rational being, so how many different types of rational beings are there? Well there are three- the Divine Persons- the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are angelic persons, which are the holy angels and the fallen angels. And then there is the human person made male and female in the image and likeness of God. And that’s it.

Our personhood, our identity, the deepest truth of that is that you are either a son of God or a daughter of God. Our sexual attractions are not the defining factor of our human identity and if we make our sexual attractions the core of who we are, then we will think that our life and our identity is being stifled and we can’t act out on those attractions.

An attraction is something I experience; your personhood is that you are a son of God or a daughter of God. And typically our behavior will flow from our identity. And so if we can first understand foremost who we are as beloved children of God, then our behavior will flow from that. John Paul provides an adequate anthropology, a sufficient understanding of what it means to be a human person. The only adequate response to another person is love. Not only to give that love but also to receive that love.

Q. In trailer I found a quote that was perfect for this conversation, “Being you is not all about you; you are a gift to the world when you love as God loves you.” How does this tie into the Congress and how will you bring this ideology to the Congress?

One challenge with this generation of young people is there is so much centered on myself- I’ve got my Instagram, I’ve got my Facebook, I’ve got my Twitter and I need to tell everyone what I am doing and share the picture of me when I look the best. There is a bit of an overemphasis on me and what I feel. Even with the gender issue of today, what I feel is who I am… regardless of what my body parts are, what I truly am is who I think I am. What the TOB does is call us to step outside of that and say “you are more than just your feeling; you have been created to make a gift of yourself. Stamped into your body is not just parts that you can do away with; stamped into your body is the sign of complementarity that you’ve been created to make a gift of yourself.” That might come within marriage, it might come with priesthood or religious life, or it might come within serving in your community, by making a gift of yourself and by giving of yourself that’s how you truly find yourself.

Q. Our kids are bombarded by society telling them that they should do what makes them feel good and to do what they want and that the Church’s teachings on the sacredness of sex and love are not important. How do we combat this ideology when the world’s voice is so much louder than our own?

There is a lot that we can do. And what we have in our favor is that their minds are made for the truth, their hearts are made for love, and the Church’s teaching on human sexuality truly offer them both.

John Paul II was asked, “If you could only keep one passage from scripture and all the rest had to be gotten rid of, what would it be?” He said, “The truth can set you free.” The truth is that the Church’s teaching on human sexuality is not just a litany of rules, regulations, and prohibitions. The Church’s teaching on human sexuality is really what the human heart longs for. Do we really want a love that is forced or conditional or temporary or lifeless? No, we want a love that is free, total, faithful, and fruitful.

It’s not that the Vatican is imposing these things on us; this is what the human heart truly wants. Unfortunately our world has sold young people this false notion of freedom- that in order to be free you just got to do whatever you want. Sometimes true freedom isn’t doing whatever you want; sometimes freedom is having the ability to do what you do not want in order to do what’s best for another person. The Church teaches that your freedom is best measured by your capacity to love. Anything that inhibits your ability to love- lust, selfishness, pride, ego- those things limit my ability to love to that extent I’m not free.

This language of John Paul II doesn’t argue from the outside in- these are all the rules that you have to follow; instead it argues from the inside out- what is it that you really long for? As a result, even though the world may be louder, the Church’s teachings really resound within the hearts of the young people when they are proclaimed in their fullness.

Q. How can parents incorporate TOB into their family lives so that when they talk to their children their kids won’t just tune them out but will want to listen and want to be responsive?

One thing you could do is study it within your own family. If you’ve got middle school students Ascension Press has a program called Theology of the Body for Teens, Middle School Addition-for 6, 7, 8th graders. For the High school addition not only do they have the dvds that you can watch a home, but they also have the parent guide that you can follow.

The nice thing with TOB is that you can start really young with some of these teachings about what it means to make a gift of yourself. Affirming them when they are young- “Dear Jesus thank you for making little Mike a boy and for making little Sarah a girl and for making Mommy a girl and daddy a boy.” These understandings of what it means to be male and female that we may have taken for granted 10 years ago, need to be affirmed in the young people.

And just starting them with this idea of the gift of self and that you really find yourself by giving of yourself- what are ways that Mommy can give herself to Daddy and ways that Sally can give herself to Joe in our family to love one another. Whether it’s by surprising someone by doing the laundry or doing the dishes without being asked, now, what do you feel after making that gift of yourself?

It’s starting them when they are really young with the principles of the gift of self, of modesty, of the goodness of being male and female in the image and likeness of God.

Parents need to get over any insecurity they have when it comes to talking about human sexuality. Some parents are scared to death, “What if they ask me if I was a virgin?” “What about this?” You need to get over it. If you don’t talk to your kids about the meaning of human sexuality, the world is very happy to fill that void of your silence with a very contradictory message. I don’t care if your parents never talked to you about it or if you feel awkward; sometimes awkwardness is part of the authenticity of it.

Q. What is the most important concept you hope that the Congress goers will come away with from the Congress in general or from your talk?

