50 Shades of Green: Fighting the Media’s Manipulation of our Youth

Hand with money

I open my classroom presentation with the following question, “Do you think we have a healthy sexual culture in our society?” An overwhelming majority of the class will reply, “No!” When I ask them what they think contributes to the unhealthy culture, media always garners the most votes. Yet, this is the same media that they freely consume without even a thought of the cost of such an unhealthy diet.

After we finish what is often a lengthy discussion about the negative impact of the media, I know I’ve gotten them to think about the media they consume in a different light. I love watching the "light-bulb moments" when they realize the media is manipulating them in order to make money.

Let me tell you, teenagers do not like being manipulated. But they love being challenged. If the media is the culprit behind our unhealthy sexual culture (and all the damage that inflicts), I ask them to consider their contribution to the demise of our culture. Then I challenge them to fight back against the manipulation with their dollars.

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That Time I Gave Birth to Twins

DVD Covers3

This time last year I was working on writing my first book for teen girls, The Seven Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You. Though I managed to finish the first draft, which was a major accomplishment for me, unfortunately you will not find that book on the shelves of any bookstore.

Let’s just say that for me, as a speaker, writing a book is much more daunting than standing in front of thousands giving a presentation. So, I decided that producing DVDs of my presentations might be a much easier undertaking. I was right!

While I have been working on the book in some form for several years, within a period of 6 months, from start to finish, my DVDs entitled, “Dreams, Decisions, Destinies: The Sex Talk Every Teen Girl/Guy Needs to Hear” were available for purchase. I felt like a proud mama who had just given birth to twins.

I have been blown away by the response to my “twins” that I have gotten from teens and parents alike. Below are just a few of the testimonials:

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Teen Girls Who Don’t Know their Value Become Women Who Don’t Know their Value

I've been told for years that adults need to hear my message just as much as teens do because my message transcends age.

Teenage girl and her mother crying

Though my most requested presentation falls in the category of “sex education,” it covers so much more than sex. I address how to have healthy relationships, what it means to value yourself, how to treat yourself and others with love and respect, how to live a life of discipline and self-control, as well as how to make decisions now that will benefit you long-term and not just for the short-term. These are principles that apply to both teens and adults alike.

What You Don’t Know Can/Does Hurt You!

So what happens when adults did not learn these things when they were teens? They end up dealing with the same issues that teens are dealing with, just much later in life and for a longer period of time.

I recently received the email message below that confirmed for me how important it is to teach this generation of young ladies their value so they do not end up battling with the issue of low self-worth when they are well into their adult years.

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Flowers Fit for a Funeral!

Growing up, I often heard older people say, “Give me my flowers while I can still smell them.” Many times, this was said after they had attended a funeral and left the funeral wondering whether the deceased had been told before he/she died all of the wonderful things that were said at the funeral.

White coffin with pink sympathy flowers

This past weekend I saw a great example of flowers being given to a person while she was still alive to smell them, and that quote from the older people came alive for me like it never has before.

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Saving Your Child from Driving over the Cliff!

 Fifteen-year-olds are not young adults. They are big kids. They are not ready to make major life-decisions on their own, and they will ultimately hold us adults accountable for not being there to put up a roadblock when they have their foot on the pedal and are [bent] on driving their lives off a cliff.
–Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Red car balancing on the edge of cliff above city.

At a recent presentation, a parent approached me afterwards to thank me for what I am doing and to tell me that I was speaking to her and about her because she was a teen parent. She also said she wished there had been someone around like myself to speak with her when she was a teenager.

What she said next really struck me:

I have been having a lot of problems with my 16-year-old daughter lately. She has been dating an older guy and making some bad decisions sexually.  She really needed to hear everything you said today. She is at home because she refused to come and now I am kicking myself for not making her come.

