Alumni Respond Part 1

with | May 23, 2013

For more than a decade, FamilyLife has partnered with parents to launch their preteens into adolescence with purpose, using Passport2Purity®. But how successful is it? We’ll hear from a number of 20-something Passport alumni as they share the results, 10 years later.

For more than a decade, FamilyLife has partnered with parents to launch their preteens into adolescence with purpose, using Passport2Purity®. But how successful is it? We’ll hear from a number of 20-something Passport alumni as they share the results, 10 years later.

Alumni Respond Part 1

With
|
May 23, 2013
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Bob: Michael and Sarah Guirguis have been married for a couple of years now. Both of them had the experience of going through FamilyLife’s Passport2Purity® material more than a decade ago. Michael has very clear memories of that weekend with his dad.

Michael: We put in the cassette tape. We were sitting around with our booklets, listening to Mr. Rainey. That will be one weekend I will never forget, for the rest of my life. I mean, I remember still—as a kid—seeing my dad, who was not able to sit comfortably in the chair. He was sweating bullets going through it with me; but I thank him, to this day, for doing that, and really explaining to me how sex is truly a gift from God, and opening my eyes to realize that from a young age.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, May 23rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Today, we’ll hear from a half-dozen graduates who, more than a decade ago, went through a FamilyLife Passport2Purity. We’ll hear what they remember and what stuck with them. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. Do you ever run into kids who were in your sixth-grade Sunday school class, who are now parents of young kids themselves?

Dennis: I do, Bob. It’s funny that you asked me that question because I was just thinking about that a moment ago. I love for these young people to come up now, that they’re parents, and go, “Mr. Rainey!” I go, “It is Dennis; it is Dennis. You’re an adult; I’m an adult. Now, it’s all good. It’s all okay.” [Laughter] But they’ll come up: “Mr. Rainey, we’ve got our kids. Thank you for what you taught us—how to think about our bodies, and sex, and what God is doing in relationships, and our parents, and peer pressure, and on and on!” They get it now because they’re raising children in another generation.

Bob: You taught that Sunday school class starting in—do you remember what year? 

Dennis: I think it was 1986. There were 12 kids in the class. I had no idea it was going to become what it became in the end. Eleven years later, we had over 75 kids in that class. We had people changing churches to come to our church so their 11- and 12-year-old could go through this material—that we’ve since reduced into our new Passport2Purity.

Bob: Yes; the core of the Passport2Purity resource is what you taught to those students in the sixth grade. Now, it’s designed so that a mom or a dad can take a son or a daughter away for a weekend and kind of have an immersive experience in the material.

In fact, we had an opportunity to visit with some young adults—young men and women in their twenties—who, more than a decade ago, went through Passport2Purity.

Dennis: With their mom or with their dad.

Bob: Yes. We thought we would just follow up and find out what’s going on in their lives now and what they remember from their own Passport2Purity experience, when they were 11 or 12 years old.

Dennis: Yes, it doesn’t get any sweeter than in their own words.

Bob: Yes. We’ll hear from Rob, and Karis, and Michael, and Katelyn, and Joe, and Sarah—as they describe their memories, of more than a decade ago—going on a Passport2Purity weekend with their mom or with their dad.

[Recorded Audio]

Rob: I remember when I went on my Passport2Purity weekend with my dad. The parts I remember—is being really special—just Dad and I. We got to do some fun stuff together. I saw my very first PG-13 movie. I saw Men in Black, and it scared the pants off of me—doing that, and watching some fun movies, getting to go bowling with Dad. It really was the first time I was beginning to understand what sex is, and the purpose of it, and what some of the things I was feeling and experiencing really were.

It was scary. There were some tears, shed on my part, when I began to realize some of the things I was thinking and feeling were normal and not abnormal things that were going on in my life. There were tears of joy but also, sometimes, of embarrassment, as well, as I just didn’t really understand what was going on with me. Going on Passport2Purity really gave me a lot of peace of mind on: “Oh, good! I’m normal. This is not something that is strange, or I’m not broken. I’m doing normal things.”

Karis: I was 13, and my family had just moved to Arkansas from another part of the country. My mom and I spent the weekend in Branson, Missouri. We spent a lot of time together, one-on-one. It was just a good time for us to spend together but also to focus on some things specifically. We went through the Passport2Purity cassette tapes—back then—and just talked through a lot of the issues. We also spent time shopping in Branson—enjoying our time—just the two of us having fun. Then, we spent most of the evenings listening to the content and discussing that, as well.