I hope they will be empowered to take this message to the masses- whether it be in a religion class, their young adult bible study, CCD classes… whatever it is… we need an army of people proclaiming this message of TOB. It’s really a treasure that the Church has been entrusted with. My open prayer is that people will leave this conference feeling empowered and educated and equipped to go forth with these new tools that the Church has been given… that people will feel ready and excited to take this message to others.

Please keep Mr. Evert and all those who are sharing the gift of Theology of the Body in your prayers. He asks that we particularly pray for the fruitfulness of the program.

If you are interested in learning more about the Theology of the Body Congress, please visit their website. The Congress runs from September 23-25th in Ontario, CA. You can read more about it here as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Ascension Press’s new Theology of the Body program entitled YOU: Life, Love, and Theology of the Body, please visit their website (and come back on Wednesday when I review the complete program!)

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Theology of the Body Congress: Hope for a Broken World

 

theology of the body congress

There is no denying that our world is broken. We only have to turn on the television or read the news online or in print to know that our world is hurting. As a result of this brokenness, we see our society seeking to change what it means to be a family. As concerned parents we have to wonder how we can prepare our families to remain faithful to God’s vision and hope for the family.

Between 1979 and 1984 St. Pope John Paul II began giving Wednesday audiences known as “Theology of the Body”. In his talks he spoke of the beauty and dignity of the human body. He reminded the Church that each person was made in the image and likeness of God and that the human body therefore had a specific meaning- it made visible an invisible reality. Instead of being made simply for personal pleasure or gain, the body was capable of answering fundamental questions about life but also was able to give us the means to love others in the way that God loves us. It is through the God-given gift of our human bodies, made both male and female, that we are able to find true happiness and fulfillment.

TOB for every bodyTheology of the Body is not simply for married couples or for those wishing to teach their teens how to stay chaste. These of course are wonderful reasons to study Theology of the Body, but TOB is made for all people. It is for those who are single, those who are married, for the anxious teen, the celibate priest or religious, for those who are in relationships, those who wish to instruct others, and most importantly it is for families. TOB reaches into each and every facet of our lives and helps to educate us all on the beauty and the sacredness of the human body.

This coming September in Southern California The Theology of the Body Institute will host a Congress to bring St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to all those who wish to discover the joy and freedom that comes from understanding the sacred gift of the human body.

The Institute’s mission reads, “…the 2016 TOB Congress will propose a powerful vision of sexual complementarity that reaches the core of what it means to be human, made in the image of the God Who truly is a Family – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Through presentations from experts in the field of TOB, participants will encounter God’s plan for fruitful, self-giving love, which lies at the very heart of what the family is meant be, as well as ways of ministering to the human family on the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and sociological level.”

TOB

The three day Congress will be led by over 30 powerhouse Theology of the Body experts and enthusiasts including Greg and Julie Alexander, Christopher West, Jason Evert, Dr. Pia De Solenni, Bill Donaghy, Dr. Angela Franks, Matt Fradd, Fr. Sean Kilcawley, Sr. Regina Marie Gorman, O.C.D., as well as many more amazing men and women dedicated to sharing the joy and freedom that comes from understanding God’s intent for the human body.

Through keynote speakers, break-out sessions, and panel discussions Congress goers will have the opportunity to hear how TOB relates to numerous topics that affect our lives- pornography, teenage sexuality, infertility, same sex attraction, the struggles of married life, the struggles of family life, teens in a digital age, TOB for singles, TOB for feminists, divorce, and many other issues.

In the coming weeks here at Catholic Sistas we will be featuring interviews with a few of the keynote speakers from the Congress. We are honored to be able to share with our readers the insights these amazing individuals have gained through study, through prayer, and through their everyday lives. Not only have they dedicated their lives to learning about the sacredness and beauty of the human body and how it relates to love of self, love of others, and most importantly love of God, but they also seek to live their lives embracing these tenets as well.

We hope that you will be inspired by their stories and encouraged by their advice. We hope that they will bring hope to you in a time where hope often seems to be lacking.

 

male and femaleOur human bodies are sacred and wonderful. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. They can lead us into a fuller and deeper relationship with not only one another but ultimately with God. It is through our humanity that we can come to know God. Theology of the Body gives us the insights and the tools we need to grow closer to one another and to our Father.

If you are interested in attending the Theology of the Body Congress in Ontario, CA from September 23-25, 2016, please check out the TOB Congress website here. You can read about their mission, you can view the complete lineup of speakers and their topics, and you can register for the Congress.

If you are interested in learning more about the Theology of the Body but can’t attend the Congress, check out the Theology of the Body Institute website here. “The Theology of the Body Institute spreads the life-giving message of Theology of the Body through graduate level courses, on-site speaker programs and clergy enrichment training. Theology of the Body Institue seeks to penetrate and permeate the culture with a vision of true sexuality that appeals to the deepest yearnings of the human heart for love and union.”

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for interviews with some of these amazing speakers! I promise you will not only learn about the importance of the Theology of the Body in all aspects of your life but you will also be inspired and entertained!

tob pope john paul II

 

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Where is the Cry to Ban Porn?

