New Education Director and First Post

Hi! My name is Emily, I am the newly hired (as of the end of June) Education Director. Apologies for not posting sooner but, I have been formulating! Please find the excerpt below (my first writing for Carolyn’s Place) which was included in our quarterly newsletter. More blogging to follow!

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Thank you for your time in reading this newsletter! I am Emily, the new education director at Carolyn’s Place. For the last two months, I have been working on strategies to promote a culture of life and love. Please feel free to e-mail me at educationatcp@gmail.com if you have any comments or questions.

“ It is my prayer that whoever takes over this position will have great success, because in a world of spiritual, moral, and ethical confusion, as well as a growing epidemic of false love and broken hearts, the role of the Director of Education is now more essential than ever before.”

What I would like to point out about the previous Director’s ending prayer, which is one of importance, is that the spiritual, moral and ethical confusion created the epidemic of false love and broken hearts. No doubt, the plight of common culture today is a harsh reality. Evident in our media and collective choices are a lack of respect for truth, love and life. One need not look far to see the fruits of a self-imploding society. Those entrusted with caring for the gift of life, choose to destroy it both at the earliest stages of conception, to the vulnerable, at the end of life. Not to mention, this self-destructive mentality has become the socialistic norm. Nevertheless, just because society distorts truth, goodness and beauty does not mean they go away!

What is important to remember, when humanity faces the violence of a culture addicted to death, is that there is hope. We must try, at all costs, to stir up a culture of Life and Love. That is my hope for this position, now and always. Everyone longs for happiness, and happiness is secured by sacrificial, meaning ‘self-donating’ love. What needs to be addressed, from the position of Director of Education, is this ‘epidemic of false love.’ When humans, including the teens or tweens I educate, do not understand what real love is, they suffer exponentially. I feel a moral responsibility to dedicate my time here to share the good news: the truth about love. The truth is that, real love frees a person and makes them more human, and likewise at peace with themselves. It is this ‘peace,’ that can only exist in a person who is practicing self-donating love. May we all realize and witness to others that this love is never too far from us!

Don’t Overdo it with the Negatives….

Oftentimes, when adults talk to teenagers about waiting until marriage for sex (as they should), things can sound pretty negative: “Don’t have sex, because there are so many STDs out there.”  “Don’t have sex, because you don’t want to get pregnant before you are ready to take on the responsibility of parenthood.”  “Don’t have sex, because it’s a sin if you aren’t married.”  “Don’t have sex, because you will be emotionally destroyed if the relationship ends.”  Of course, these are all very true statements, and it is important for young people to hear these messages.  However, as an educator on issues of human sexuality, I urge you not to forget to share with our young people, all the positives of waiting until marriage.

Here are some tips:

1. Remind them that chastity is not a giant NO, but rather, a giant YES to authentic love, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, one’s future spouse and family, etc.

2. Remind them that anyone can say “yes,” but it’s much harder to say “no.”   Also, by saying “no” to temporary pleasures now, one’s “yes” later on will have much more meaning (more on this in the next blog post).

3. Chastity prepares you for your future vocation: discipline, sacrifice, self-giving, self-control, etc. are not learned overnight. http://chastityproject.com/2014/05/chastity-before-marriage-fosters-chastity-in-marriage/

4. Chastity is Fidelity Insurance: “A person who has sex outside of marriage shows that they are willing to have sex with someone they aren’t married to.” http://chastityproject.com/2014/05/chastity-before-marriage-fosters-chastity-in-marriage/

5. Encourage dating with purpose.  Have your teens develop a list of the qualities they would like in their future spouse. They can use this list to evaluate their own qualities, and it can help them to consider who to date: Is this someone they could potentially marry someday? Would he/she make a good husband, wife, father, or mother? If not, is it worth wasting your time, and more importantly, your heart, on something that is practically guaranteed to fail and lead to heartbreak?  As a bonus, It will also help them to avoid dating for the sake of dating, which will lower the number of break ups and broken hearts they have to endure.

On Being Single

Dear Girls & Boys in Grades 6-10,

Are you single?  Well, guess what!  That is GREAT NEWS!  Why?

BECAUSE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING SINGLE!  The middle school and early high school years are perfect for being independent, trying new things, figuring out what you like and don’t like, and making friends with all different types of people.  That can be very hard to do when you are in a relationship!  Also, as a young person, it is very easy to allow your boyfriend/girlfriend to define who you are, without even realizing it.  Don’t let that happen!

Remember that the person you are today is NOT the person you will be 5 or 10 years from now.  Take it from me.  I am 25 years old.  When I look back on my middle school and high school years, I often think, “What was I thinking?”  Why did I wear that?  I had a crush on him?”

