This is an entirely hypothetical scenario, because my daughter is only 12, and I’m not planning on her dating for at least another fifteen or twenty years, if not more. However, the sad fact is that, contrary to my entirely reasonable wishes, the dating scene is going to start in three or four years — and that’s just the stuff I’ll know about and can control. Thanks to the parent grapevine, I’m completely aware that the more precocious kids at my daughter’s middle school (meaning 12 through 14 year olds) are already getting into trouble with sex.
The school is trying its best. When Valentine’s Day became too sexualized, the school simply canceled it. Students are not allowed any Valentine’s Day observations on campus. I don’t know how effective that cancellation has been, and I don’t know whether it happened before or after the two 8th grade girls were caught in the bathroom at a dance orally servicing a long line of boys, but I still appreciate that the school is trying.
You really can’t blame the children. They live in a hyper-sexualized culture. At home, I’m preaching self-respect and abstinence (and backing that up with classic movies in which the women were strong, charming and virginal), but at their schools, they’re discussing Lady GaGa (whose costumes are so revealing they’ve sparked rumors she’s a hermaphrodite); obscenity laden rap songs (which the 11 year olds know by heart); the fact that Miley Cyrus has become a “slut;” and the sexual escapades of John Edwards. No matter what I do, my kids are exposed to a sexual morality I find disturbing and demeaning. Fortunately my kids are still young enough to be disgusted by these various behaviors, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re being steered into thinking sex is simply a commodity, with anything short of actual intercourse falling into the “innocuous” category.
All of which explains why I’m so taken with Tim Tebow. Here you have a young man who is handsome, charismatic, and an extraordinary athlete — and he’s also proud about saving himself for marriage. Despite the manifest temptations that being a star athlete must present, he’s open about his virginity. The jaded press may giggle in shock and embarrassment but I, as a mom, am deeply impressed:
What’s so important about Tebow is that people cannot claim that he’s a virgin simply because he’s too pathetic to get a girl. Instead, this moral dynamo is a virgin because he’s taken a principled stand that is inextricably intertwined with respect for himself, for the women he dates (and I assume he does date), and for the woman he will eventually marry. I can’t think of a better lesson for young people. And that’s why I want my daughter to date a man like Tebow: someone who has principles every mother can love, and who, in a culture obsessed with sex, is proud of those principles.
Incidentally, despite the fact that 99% of the families in my ultra liberal community would draw back in revulsion at the thought of their child dating an evangelical Christian, I can guarantee you that 100% of them would be dancing on air if they knew that their daughter’s date, because of a deep commitment to and reverence for women and the sanctity of marriage, wasn’t trying to get his hands in their daughter’s pants.
I’m also very appreciative of the fact that Tebow’s sudden prominence outside of football circles (I, for example, wouldn’t have heard of him but for the Superbowl kerfuffle) coincides with a solid study showing that abstinence education is the best way to prevent kids from having sexual intercourse. You and I have always understood that if you give kids step by step instructions, complete with condoms and cucumbers, in how to have sex, they might be inclined to have sex. For the educated class, however, it took a vast study, complete with a large control group exposed to those condoms and cucumbers, to establish what we knew intuitively: if you emphasize that our bodies are precious, that modern science cannot protect people from diseases and unplanned pregnancies, and that there is a deep measure of self-respect and respect for others that goes with abstinence, you will have healthier, safer children.
UPDATE: And here comes the perfect example of the media’s constant desire to turn our children into sex objects. These are twisted people who seek to validate their unsavory approach to life by co-opting our children. People like Tim Tebow are vital to counteracting this cultural rot.