It’s been a long day at the office…well, actually I don’t have an office because I travel for work. In fact, my trusty Toyota Yaris is pretty much the closest thing I have to an office right now. I spend a significant amount of time in there, driving to different communities and schools. It also serves as a closet and sometimes a fridge…in fact, I have three pairs of shoes in there at the moment. This, I blame on the winter because I’m forced to have comfy driving boots, dressy boots for teaching and then a couple other pairs for good measure… however, for the empty coffee cup and granola bar wrapper: no excuses can be made there.
This year I took a position with a local organization that presents on chastity education for students in grade 6-12. I travel all over the province giving presentations on how to respect and honour our bodies, how to have healthy and positive relationships, understanding who we are and the purpose of sex and marriage. The list could go on and on. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to speak with hundreds of young students and open the doors for this conversation.
There are many responses to this kind of job:
- ” Do they actually buy into that stuff?” (which is a comment I received this afternoon in the staff room.. so when I said it was a tough day in the office, I wasn’t totally kidding!)
- ” Is this sex-ed?” (often what students ask me when I enter in the classroom. I explain that our presentation has a different perspective. So kind of yes, but kind of no)
- ” That’s wonderful, it’s a message that kids need to hear” (a really refreshing and positive approach)
To the lady in the staffroom this afternoon, I explained to her that:
- The program is well received by most students!
- I don’t pretend that chastity is easy, or even the popular message BUT I definitely tell them that I wouldn’t be talking about it, if I didn’t believe in it
- Students deserve to hear this! Often times, they only hear the “safe-sex” approach, when they are free to choose another lifestyle such as chastity. High school students are not destined to be sexually active. It’s possible that no one told them about this before
Now, I was inspired to write this post, because as I said it was a difficult day in “the office”. I had a lot of students skip the class when they heard what it was about. In the end, I had 7 students remaining. I won’t deny that I felt an surge of disappointment as I saw the empty seats in the room. However, I continued to speak with the students who were present. After the presentation was done, while they were filling out their evaluation forms, I remembered I had some starbursts (candies) in my bag. I knew there were a few left, but checked to see how many. As they wrote, I went around the room and passed out a candy to each student. Turns out, I had exactly enough for each student. No less. No more. I even had one for myself.
On the drive home, I found myself asking ” What am I doing wrong? Why are the students not attending? Are we missing something here? I was getting close to despairing, when I realized something. Even if I drove out all this way, through the snow and the fog (literally) to reach one student, it would be worth it. I was so struck by this thought. Take for instance the candies. It’s not just luck that I had the exact number of candies, it was providence. The seven students attending today, were supposed to be there. It didn’t matter that 3/4 of the class bailed! It was still a huge success that I had 7 students in the room. Seven more hearts who could hear this message and hopefully be touched by it. Honestly, even if I had one kid stay for the presentation, it’s worth sharing.
Turns out after reading those student evaluations, a few of the responses were incredibly positive and touching. There was an openness to this message of chastity and renewed chastity. I think today was so beautiful, for it helped me re-evaluate my criteria for “success”. Of course, I want the students to stay, hear and participate in the presentations. However, if I speak to 1, 7 or 700 students, I will give the presentations with hope. Hope that this message may speak to them. Hope that they grow in respect and love for who they are.