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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Where in the world is Jackie?

iStock_000022998034SmallFirst, let me apologize for not being more consistent with posting lately. In case you didn’t notice, last week was my first time publishing a post in three months. But it’s not like I was twiddling my thumbs over the summer and doing nothing. My summer was extremely busy! As a matter of fact, I’d like to bring you up to speed on what’s been happening with me lately.

I Have a Secret!

I’ve been working on a book, The Seven Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You, for longer than I care to admit and finally decided that recording a DVD of an assembly may be an easier task to accomplish in the short term. I was right! This summer, I released two DVDs, one for girls and one for guys. You can find out more about the DVDs and place an order here.

DVD Covers3

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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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Porn: Is Your Child at Risk?

iStock_000015913655SmallIf your child has access to any electronic device, he or she is definitely at risk of being exposed to pornography! Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if your child will be exposed to pornography, but rather when.

·    93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to Internet pornography before the age of 18. 1.

As much as we want to shield our children from societal ills such as pornography, unfortunately we are living in a culture where not talking to them about these things may be setting them up for failure. (I wrote about a similar topic in a previous post, “Protecting Innocence or Promoting Ignorance.”) Your child needs to know that pornography exists and that he/she will likely come across it at some point.

A child’s first exposure to porn will probably be by accident, as was the case for this 8th grade girl,

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