Over the next few years, you will grow and mature immensely, and the people you date in middle school and high school will probably not even be people you keep in close contact with after graduation.  In fact, the odds of you marrying the person you date in middle school or high school are slim.

So, try not to waste your time, energy, and heart on something that will probably not last.  Instead, use the freedom that singleness gives you to focus on what will last: your relationship with yourself, with your family, with your friends, with humanity in general, and with God.

I encourage you to pray for a few minutes every day, and learn as much about God as you can.  Take some time to discover the immense dignity He has bestowed upon you! Also, remember to enjoy your youth, because when you are an adult, all you will want to do is be a kid again!  Trust me, you will have plenty of time to date and have romantic relationships when you are older.  Plenty.  Most importantly, though, try to remember to trust in God.  He created you, loves you, wants what is best for you, and has great, exciting plans for your future!

Speaking of trusting in God, I didn’t always do that as much as I should have.  I never dated in middle school or high school, and I often felt left out.  But, now, looking back, I am so glad that my first date, my first boyfriend, and my first kiss, all happened in my freshmen year of college!  This is because, in middle school and high school, I was able to be really focused on myself.  I performed in a ton of plays and was in a bunch of other clubs and honor societies.  I also had time to babysit to make some money, volunteer to help others, and play on the flag football team!  I got really good grades, and colleges were very impressed with all that I had the time to accomplish!  Unlike some kids, I never had to balance a dating relationship with my homework, family obligations, or extracurricular activities.  I never had to choose between hanging out with friends or with a boyfriend, and I never had to deal with break ups or a broken heart.  My own interests came first, I learned about myself, and I really developed into the person I wanted to be.  By the time I had my first date, I knew who I was, and I didn’t need to lean on anyone else to provide my identity for me.  I knew what I valued, what was right and wrong, and how I deserved to be treated in a relationship.

I am thankful that God allowed me to be single for as long as I was, and I hope that all of you young, single people out there can look upon your singleness as a blessing, rather than a curse.  Please know that you have been given a gift.  Don’t waste it!

Sincerely,

Nicole

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Self-Pornification

Check out this great blog post by moral theologian & college professor, Christopher Klofft!

Counter Culture

A few weeks back, I had wanted to comment on the celebrity hacking scandal. There are a lot of interesting elements to these unfortunate events, but when I finally found some time to write, I thought the moment had passed.  That was before the newest issue of Vanity Fair came out.  In it, there is an interview with Jennifer Lawrence – her first public statement since her pictures were among those hacked.

While she is rightfully outraged and hurt about this violation of her privacy, she also includes this very unfortunate statement in her interview that explains why her naked pictures existed in the first place: “I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

For a popular, talented, young woman, these are exceptionally sad words.

Utterly…

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Strength in the Face of Ridicule

When I was in college, I was in a relationship with a guy I will call Jake.  I was committed to a life of purity and had wonderful friends who were as well.  Despite these great friendships, I knew that I was far from being in the majority when it came to my views on sexual morality.  For example, my weekends involved sobriety and good choices, and I went back to my own dorm and slept alone in my own bed every single night.  One night, during the fall semester of my junior year, I was hanging out with Jake at his on-campus apartment, when his roommates came in.  Although I don’t remember specifically what they said, I do recall them mocking me for not spending the night.  To make matters worse, my boyfriend, frustrated at times with my purity stance as well, didn’t even stick up for me. I tried to laugh it off and ignore them, but to this day, even though Jake is no longer a part of my life, I haven’t forgotten about it.  It’s something that I will always remember.  

So, why am I telling you this?  It’s because I know how difficult it can be to be a young person in today’s world who believes in chastity.  I know what it feels like to be made fun of for desiring purity and to be constantly pressured by a significant other to push the envelope.   I also am well aware that I was one of the lucky ones, because I actually had a group of friends who supported me in my choices.  A lot of young people don’t have that.  That’s why Carolyn’s Place is holding a very special contest to support and encourage young people who have chosen to live a life of chastity, even when they feel alone in their decision.  Teens and young adults from all over the country can make a video of themselves answering questions about the importance of chastity in their lives and submit them to us.  Two winners will then be chosen to receive an iPad as a prize!  We hope that you will consider participating in or spreading the news to others about this contest!  All of the details can be found via the link below.

As always, please email nicole.carolynsplace@gmail.com, call 203-695-3999, or comment on this post if you have any questions.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JnTpQLbTRfjb0S0TJMETdhsqhxu19iHpHzZ0ls5H4A0/edit