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I routinely travel remote tree-lined winding roads all along Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. As a crisis pregnancy volunteer, I’m usually on my way to middle and high school classrooms. The schools are all different—some large, some small, many are low income, but they all share a common world. And thanks to the Internet, most students are sexually savvy.

 

Wary eyes scan me from head to toe as I enter each classroom. I’m old enough to be their mom, and I’m actually there to talk to them about sex? How can someone my age tell them anything they already don’t know? Am I really that lame? I have one goal: letting students know that some choices can change their lives in ways they don’t want.

 

Sex is a topic they enjoy. I know this, so my mission is to arm them with the stuff they need to know to stay healthy. Yeah, and if they really want to remain healthy, they need to be sexually abstinent. For many, this isn’t good news. If I hope to keep them interested, I do what works: I tell them stories.


Stories are the generational link that erases the age barrier. Within minutes they are swept into someone else’s life. Some stories take them to the peaks of glory, while others scrape along in pain-infested wandering. All stories involve choices. They can’t help but wonder what they’d do if it were them. Somehow it’s more than sex now. I sense they want to hear more. So I tell another story; then another.

 

Soon I’m done, and quite honestly, I’m tired. I’ve become the characters in every story—sometimes wallowing in relational mud, and sometimes exalting in victory. By the end, I bring students into their own story. They now know they’re each writing their own book and this chapter is so very important. As they file out, the students are often reflective. I hear them talking—and I know they’re changed. For you see, a story can do that. They now carry someone else’s experience as well as their own. While I can’t promise they’ll all think ahead, many won’t forget this unusual day, when someone came to talk about sex –and it was so much more than they imagined.

 

Never forget the power of the imagination, sharing stories and allowing them to hear the heartache of a choice as well as the exaltation of success. Sometimes we have so much visual stimulation, we neglect the simple power of a gentle, kind voice sharing the truth in love.

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