Michael: I was raised in a city outside of Atlanta, Georgia—in a small city of Duluth—where I went to elementary, middle, and high school. That was the first place I received all of the information about sex—just through the public school system and just boys acting like boys—just silly jokes back and forth. But I had no good grasp on what it actually is—I absolutely had no idea that this is truly a gift from God.

It wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13—it was a family summer trip—me, my mom and my dad, and my younger sister, who was three years younger than me. So, she was about 10; and I was about 13. We thought this was a typical trip to the beach, just us four. We grew up with a strong, Christian background; but we never talked about sex, as a family, or with my parents. So, we were driving down to Florida from Georgia; and we get to the beach. My mom explained to me that we were about to do a little tape program together.

Me and my dad were upstairs, and my mom and my sister were downstairs in another room. We put in the cassette tape. We were sitting around with our booklets, listening to Mr. Rainey. That will be one weekend I will never forget, for the rest of my life. Both of my parents are from Egypt, and talking about sex with your kids is very taboo in the Middle Eastern world. I mean, I remember still—as a kid—seeing my dad, who was not able to sit comfortably in the chair. He was sweating bullets, just going through it with me; but I thank him, to this day, for doing that, and really explaining to me how sex is truly a gift from God, and opening my eyes to realize that from a young age.

Throughout Sunday school and through different church activities, no one has ever talked about these issues with me. So, that weekend just blew me out of the water—talking about all the different pressures that come along with growing up—sex, dating, and all that good stuff. It was definitely nerve-wracking for me and my parents, but it was definitely worth it.

Joe: Before my dad took me on the Passport2Purity and everything, I really hadn’t known a lot about sex, or dating, or anything. I knew that you dated, and that sex happened when you got married, but that was about it. So, I remember the session that me and my dad did when Mr. Rainey talked about what happens in sex—blow by blow—and what all happened. It was a little intense and a little weird, but I’m definitely glad it happened and that he told me about it.

He gave me this little invitation thing to RSVP before it all happened. He was like, “Do you want to go away on a weekend with Dad, just to basically hang out and have fun?”—which is what I thought we were doing. As we drove there—to the hotel—he started explaining to me what was going to happen, and what we were going to talk about, and everything. So, it was like—on the way to the place, in the car, and I was like: “Hmmm. This is a little more than I thought it was.”

It was like—starting out, when we started listening to the tapes—I was still a little like, “Okay, what is this going on?” But as we started going into—I realized it talked about maturing and everything, I became really interested. I think it was because my parents had always instilled in me to always try to be a better person. When that started happening, I was like, “Okay, I need to listen.”

Katelyn: I went to a public school—I definitely heard stuff at school. Thankfully, I never got into anything—it was just kind of hearing. I was 12 or 13 when I went through Passport2Purity. Before that, I already knew people my age who were having sex. When I heard about other sixth-graders having sex, I was completely grossed out. I thought, “That’s just disgusting!”

When you’re still at that age—at least for me—I was still at the point where I thought it was disgusting, and it was still the “s” word. You know, you’re, “Oh, my goodness! I can’t say that!”, at that point. I was definitely grossed out and completely in shock. Thankfully, I grew up in a family where I heard things from home, and I wasn’t completely naïve—to where it wasn’t the first time I heard it at school—from peers and such. I’d heard stuff at home. I’d been through the talk, but not a full-on experience like Passport2Purity.

Joe: At the end of the weekend, we had a closing session. Then, we went—on the way home—we ate out for dinner. My dad gave me the house key—a key to the house. It was kind of a point where I felt like I was a little bit more of a man because I had more responsibility.

I thought that it was a really cool weekend—I think mostly because my dad hung out with me for a weekend. It was the first time I really remember him taking time out of his life to spend time with me—not that he wasn’t there, or that he never spent time with me before that—but I just remember feeling like I could talk to my dad just about anything. It was a really like a cool bonding moment—the fact that we talked about that. When I look back to it, it was really important.

As I began dating and everything, there was never that much awkwardness. It was still a little bit, but it was definitely decreased by a lot because we had talked about it before. I could just go to him and say: “I’ve got these questions. I feel this way, and it’s freaking me out. Why do I feel that way?” It was a lot easier to talk to him about it than I think it would have been had that not happened. I didn’t feel awkward. I could just talk to him and be like, “You know, I was in this situation; and I found out that it wasn’t really a good idea.” He really understood. He just kind of talked me through it.

