Ms. Dora is a parent, grandparent, and Christian counselor who offers suggestions on raising confident, compassionate, responsible children.
Launched in 1993 by the Southern Baptist organization, the True Love Waits program promoted a purity lifestyle which encouraged sexual abstinence until marriage. Every year, in large rallies, well-meaning teens and young adults signed hundreds of thousands of commitment cards, and it is not surprising that every year, some failed to keep their pledge.
There is no condemnation here for those whose commitment fell through. Instead, there is commendation that they chose to take the high road. In 2013, the program was relaunched with a Bible-study approach on topics like lust, pornography, social media, relationship boundaries and support for the participants who have detoured but have renewed their commitment. The purity lifestyle is more than virginity; it includes thoughts, attitudes, speech, fashion, media choices and the entire conduct.
Having participated in several purity retreats, and helped to establish purity circles (friendship groups organized for peer support), the value of a consistent purity focus is clear to me. Small groups engaging weekly or monthly in supportive activities are much more impactful than annual or bi-annual rallies with large groups. Close camaraderie is essential to offset the peer pressure, and following are some suggestions which friends can do together to improve their chances of thinking and practicing purity. Support from parents and mentors is recommended.
(1) Establish Accountability
Within the group, there will be subgroups of two or three who are closer to each other than to the rest of the group. Encourage members of the smaller group to form buddy teams, and be accountable to each other. Foster friendships built on trust and genuine interest in each other, so they could feel free to confide, give and receive counsel and assistance to each other. Encourage them to include a respectable adult when they need advise on issues too complicated for them.
(2) Collect Purity Quotes
Assign a certain number of quotations on purity for each member to find and record. Ask different members in different meetings to share favorite quotes, and imagine situations in which they would come in handy. Also try this activity with quotations on beauty, self-worth, friendship, respect and any other topic of purity empowerment.
(3) Watch Wholesome Movies
Here are two, for a start.
Love’s Enduring Promise from the Love Comes Softly series by Michael Landon is highly recommended. “What could be romantic froth becomes a quiet, well-paced, and thoughtful love story, thanks to a solid script, capable performances, and clean direction . . . wholesome storytelling and clear moral perspective.” Bret Fetzer
Pamela’s Prayer remains a favorite among promoters of moral values. It tells the story of a young girl's social life from her childhood to her wedding day at age 22. 1991. Fathers who watch this movie are impacted to tears, when they realize the significant influence they could have on their daughters. However, the movie speaks to both male and female youth and is great both for the group and for families to watch together.
(4) Paint Self-Portraits
Not literally with paint and brush, but with words. Metaphors are very effective in helping people see themselves.
Some Biblical examples are:
- “the apple of God’s eye” (Zechariah 2:8);
- “His jewels” (Malachi 3:17);
- “the branch on His vine” (John 15:5);
- “a pillar fit for a palace” (Psalm 144:12).
Popular objects for comparison are the rose, a star, a light, a fragrance. Have members create or choose their own metaphors answering questions like “What positive aspects do I have in common with this object?” “How can I display those qualities in my everyday life?” “How is my purity walk affected by this portrait?” A personally created self-portrait can be very empowering.
(5) Practice Compliments
Have an appreciation session in which members feed each other’s sense of worth. Devise a method by which each member is assigned to point out something admirable in someone else. Have them practice compliments on virtues and skills like kindness, cheerfulness, speech as opposed to external features like hairdos, shoes, and body parts. Also discuss responses to compliments.
Create scenarios which are likely to happen, and for which it would be wise to have prepared responses. Have members take turns in role-playing the conversations in situations like the following examples:
- Someone borrows a textbook from a friend and finds pages from a porn magazine hidden inside.
- After declaring their affection for each other, one person tells the other, “If you love me, show me.”
- One friend is so scantily clad, the other feels uncomfortable.
(7) Explore Fashion
Have members collect fashion catalogs or random styles of clothing. Take turns evaluating the appearance by answering questions like: To what event or occasion would you expect someone to wear this? On a scale of one to ten, how “modest”, “decent”, “appropriate” would this be? Is there any reason why you would refuse to wear this outfit? Without being judgmental or condemnatory, stress how appearance and deportment influence people.
(8) Host A Beauty Forum
Both males and females need to understand the real meaning of beauty, how it impacts self-worth and influences relationships. Invite experts in various fields: diet, exercise, skin care, self-esteem, teenage biology to present the all-round healthy aspects of beauty.
(9) Befriend A Moral Dropout
One way for teenagers to encounter the consequences of immoral behavior without experiencing it, is to hear it from someone who has been delinquent and is now repentant. In the process, they will learn practical lessons in forgiveness and restoration. Assign someone with tact to extend the invitation. Let the invitee know that there is no pressure to join the group. Show interest in his/her story whether it be a young, unwed teenage mother, or a teenage male abandoned by the friends who seduced him into trouble. The teenager must express a willingness to accept help, even professional if necessary, and subscribe to the moral values presented by the group. Try this only if the entire group consents.
(10) Create A Purity Blog
Start a blog for the purpose of having members express themselves about lifestyle issues. Assign one person to write the lead article and have the others read and comment for a period the group decides on, before the next person writes another article.
Or design an Instagram page on the theme of purity. Have each member participate by finding quotes and photos on the theme.
© 2011 Dora Weithers
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 09, 2011:
I appreciate you sexualharassment, that is, if you are not your name. I couldn't resist. Thanks for your comment.
sexualharassment from USA on September 09, 2011:
Very sweet idea. Many thanks for inspiring me more. More power.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2011:
Thanks for your affirmation, Jean; and thanks in advance for helping me share these suggestions. I believe in people who believe that promoting purity is relevant.
jean2011 from Canada on September 05, 2011:
This is really an awesone hub. I have voted it as awesome. I totally like your list of suggestion for purity. Teenagers need to be guided and taught the value of purity because it is sadly down played in our society. The movie "Love Comes Softly" is a great choice! Thank you for sharing.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2011:
Isin82, thanks for your encouraging comment. So many people say they were not taught. Let's try to have a lesser number of people say that in the next generation. Forwarding this hub may help -- do your part in some other way. Thanks again!
lsin82 from Houston on September 02, 2011:
You know I wish someone would have forced this issure when I was growing up. Simply telling someone to stay away from pre marital relations is not enough. We need to start teaching our people how remain pure. That walk is extremely hard in today's time and ideas and teachings like you gave in this Hub are well needed. Thank you for this.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 31, 2011:
Thanks, Power. Referring to the blog as sweet made me smile.
PoweroftheCross from Above and Beyond... on August 31, 2011:
These are all wonderful ideas for our teens. They need our input and direction. The purity blog is a sweet one.
Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 30, 2011:
And thanks to you Saboni, denise and Sandra. Hope you'll help me share the ideas; I believe in them. I appreciate you all!
Sandra W on August 30, 2011:
The suggestions and scenarios are banging. I know in the AA community many girls don't have a Dad around to tell them their value and build their self-esteem. This article is a must read for all single Moms who do double duty.
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on August 29, 2011:
Thanks for the ideas of activities that advocate purity in both boys and girls. Oftentimes, one or the other is blamed for the problem when in reality it is a mutual decision. Having mentors that help each other is a great idea!
Saboni on August 29, 2011:
Thanks. I thought this article outstanding.