Family Honor’s parent-empowering, family-centered approach helps parents to feel more competent and confident in discussing God’s gift of sexuality with their children and teens. Alison Griswold is a Youth Minister in Hilton Head, South Carolina, a Family Honor presenter and a regular contributor to Parent and Teen Tips. Alison talked with her mom about the impact Family Honor programs have had on her family and parenting and shares her reflections here.
In 1995, Barbara Griswold attended her first Family Honor program, Real Love & Real Life, with her oldest daughter. Over the years, she brought two more daughters to the program. Family Honor’s Real Love & Real Life program began a conversation that would continue as her children attended high school, college, and as they began careers and families of their own.
While parenting is certainly not an easy task, Barbara likened fostering the virtue of chastity in her children to other aspects of promoting a healthy lifestyle, such as providing children proper nutrition. She explained, “As our children grow, we provide food that will promote good health because we want them to enjoy a long and happy life, as free as possible from pain, suffering and disease.” Barbara continued, saying that, “The same principle applies to chastity education. I wanted my kids to understand and enjoy emotional, spiritual, and sexual health, so I was sure that they were given information that promoted those values.” An important part of cultivating spiritual, emotional and sexual health in her children was attending Family Honor’s programs, where Barbara said “The beauty of God’s plan for sexuality was presented as a way of life for the whole family.”
The ideal of chastity was never compromised with information about condoms or birth control as a back up. This, Barbara explained, would have sent a mixed message and a lack of confidence in their self-control and ability to live a virtuous life. Furthermore, “Misleading them on this critical aspect of their well-being would be like giving them junk food– or worse, poison– rather than healthy and nourishing food.”
Like many parents, Barbara shared that a difficult aspect of chastity education has been the “incessant deluge of harmful messages coming from all sides, often from so-called ‘experts’”. Family Honor affirmed that while many “experts”—doctors, teachers, the media, and even some spiritual leaders—may offer their opinions about current trends and ideas, parents are still the experts of their children and parents know what is best for them.
Where can parents go to find reliable information? Barbara compares the Theology of the Body and Family Honor to a “stream of living water—even in the sewage of our culture of death—refreshing and fortifying parents and their children with the beautiful truth about God’s gift of sexuality.”
While her middle school aged children may not have been excessive in their gratitude for participating in Family Honor, now that her three daughters are adults, they realize just how different life is when the virtue of chastity is introduced and encouraged. Barbara and her daughters are solid proof that a parent’s involvement in developing the virtue of chastity does make a world of difference!