Providing and promoting a family-centered Catholic approach to chastity education
Connect

Executive Director Updates

“Be Not Afraid”

By Brenda Cerkez

pope-john-paul-ii

I speak regularly with moms and dads from around the United States and occasionally from other countries as well. Everyone has a story about how their son or daughter has been impacted by the latest ‘politically correct’ mandate at their school or in their community. I know your concerns for your own children, and also for the daughters and sons of friends and family members, and I share those concerns. It’s a tough and troubling time to be raising children, whether they are teens, pre-teens or even young ones.

As you know, our day-to-day work at Family Honor consists of bringing light, clarity, practical tools, encouragement and a variety of resources and programs to parents that provide real help in your very important role as mothers and fathers.

This month, by way of encouragement, we’d like to revisit one of the ‘foundation stones’ upon which Family Honor’s parent-empowering philosophy is built. That document is Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), which was issued by Pope John Paul II in 1981. We think it remains just as relevant today as it was when it was written.  Below is an excerpt. It’s interesting to note what is said about the parent role in sex education.

Educating in the Essential Values of Human Life 

37. “Even amid the difficulties of the work of education, difficulties which are often greater today, parents must trustingly and courageously train their children in the essential values of human life. Children must grow up with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere life style and being fully convinced that “man is more precious for what he is than for what he has.” [100]

In a society shaken and split by tensions and conflicts caused by the violent clash of various kinds of individualism and selfishness, children must be enriched not only with a sense of true justice, which alone leads to respect for the personal dignity of each individual, but also and more powerfully by a sense of true love, understood as sincere solicitude and disinterested service with regard to others, especially the poorest and those in most need. The family is the first and fundamental school of social living: as a community of love, it finds in self-giving the law that guides it and makes it grow. The self- giving that inspires the love of husband and wife for each other is the model and norm for the self-giving that must be practiced in the relationships between brothers and sisters and the different generations living together in the family. And the communion and sharing that are part of everyday life in the home at times of joy and at times of difficulty are the most concrete and effective pedagogy for the active, responsible and fruitful inclusion of the children in the wider horizon of society.

Education in love as self-giving is also the indispensable premise for parents called to give their children a clear and delicate sex education. Faced with a culture that largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something common place, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure, the educational service of parents must aim firmly at a training in the area of sex that is truly and fully personal: for sexuality is an enrichment of the whole person-body, emotions and soul-and it manifests its inmost meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love.

Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents.

In this context education for chastity is absolutely essential, for it is a virtue that develops a person’s authentic maturity and makes him or her capable of respecting and fostering the “nuptial meaning” of the body. Indeed Christian parents, discerning the signs of God’s call, will devote special attention and care to education in virginity or celibacy as the supreme form of that self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality.

In view of the close links between the sexual dimension of the person and his or her ethical values, education must bring the children to a knowledge of and respect for the moral norms as the necessary and highly valuable guarantee for responsible personal growth in human sexuality.

For this reason the Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information dissociated from moral principles. That would merely be an introduction to the experience of pleasure and a stimulus leading to the loss of serenity-while still in the years of innocence-by opening the way to vice.”

 


 

Typically, we book many of our fall, winter and spring programs during the summer, and then continue to book additional programs through the fall. This year, however, in addition to requests from our long-time parishes and other host sites, we are getting a significant amount of program requests from parishes and dioceses around the country where we either have not been before or where we have not been in a long time. So, we are suggesting to anyone who wants a Family Honor program in their area this year: please contact us soon!

Our newest program, Leading & Loving, is proving to be popular, as a unique offering for those who are parents of young children and a program that is also available with Spanish-language materials. (No children attend this program.) Young parents also seem to appreciate the opportunity to dialog with other parents in small group break out sessions.

Real Love & Real Life, our program for parents with their 8th grade son or daughter, continues to be popular as well. Typically, parents with adolescents in this age range are noticing the moodiness and other changes happening with their teen and are interested in any additional help they can get in strengthening their relationship with their teen and being able to answer some of the hard question that adolescents can pose at this age.

Changes & Challenges, although not delivered as frequently, remains a great ‘first step’ for many parents of 6th graders, as a way to gently introduce the topic of changes and maturation for these young people.

To find out more about scheduling a program, please call us at: 803.929.0858 or 864.275.2871. We look forward to hearing from you.

FEBRUARY MESSAGE