My situation was kind of ironic. I was sitting in the church listening to this fantastic chastity speaker exactly one year after the birth of my only grand child - a little girl born outside of wedlock to my then 18-year-old son. And that's only half of it. Two of my other sons have cohabitated with their girlfriends for years.
As I listened to Mr. Evert's talk I checked off a list in my mind:
- Pray for my kids - check
- Talk to them about sex openly - check
- Explain God's plan for marriage- check
- Lots of talks at Franciscan University's Youth weekends.
- Love at home - check
- Involved parents - check
- Keeping them away from porn - check!
- Parents who try to walk the walk themselves - check!!
Mr. Evert does say in his book Raising Pure Teens, and he also said in his talk, that even the best father in the universe, God himself, has wayward children! That does make me feel somewhat better. But I still think there was a missing ingredient and after some reflection I think I know what part of it might be.
The parents of the girls my boys hooked up with, did not share our world view. And I think that is what tilted the balance out of our favor even after all the training and loving faithful teaching we put into our boys.
The first set of parents was Christian but without a faith tradition or a home church. The second set was Catholic and even sent their kids to Catholic school, although they felt their Sunday obligation was met by the school mass on Thursday. With both sets of parents, it was a struggle and almost a confrontation to get them to send our sons home at night. We would call our sons on their cells, and then called parents, and even went over to their homes to retrieve our prodicals! It was a constant battle with these folks and their excuses were "Well they're big kids now and we can't really tell them what to do."
No amount of lecturing, yelling, withholding of privileges or even disabling the car was able to overcome the low hurdle that these parents presented for our sons to get to their very willing daughters. And frankly, when the first two moved out with their girlfriends AND THEIR PARENTS at least it finally brought peace to our home and removed their influence with my younger children.
The third parent was a single mom. They lived in an apartment building which threw all sorts of red flags up for me. I wouldn't be able to drive by and make sure she was there when my son was visiting, and despite assurances that she was there when he was visiting, clearly that wasn't always the case. Every week our son would visit his girlfriend and talk about how her mother was always there because she was so tired from the work week. But once he was in that building we couldn't go in to get him, and he wouldn't return our calls. It changed his behavior, and now we know why.
I have three remaining children at home and this although Mr. Pete and I are continuing to all of what Mr. Evert suggested, we are doing a few other things as well.
- No jobs in high school. Maybe some seasonal work or Izzy could sell via her Etsy shop, but other than that, no regular part time work. I think there were a lot of influences at outside jobs for the two older boys that undermined us.
- No going steady in high school. I say that reluctantly because Mr. Pete and I are high school sweethearts but I just don't think that can be done in the 21st century.
- Our house is the house for the teens to come visit. We're making it the cool place to hang out and a safe place for the friends of our teens.
- We no longer trust that a parent will be there. If we call, and no parent can talk to us, we're coming over and our teen is coming home with us.
- Houses only. Absolutely no apartment visits.
- and only homes of parents we know to be practicing participating Catholics or devout church going Christians.
Go check it out at the This, That and the Other Thing Blog.