When I was first told about the youth column here at The Interim, I thought this was my chance to pick up my pen and let the creative juices flow. But as I sat there, paper on desk, pen in hand, no inspiration came to me.
What could I possibly have to write about? I come from a pretty simple family. I have no stories to tell about how I was once a wild teenager getting myself into trouble and then realizing life is about more than the here and now. I’ve always believed in and trusted God. I believe abortion is murder. I’m a virgin – I understand sex is sacred and beautiful and not to be wasted in casual relationships, but to be shared by two loving adults in marriage. What message could I possibly have to spread that hasn’t already been heard by all? And then I realized, this was my message – and it’s not as widespread as I thought.
Aware of reality
I guess people don’t need to hear another story about a reformed teenager who escaped the evils of society. People don’t need to hear about the troubles and pressures that young people face today – though it never hurts to be aware of what is a reality. But as I look around me – to strangers and friends – I see that what young people need today are other young people to stand up and say “I’m like you. I live in this same culture of death and lust. I know what’s out there. I’ve been faced with it. But, it hasn’t changed me. I’m still me.”
I firmly believe that teenagers – today more than ever – need role models. We need people we can look up to. Sure that’s the responsibility of parents and teachers. But it’s more effective if this leadership comes from young people.
I remember watching numerous presentations by the Chastity Challenge Team and local chastity groups in Toronto. I remember wanting to do the same – travel across Canada to high schools and spread the message of saving sex for marriage. But I was discouraged because I did not have a story to tell, like the other presenters, of how I was raped or promiscuous or an alcoholic or into drugs. I’ve never had these problems. What would I possibly say?
And then it hit me. Most of my friends are like me. I’d say eight out of 10 of my friends have never seriously dealt with any of these problems. And if my friends in any way reflect the majority of teenagers today, that means 80 per cent of young people are like me. Even if this percentage were lower, even if there were only 50 per cent, that’s still a large enough percentage of youth who are not represented or reflected in chastity presentations or the like. Don’t we need to see someone like us stand up and say “There’s a lot of people like you out there. I’m one of them.” So I’m taking this opportunity to say just that.
When people I know have confronted me and told me about their problems, such as a lack of faith, possibilities of being pregnant or having an STD because they were sleeping with their “partners,” or even having a serious hatred for their family, I found that I could be a help to them, not because I’ve been there and done that, but because I haven’t. What these people need to know is that there are those of us out there who believe in something higher than the flesh or the emotions. They need to know that if they choose the path of Truth, they will not be alone.
Wouldn’t it be upsetting, to say the least, if you were raped, for example, and talking to friends for advice you found out that they had all been raped too? While they may help you and give you good advice, it would be depressing to think your situation is the norm. But if you were seeking help from friends and none of them had been in your situation, it would be uplifting to know that kind of abuse and hatred was not a part of everyday life.
I have a few friends who are not living chaste lives. When I found out, I was hurt, yes, but I was scared more than anything else. This was the ultimate test. They needed to talk and I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? I’ve never been in their position. But, isn’t that the point? Maybe that’s why they came to me, because they know I believe in chastity. So I figure the greatest way for me to help them is to be their friend. And an example – which isn’t easy cause I’m human too. But at least this way I’m kept on my toes.
Evil won’t prevail
I don’t want to preach to them cause they’ve heard it all before. But their happiness won’t last because it’s an abuse of true happiness. It’s evil, and we know evil will not prevail. So I can pray for them (and I encourage you to keep my intentions in your prayers), and then I can be there for them, so that they see there are other options. And I can’t be quiet about it. I have to be proud to be who I am. And I am. And I’m confident that one day, when they realize that they’re not proud of themselves, they’ll remember me and those like me and consider a different lifestyle.
That’s how we help those in need. That’s how we’ll overcome this selfish society. We’ll be proud to stand up and lead others to true happiness. And one by one, our numbers will grow.