At this point in the conversation, I am a little confused. I don’t understand how a 16 year old can refuse to go to a presentation that may save her from a lot of pain, heartache and regret, especially when the mother already knows the daughter is making bad decisions in this area. This young lady is living in her mother’s house, sleeping in her mothers’ bed and eating the mother’s food. At what point does the mother step up as a parent and tell the daughter that she does not have a choice about whether she will attend or not?

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The Day I Changed What I Pray!

iStock_000005119542SmallThe other morning I woke up thinking about something that had happened the previous day that changed the way I pray every day.

Let me give you a little background. Before I go into a classroom or an assembly, I pray that God's Spirit will rest upon me as I speak.  I’m aware that His Spirit is always present on the inside of me. My prayer is that His Spirit also rests upon me so the students can sense His presence. I also take authority over every demonic spirit that will try to hinder the students from hearing and receiving my message of TRUTH.

You say the truth and I am happy you tell it like it is because that’s what my generation needs…the TRUTH. ~High School Student

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Are You Speaking Your Child’s Love Language?

HiResI know why girls search for love & try to get it any way they can. My parents never really loved me in the right ways and I have found that this guy does, but I am so desperate for someone’s love. ~High School Student

Does this young lady’s parents love her? I’m sure they do! The problem: They are not speaking her primary love language. In fact, this young lady did not say her parents did not love her. She said they never really loved her in the “right ways,” which has caused her to search for love from a guy.

The search for love in a teenager’s life can lead him or her to make some very dangerous and detrimental decisions. As a matter of fact, my experiences in the past twelve years of working with teens have led me to believe that at the heart of much of their misbehavior is the fact that many teenagers don’t feel loved, and subsequently don’t love themselves. 

Learn to Speak their Language

Watch the video below as Jackie shares information from the book, The Five Love Languages of Teens, in a parent workshop.

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3 Things Teens Say Can Prevent Them from Having Sex!

iStock_000014225228SmallAdults have a tendency to come up with solutions on their own for the issue of teenagers’ bad decision-making. So I decided to survey teens to see what they believe the solutions are. Below are some of the most common responses I received when I specifically asked students what they thought it would take to decrease the number of teenagers having sex:

1. Higher expectations from parents and adults!

I believe that if teens knew that their parents believed in them, parents would not be disappointed. ~High School Student

I have reconnected with many former students who told me the reason they had not had sex was because they didn’t want to disappoint me (not their parents, but me). For many of them, their parents expect them to be sexually active as a teen. I am saddened when I hear them say I have higher expectations of them than their own parents have.

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A Youth Pastor’s Experiences with Pornography

Java Printing

In my last post, I discussed how parents could lessen their child’s risk for exposure to pornography. As I said, it’s not a matter of if their child will be exposed to pornography, but rather when. This week, I will share a very enlightening interview I conducted with a Youth Pastor at a large, prominent church in the metro Atlanta area about what he sees in his interactions with the youth in his church.

It’s bigger than you think!

Jackie: How big of a problem do you think pornography is for teenagers based on what you see in your work as a Youth Pastor?

Youth Pastor: I have no doubt that pornography has become one of the biggest threats and attacks on teenagers today. I think it’s a bigger problem than drugs or alcohol, even more so with technological advances such as, smart phones, iPods and even gaming systems that can access the Internet. When I started in youth ministry 10 years ago, I would sometimes hear about struggles with pornography. As the years have advanced, it’s now one of the top issues I hear from teenagers as far as their struggles and for a lot of them it has become an addiction.

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5 Things That May Increase Your Teen’s Likelihood of Having Sex

mother shouting at doughterIt’s not easy being a parent today. Your teens are inundated with so many competing voices that influence their decision-making. I certainly empathize with the countless number of parents that have reached out to me over the years, seeking advice on how to talk with their teens about sex. Sometimes it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. So I thought it would be great to hear directly from teens.

I believe the following letters will speak for themselves…

1. Yelling:

I thought I was in love with this boy until your class.  My mother has always told me these things, but she yelled so I didn’t listen.  I really want to thank you. Now I will be a virgin until I’m married. 

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