The Ripple Effect: 2013 Edition

stones in a water

 

I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Theresa

 

If you are anything like I am, you are having a hard time believing that it is already 2014. It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the beginning of 2013. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I still marvel at the fact that I get to spend my days doing something I enjoy so much that it doesn’t feel like work.

Below are just a few of the things that happened in 2013 that have made my work so rewarding:

1.     Multiple students told me they had planned to have sex either that evening or that weekend but changed their minds after hearing my message.

2.     An 8th grade girl told me that she gained the courage while listening to my presentation, to report sexual abuse that she had endured for the past eight years.

3.     A young man gave me his condoms after class and said, “I won’t be needing these anymore because I’m done with sex.”

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If We Would Only Believe…

"YES you can" on chalkboardMany people believe that in order to influence teens to make good decisions we have to beat them over the head with the potential consequences of bad decisions or scare them into making good decisions.  I have been telling adults for years that it is not as difficult as they may think to positively influence teens’ decision making.

The following letter will show you just how simple it is:

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Six Things I Learned from a Former Student’s Phone Call

Cell PhoneI received a call Saturday from a soon to be 22 -year-old young lady who served on the leadership team of an after-school club I worked with when she was in high school.  I had not spoken with her since she graduated from high school.

She began by telling me she had wanted to talk with me for a couple years, but had just built up enough courage to call me. She was reluctant to call because she was ashamed of her decision to begin having sex at 19 years old. She was also afraid I would be disappointed in her.

As I listened to her talk about how she was parented and why she made the decision to have sex, I heard some very interesting things that I would like to share with you:

1. Children need rules and want high expectations!

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Guys Want to Hear More about “Protection” from a Sex Ed Teacher!


ProtectionI am very grateful when God gives me a new approach to use with young men to counteract the barrage of messages they get from the media encouraging them to have sex. This week, I will share a strategy I began implementing with guys about a year ago that has proven to be quite effective. And it’s not what you think!

I’ve found that guys are not always aware that the reasons why girls have sex, in many cases, are very different than their own. Guys are also often ignorant of the emotional impact of the sexual activity on girls.

In order to help guys understand the cause and effect of sex for many girls, I read them one of the thousands of letters that I have received from teen girls, like the following:

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Why I’m NOT out to Prevent Teen Pregnancies!

iStock_000014737631XSmallDuring the 12 years I have been speaking to students, there have been a number of times when I have left schools feeling so burdened by the state of our culture that my chest literally felt heavy when I walked out the door of the school. Let me tell you about one of those days.

When speaking to a group of 8th grade students, there was a statement made by one of the students that really saddened me.  I was talking about the issue of teen pregnancy and telling them how selfish and unfair it was for teens to make decisions to have sex because that decision could result in an innocent child having to pay the price for their choice if a pregnancy occurs.

A young lady interrupted me to say just because a girl got pregnant as a teenager didn’t mean she couldn’t still make something of her life and give her child a good life.  She used her cousin as an example and said the following:

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Your Life is a Blank Canvas! How will you paint it?

Artist

For the past two weeks, I have been discussing the power of writing a personal vision statement. Two weeks ago I shared how my vision pulled me toward my destiny, and last week I shared the process I use in order to help students understand the importance of writing a personal vision statement.

This week, I am sharing questions that will assist you in discovering your passion as well as questions for writing a personal vision statement.

Passion precedes your vision!

Before you describe the perfect life you want to live in the future, you must first know what you are passionate about. When I left Procter & Gamble 12 years ago, one of the most common comments I heard from my co-workers at the time was how much they admired the fact that I knew what my passion was.  Many of them said they were not happy at P&G, but they did not know what they would do if they left P&G because they had no idea what their passion was.

One of the most common questions I continue to hear from people is, “How do I figure out what my passion is?”

If you are one of those people, the answers to the following questions will help you determine your passion:

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When Life is Puzzling!

2 puzzle piecesLast week my post detailed my experience with writing a vision that pulled me toward my destiny. Based on the number of follow up questions I received, my story apparently resonated with a lot of people.

Several people wanted to know whether I knew I would be speaking to teens about making healthy choices related to sex when I wrote my vision statement, and the answer is “no.” I did not know my current “profession” was even an option. I only knew I was passionate about working with youth.

As a matter of fact, when I wrote my initial vision statement in 1997, I had become very interested in investing and envisioned myself speaking to youth about financial literacy. When I left P&G four years later, my plan was to start an after-school program for girls, helping them grow into successful adults. I then envisioned talking to them not only about financial literacy, but also about goal setting, career planning, healthy lifestyles, etc.

A divine connection at a conference I attended within a month of leaving P&G was my first foray into the field of sex education and youth motivational speaking.

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The Vision that Pulled Me Toward My Destiny!

visionAs I drove to church Sunday, I thought about what a blessing it has been to be able to travel around the state of Georgia for the past three years talking to students, parents and educators thanks to a grant with the Governor’s Office for Children & Families. I have spoken to over 25,000 students in the past three years, though not all of those students have been a result of funding from the GOCF.

As I thanked God for the many opportunities I have had over the past 12 years to have a positive impact on the lives of youth, I could not help but think back to the catalyst that started me on this journey.

Sparking a Vision

It was January 1, 1997 and I had gone to the bookstore in Lima, OH where I was living at the time, to purchase a book about investing. Somehow I ended up with a book in my hand called, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life by Laurie Beth Jones.

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The Ripple Effect: 2012 Edition

stones in a water

 

I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Theresa

 

Last week I shared here that I was looking forward to the ending of my summer and the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. After reading the post, a friend asked me how many students I had spoken to last year and if I knew how many of them made commitments to abstain from sex.

So I decided to check the numbers and they blew me away. I am now even more motivated to continue casting stones (Yes, even motivational speakers need a little motivation from time to time). 

I wanted to share my results in case they may serve as a source of motivation for you as you cast your stones.

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