Six Things I Learned from a Former Student’s Phone Call
I 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!
Her parents had very few rules and very low expectations for her when she was in high school.
The only requirement my parents had for me was to make good grades. As long as I was making good grades, I could do anything else I wanted to do, including having sex or staying out late. You name it; I could do it, as long as my grades were good! Auntie Jackie, you had higher expectations of me than my own parents.
She is now really frightened for her little sister who is currently in high school and making some really poor decisions in a number of areas, including sex.
Even though I still made good decisions in high school (for the most part), without my parents having any rules, boundaries or high expectations, that kind of parenting isn’t working for my sister because our personalities are totally different. Another difference between my choices and her choices is that she doesn’t have anyone outside of the family like I had (you and the REAL Majority Club), to guide her toward the best decisions for her life.
The young lady said she tries to set boundaries for her sister, but it is very difficult for her to override what their parents are letting her sister get away with.
It’s sad when a child sees the importance of rules and boundaries before the parents do.
2. Divorce doesn’t just affect young children!
Her parents went through a divorce shortly after she graduated high school, which devastated her.
I guess my parents thought that I would be able to handle the divorce since I was out of high school; but it really threw me for a loop. The divorce had a lot to do with why I started having sex. I was depressed and looking for attention.
In my classes I talk a lot about sex often being used as medication for pain. This young lady is walking proof of this being true even beyond high school.
3. Regrets can happen at any age!
Even though she was a virgin when she graduated high school, she still regrets her decision to start having sex at 19 years old:
If I were given the opportunity to go back and change one thing in my life, I would choose to still be a virgin. Most people would think I’d choose something else because I’ve had a lot of things that have gone wrong in my life. But, I don’t regret anything more than I regret my decision to have sex.
Sex did not make her life better as she was expecting, neither did it make the pain go away.
Girls don’t understand that what you expect to get from sex never happens. But you get a lot of things that you never expected to get. I was looking for it to fill a void and it never did. I would go back to my house and cry myself to sleep after having had sex.
This is something all girls need to hear and realize so they can manage their “sex-pectations.”
4. Making a difference is what really matters!
One reason she called me was to ask what she needed to do to start a club, in the state where she now lives, like the one she was a part of in high school.
I’m really tired of the life I am living and the other day I realized I was the happiest when I participated in the REAL Majority club in high school. Knowing that I was making a difference in someone else’s life and I was a part of something positive was the best feeling in the world. I want to feel that way again.
I’m excited that she has realized at such a young age what really matters in life. Many people twice her age still haven’t figured that out.
5. Faith makes a difference!
What seemed to be missing with the message she heard in high school was the faith component.
I know you couldn’t discuss God in the schools, but that would have really helped me keep my commitment because that is now what is keeping me on the right track.
Studies have shown that a teen’s faith really does make a difference in his/her choices regarding sex. Just imagine the impact churches could make if more of them made it a priority to guide their youth in this area.
6. No seed is planted in vain!
I am slowly learning not to feel defeated when I hear that a former student made some of the decisions I tried to get them to avoid. Instead of feeling defeated after talking with this young lady, I was encouraged because of something she said at the very end of the conversation:
I’ve never stopped thinking about you and all that you taught me; and I always knew if I couldn’t trust anyone else in life, I could always trust Auntie Jackie to guide me in the right direction. So, I knew I had to reconnect with you.
Even when the seeds I plant do not prevent students from making a poor decision, I am grateful that the seeds are always there to guide them back to the path that leads to greatness.
If you are a parent, I hope you can use this young lady’s words and experiences to assist you as you parent your children. Also, if this post has been helpful, please share with other parents.
What are your takeaways from this post? Please share them below.
Note: This young lady is not my niece. A number of the students on the leadership team called me Auntie Jackie.
Dave PerryNovember 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm
Great Blog – One of your best. Let me know what to pray for – Dave
Jackie BrewtonNovember 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm
Thanks Dave! Was just thinking about you earlier today! I'll shoot you an email regarding my prayer requests!
JoannNovember 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Great post Jackie! Thank you for sharing this one!
Jackie BrewtonNovember 11, 2013 at 11:21 pm
Thank YOU Joann for consistently reading my posts. I'm always uncertain whether what I choose to write about is something that will interest my readers. So, thanks for your feedback!
J. JohnsonNovember 12, 2013 at 4:40 am
Your messages are always timely for me. Thank you for this post and all others. As I was reading this it amazed me that you sowed seeds, you gave warnings and although this child made some choices that weren’t for her personal best it was because of the seeds you planted she was able to catch herself from continuing down the wrong path. She felt out of place because of the seeds you planted. My parents raised me much the same way this young lady was raised. As long as I graduated high school I could do whatever whenever. As a mother I am totally opposite of my parents. I sometimes wonder if my children are really hearing me. Really listening to me. Just last night I had a talk with my daughter. She made a poor choice and she came to me afterward. She thought because she told me I should be ecstatic that although it was wrong at least she didn’t hide it from me. She also thought there wouldn’t be any consequences because she told me. Wrong! Although I am glad she told me however, she still had no business doing it and it was a very unsafe thing for her to do. For me, she disobeyed my rules. My rules aren’t to keep her from having fun. They are to keep her safe. That’s the bottom line. She knew BEFORE she did it I wouldn’t allow this type of unsafe behavior from her. Lastly, as I tell her there are ALWAYS consequences rather good or bad from our decisions. She needed to be reminded of that. I continue to talk with her and not yell and scream like I used to because I really want her to “get it”. I am glad I read this because it reminds me of what an old wise friend once said, “they hear you, even when you think they don’t”. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to. Your friend, Jonava
Jackie BrewtonNovember 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm
I'm glad this message came right on time for you. Yes, "they hear you, even when you think they don't." I appreciate you taking the time to read and sharing your experiences.
Movene FutchNovember 12, 2013 at 9:16 am
Thanks Jackie, I hope to share this with one of our clients at The Pregnancy Center this morning. The story fits her needs. I appreciate how you always write blogs that encourage us all as we work in this area with the youth of our day. Blessings, Movene Futch
Jackie BrewtonNovember 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm
I'm so glad you were able to find an immediate application for the post. Also, glad you are encouraged by them because that is my definitely my intent. Be blessed, Jackie.
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