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The Email Slam

I was scheduled to visit the middle school today, to visit with students and let them know that some choices they can make today could change their lives in ways they never expected. I volunteer as a certified abstinence educator. I don’t get paid; I just do it because I care. I have a regular job so I do this at my own cost. Before I left for the school, I checked my email. On the waitformarriage website, I hear from those who are dealing with some pretty serious issues. Not often, but every once in a while I get hit squarely in the gut by someone who hates what I do. This morning was one of those days. The jist of the message was that I offered students “uneducated dribble”. I wish the comment didn’t hurt me so bad. You see, the writer is partly correct. I am “uneducated” in the sense I don’t hold a medical degree, or a counseling degree, or even a teacher’s certificate. But I promise you I have trained, researched and studied—often nightly. And even more important is my experience. I have traveled to schools for 8 years, talked to thousands of teens and I have seen and heard plenty of heartache. What I would tell this email writer is to go visit a home where a young teen is trying to raise a child born out of wedlock—usually in poverty. Go visit the school where the bathroom doors have been removed so as to prevent sexual activity. Try to explain to an 11 year-old child why performing oral sex on a group of boys every day isn’t healthy. There have been plenty of days when I could have given up, but then I remember the girl who waited in the rain for me. It was my second year “in the field” and as I lugged my presentation gear to my car, she was leaning against it. She had heard me speak about an hour earlier and wanted to talk. Her opening line? “How come you didn’t come last year?” Much later, after listening to her life story, I realized I never wanted to hear anyone say, “I wish you’d been here sooner”. So to the rabid e-mailer, I’m sorry if you think I speak uneducated dribble. But for teens across America, they need to hear the truth.


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