There are now two dead girls and one who is forever changed because they were gang raped by boys who then posted pictures and videos of those rapes online. Where is the outrage that politicians are giving to the gun debate?  Oh, right, porn isn’t on their agenda. It’s not even on their radar. Well, it’s on mine. And I’ll tell you why.

I was sexually abused as a small child. Most people know that about me. However, the part I rarely talk about are all the boys and men who followed, who took advantage of me because of that experience, using me for their own enjoyment.

I was used by man after man. Boys talked me into doing things that, had the Internet existed and our exploits gone public (as they so often do now), I would have been horrified for the world to see. It was bad enough that most  people in my town knew through gossip.

The reason I hate talking about the promiscuity that followed my sexual abuse is because I know I share the responsibility for that behavior. Yes, boys used me and talked me into things I didn’t want to do, but most of the time, I chose to let them.  Only once was I actually force into sex and even then, it wasn’t so much fighting an assault, but acquiescing to the man so it would be over as soon as possible.

So I know what these girls are going through. Yet there’s a huge difference in what happened to girls in my generation and what is happening to the girls of this one.  We didn’t have the Internet, cell phones with cameras, or even cell phones at all. I’m not sure we’d be alive today if we’d had. But there is one important similarity between the women of my generation and the girls today: both are plagued by fatherless homes and easy access to porn. The “boys will be boys” mentality probably plays as big a role today, too, in the acceptance of casual sex.

Whenever it’s suggested we need to examine our attitudes toward sex and porn, people balk at the idea because in our “me first!” culture, this could change how we have “fun.” We don’t want to think porn is wrong and contributes to sex being so abused in our culture. Because maybe then we’d have to face our own porn use…our own contribution to this problem.

Many kids (including mine) have seen their parents engaged in non-marital, intimate relationships. Go to a club on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll see two crowds: the college kids and the “single mothers” who are there for “Ladies’ Night.” Sometimes the women are the same young age, but for the mothers at least, the fact that they are at a club means the kids are home with a babysitter. Nothing is wrong with Mom having fun with her friends once in a while. But when your kids see that Mom’s (or even Dad’s) life revolves around having romantic relationship after romantic relationship, that becomes normal for them. Children learn through example, after all. 

And while Mom is out clubbing, where is Dad? Not at home…not even in the family, most of the time. It’s fairly normal today for kids to be raised in fatherless households. I’d go further and say many kids really grow up parent-less, not just fatherless. Even when children are fortunate enough to live with two parents, the parents are often either glued to their phone or computer, working all the time, or chauffeuring the kids to a thousand activities. Being a parent is much more than that.

I didn’t always know this. I was a self-centered mom for most of my kids’ lives (and may still be, considering I just told my son, “I’ll talk to you about anything you want when I’m done writing my post!”). Parenting is about talking to kids and teaching/guiding them on how to make good decisions, holding them accountable when they make bad ones, and applauding them when they make good ones. Nowadays a lot of parents think that it means defending their kids against anyone who wants to hold them accountable for anything.

But even more damaging than kids receiving no guidance and not being held accountable for poor choices is the easy access to porn. Porn is a contributing factor in most sexual assaults, because kids today have 24/7 access to hardcore, violent porn. When my husband was a teen who wanted to look at porn, there was a whole set of hoops to jump through: getting someone to buy the magazine for him, the embarrassment in ASKING someone to buy it for him, and then finding a place to look at it. Today, there’s no shame at all attached to looking at porn, much less any difficulty in accessing it.

Before my conversion, I watched porn, all kinds of porn, and the stuff I’ve seen that kids can access for free on iPods shocked the hell out of me. Teens with raging hormones and access to that kind of violent porn will act out at some point. Many people–even those who watch porn regularly–don’t realize that rape is the most common plot in porn movies.

But most adults in our culture glorify or at least ignore the dangers of porn. At worst, it’s “No big deal for consenting adults.” But we’re forgetting our children learn to behave by watching the behavior of adults. If Dad “checks out” Kim  Kardashian, then teen boys are going to think it’s okay to do the same. If they find porn on their parents’ computers or phones, they’re going to Google how to get more on their iPods and own phones. Before long, they will want to live out these titillating scenes. And it doesn’t take much convincing for a group of boys to think it’s okay to imitate what they see in porn by raping a drunk girl.

Porn is everywhere, even in the grocery store aisle, folks. I opened a copy of Cosmo the other day for the first time in forever and holy moly…there were articles about sex clubs, orgies, girl-on-girl sex, and masturbation. The whole thing from cover to cover was sex, sex, and more sex. My 11-year old could buy that magazine.

Why do we wonder what is behind the epidemic of rape in our society? Isn’t it obvious?

As adults, we are the only ones who can help our children. Do we have what it takes to look at our lives and make the changes needed for the sake of our kids? I hope so, because if we don’t, there will be a lot worse things happening to our kids in the future. I wish our nation’s president was nearly as concerned with our youth’s access to porn as he is with their access to guns. As long as we’re banning things that harm our children, where is the cry to ban porn?