Damon Owens: Theology of the Body: Restoring the Culture of Life
Damon and his wife Melanie have been teaching and promoting Natural Family Planning (NFP) from Seton Hall University and throughout New Jersey since 1993. They serve as NFP Program Coordinators for the Archdiocese of Newark, and are founders of the New Jersey Natural Family Planning Association. Damon keeps a full speaking schedule at national conferences, marriage seminars, high schools, seminaries, and youth groups on the good news of sexuality, chastity, Theology of the Body, Theology of the Family, and NFP. Damon currently lives in West Orange, NJ with his wife Melanie, and their six young daughters and one young son.
Archive for August, 2012
Damon Owens: Theology of the Body: Restoring the Culture of Life
In July, families from around the United States gathered at St. Mary Magdalene church, in Simpsonville, South Carolina to participate in Family Honor’s Theology of the Body: Hope & Healing conference. Co-sponsored by the Diocese of Charleston, some of the foremost experts on Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body shared insights on a variety of topics. Click here to listen to a sample of some of the talks.
“‘Sexting’ Associated with Risky Sexual Behavior in Girls”
It’s that time of year again! School has begun for many students around the United States and Family Honor programs are set to begin as well! This year, in addition to our Changes & Challenges program (for 5th and 6th graders and their parents) and our Real Love & Real Life program (for 7th and 8th graders and their parents), we are pleased to introduce our newest program, Leading & Loving!
Leading & Loving is designed for parents of young children, ages newborn to 4th grade. This parent-only program presents practical principles for Catholic parents and guides them in answering the challenging questions that even young children can ask. In Family Honor’s Leading & Loving program, parents learn how to be worthy role models; help their children grow in the virtue of chastity; and aid their children’s understanding and appreciation of God’s gift of sexuality.
This new program for Family Honor includes six one-hour sessions that include:
1. Sex – What does it really mean? How do I affirm this truth in my child?
2. The Language of Love – How do I speak it? How do I teach my child to be a loving person?
3. The Birds and the Bees – Teaching more than the facts: How do I answer my child’s questions with a sense of awe and wonder for God’s gift of sexuality?
4. Formation in Virtue – Raising Good Kids: How do I help my child grow in virtue?
5. Broken Heart – Dealing with the Tough Issues: How do I respond to my child age-appropriately, with truth and mercy?
6. Growing a Joyful, Faith-Filled Family: How do I cultivate a joyful family life
Leading & Loving will work with parents to create an individual plan for purposeful parenting. By providing hope, practical tools, and key basic concepts, this program strives to empower parents to become knowledgeable, confident, and competent leaders in their families.
Parents, be advised as to what movies you let your teens watch! According to a study from Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, those teens who watch movies with more sex scenes tend to engage in sexual activity at an early age and have more sexual partners.
The study, entitled “Greater Exposure to Sexual Content in Popular Movies Predicts Earlier Sexual Debut and Increased Risk Taking,” was published in the journal, Psychological Science. It found that sexual content is not restricted to PG-13 or R rated movies. Researcher found that 68% of G-rated movies contain sexual content.
Parents, you can help your teens by monitoring what kinds of media they watch and discuss the scenes that are in movies and television programs. If you need help with these discussions, visit Family Honor’s website for some tips!
Many of you have attended a Family Honor program with your teen. You know that Family Honor’s programs are age-appropriate. Our programs actually require parent or guardian attendance along with the teen. They encourage teens to make healthy decisions. And they teach teens why the Church says to save sex for marriage.
Now a report from the Federal Government is confirming everything that Family Honor demonstrates! (Read more)
The House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee released a report last month entitled “A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance.” The report looked at the theory and evidence behind both Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Abstinent Education and Sexual Rick Reduction (SRR) “Comprehensive” Sex Education. The report concluded that programs that emphasize risk avoidance are superior to programs that teach risk reduction.
The report also makes a powerful case for parental influence and guidance. “Teens navigate the challenges of adolescence primarily with the help of parents. As no one else can, parents attempt to make sure that their children stay centered and protected. Parental involvement is associated with educational success, improved health, positive self-esteem, and healthy relationships. Across the board, children who have a close relationship with their parents are less likely to have behavioral problems or engage in high risk behaviors.
Parental involvement is also important in delaying sexual activity among teens. In a nationally representative poll of teens aged 12-19, nearly half (46%) reported that parents had the most influence on their decisions about sex. In a study published by Child Trends, a group of researchers analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and found that parental involvement is associated with delayed sex among teens. In general, parental involvement, including communication and monitoring, is associated with reduced risk of teenage pregnancy. ”
Family Honor provides a family-centered Catholic approach to chastity education. All of our programs require parental attendance and are age-appropriate: Leading & Loving for parents who have children ages infant through 4th grade; Changes & Challenges for 5th and 6th graders; and Real Love & Real Life for 7th and 8th graders.
These programs offer teens and their parents’ information on:
• The challenges of puberty;
• Fertility appreciation, conception, and fetal development;
• Virtues and how to develop a virtuous life;
• Recognizing one’s true worth;
• Developing one’s whole self – Spiritually, Physically, Intellectually, Creatively, and Emotionally (S.P.I.C.E.)
• How to communicate with one’s family, friends, and others;
• And much more!
The report indicates that “Comprehensive” Sex Education programs have “done little in the last 20 years to impact rates of teenage pregnancy.” These programs “assume that teens cannot or will not practice abstinence which is not consistent with the evidence that most teens are choosing abstinence.” Research has shown that as teens try to navigate the treacherous waters of adolescence, often times without their parents’ help, they are frequently drawn to risky behaviors.
At Family Honor, we empower and encourage parents to talk with their teens confidently and competently about God’s gift of sexuality. We help you, as parents, to respond to your teens’ tough questions. We provide opportunities for parents to connect and communicate about life’s important problems. And we inspire you to instill the virtue of chastity in your child and share values with them that will last a lifetime!
Summer usually means freedom, fun, and new experiences! It gives you a chance to be with friends more – or get away and make some new friends. These experiences can be a great opportunity to grow in all your SPICE areas – Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative and Emotional.
Summer is also a great time to have some good bonding time with your family. Believe it or not, your parents do want to stay connected with you and they enjoy hearing about all the new experiences you are having. These ideas are ways YOU can take the lead to help your family have fun and grow closer.
Ways to Stay Connected:
- Bring armloads of comforters, pillows and blankets in front of the largest TV in the house and have movie night, all cozy together. Make sure you have lots of snacks.
- Build a campfire in the backyard (in a grill or fire pit), and roast hot dogs on sticks and make s’mores with chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers. Sit around, tell stories and enjoy the night air and sounds.
- Go miniature golfing together. Go to the dollar store ahead of time to get some tacky prizes for the winners, both old and young.
- If your parents work and you drive, ask if you can bring them lunch one day and eat with them. Or if you don’t drive, fix a lunch for your mom or dad and invite them to come home.
- Organize a neighborhood carnival with admission being food items for your local food pantry or St. Vincent de Paul Society.
- Invite your mom or dad to take a walk or bike ride with you. Parents can always use the exercise!
- If you’re involved in a youth group, invite your parents to chaperone a trip that you’ll be taking for the summer.
- Ask your mom or dad to teach you to cook breakfast and then offer to cook for the family before or after Sunday Mass.
- If you have a cell phone, leave it in your room (or some other place that you won’t hear or see it) when you’re eating with your family.
- Invite your mom or dad to get involved in a summer volunteer project with you.
- Volunteer to help your mom or dad clean out the garage, attic, or some closets and then organize a garage sale.
Summer signals change for the family. An extended break from the school routine creates the opportunity for new activities – even life-changing experiences for teens and their parents. Teens may be away from the family for extended time because of camps, service activities, summer jobs, or travel with relatives or friends. This is often a time when teens mature in those SPICE areas (spiritual, physical, intellectual, creatively and emotionally) because they are outside their comfort zone, meeting new people and challenging themselves.
Staying connected or strengthening your connection with your teen can happen as a result of finding times to share what is learned from those life changing summer experiences. And summer can also be a good time to create a few new and life changing experiences to share together as a family.
Ways to Stay Connected:
- If your child is going away for an extended time, volunteer to drive your child there or pick him/her up. If you’re picking up, stop for a meal and let your child share the highlights of the week with you while their phone battery is still un-charged and you’re not distracted by the rest of the family.
- If your child works late nights or has been away, have ice cream or their favorite snack ready when they get home. Sit at the table together and let them tell you about their experiences.
- Attend Mass together and go out for breakfast or dinner afterward to share what’s going on in each others’ lives. Or go home and cook breakfast or dinner together. Summer may also allow for establishing a weekday Mass routine.
- Make a lunch rendezvous. Even if you are still working at your job throughout the summer, you may be able to connect with your teen for a lunch date.
- Make at least one night a sacred family dinner night when no one schedules work, meetings, or other social activities. Take plenty of time at dinner to relax and catch up with each other about the experiences of the week.
- Find a game that you enjoyed as a child (like Monopoly, Sorry, Risk, Jenga) and teach your children how to play. Or work a 500 piece puzzle together. Lots of good conversations can happen during a game or over a puzzle.
- *Invite your teen to go along with you on an errand. If time allows, maybe you can stop for a refreshing drink or ice cream.
- *If you don’t already say bedtime prayers with your son or daughter, summer is a good time to start now that your teen is free of evening homework.
Create Your Own Connecting Experiences:
- Take on a summer family project. Organize family photos, plant a garden, clean out the garage and have a garage sale.
- Attend a ball game together or organize your own neighborhood family sports teams (tennis, baseball, badminton, croquet, volleyball, etc.) and have a tournament.
- Volunteer one week-end or one day a week at a local charity as a family. Need ideas? Call your parish office. Or volunteer to help with your parish’s Vacation Bible School.
- Find a festival, carnival, or show to enjoy together. These kinds of events usually open up one’s imagination to new creative ideas or creates time for fun and laughter.
- Take a day trip to a local pool, park, lake, or amusement park. Family fun times builds lasting memories.
- Encourage your teen to read the Teen Tips Page on this website. There are lots of good ideas there for your teen to initiate. Just be open!