Karis: At the end of the weekend, I still remember, we went to a diner in Branson. We just kind of talked about what the weekend had meant to both of us and some of the conclusions that I had come to. My mom spent a great time—just affirming me, and encouraging me, and praying for me. Then, she presented me with a gift, from my parents; and it was actually a ring with an amethyst, which is my birthstone, in the ring. My parents actually had gotten this stone when they were in Japan, back when I was just a year old. They had kept it and just, in the past couple of months, had gotten it set into a ring. That was just really something that was a symbol—as a purity ring for me—but also, just a reminder of the experience that we shared, of the commitments I had made, and of some of the special moments that we shared together.

When she told me that she wanted to take me on this weekend—we had already actually done Dr. Dobson’s version of this, which is called Preparing for Adolescence. It talks about relationships; but it was more about your body and your emotions, as you enter this pre-teen/teenage years—what that’s like. This was more, I think, about relationships. I was feeling a little skeptical because, as a 13-year-old, you never really want to talk about that with your mom.

When I listened to the tapes—there are definitely times when you roll your eyes or you say, “I’ve heard this before,” or you think: “Oh, this is awkward! I am listening to this with my mom.” But my parents talked to me about sex, growing up. I think that first weekend we away—when we did Preparing for Adolescence—was when we definitely talked a lot about it. That was a lot of content that I hadn’t heard before; and I didn’t really want to talk about it, at that age. Now, looking back, I’m really glad that we had those conversations—just so that I was able to hear about it in a positive way and in that context.

Rob: Passport2Purity was something that was really a foundational building block and opened the realm of communication between my dad and me. There weren’t a whole lot of times that we went back to the topics—those specific topics—but that open line of communication was set with my dad at Passport2Purity. I knew I could talk to him about these things and not be embarrassed because he identified with me and my story: “This is exactly what I’ve gone through.” So, I knew that I could come and talk to him about different things.

I think that was probably the most influential thing that Passport2Purity did for me—with my dad—was to build the relationship and provide an open-line of communication between Dad and me—throughout junior high and high school—and even now, while I am in college.

Katelyn: One thing I definitely remember, that still sticks out—a lot of these things still stick with me, to this day—one of them is the cliff analogy—where holding hands will get you this far; a hug is a little further; okay, let’s peck on the cheek, a little further; front hug, a little further; all the way until it gets to making out, and then petting, and then intercourse. You get to the cliff. I’ll always remember that. I’ve never been in a serious relationship, at this point in my life, yet. I believe the Lord is protecting me; but I’ve always said, if I get to that point, where I’m almost to a serious relationship with a guy, “You have to lay boundaries.”

That’s always been something—since going through Passport2Purity—that I’m adamant about. I’m like I’m not going to be in a situation where I’m going to put myself in a place where intercourse could happen. I’m going to not be alone in a dark room on the same bed with a guy, or I’m not going to be alone in a house—I mean, you just have to put boundaries. That’s one of the things I definitely remember.

Rob: I remember bits and pieces of a specific analogy that he gave. I remember us talking about what happens when we share different parts of our intimate lives with different people. He inflated this balloon with water—and would poke a hole in it every time he said: “And this is signifying what happens when you begin to share parts of your intimate life with different people. Just like this balloon, you give it to different places and eventually you have less, and less, and less, until, eventually, you have nothing left to give.”

I thought it was really silly. It was like: “Of course, I wouldn’t do any of these things! Why would I do these things?” So, it felt a little silly, at times. I don’t think I really understood the value of it until after high school, when I began to have a little bit more freedom to do and date, without as much supervision. That’s when I really began to see the value of it.

Michael: There was an example, I remember, for one of the sessions—my mom taking a clear glass cup of water, and taking a little bit of dirt, and putting that dirt in the water and seeing how that cup instantly went from clear to a muddy, dark color—just from a little tad of dirt added to the cup. That just really drove the message home, with me, as how defiling my purity is not just one little thing, and it’s done, and over with—but it can affect my whole being. Me, as being a son of God—how it can affect every part of me.

Katelyn: I remember the glue analogy—where you would have the paper—one is you and one is a member of the opposite sex. You put glue to see if it sticks. This is a glue mark, here, for just talking or praying alone—a glue mark, here, for holding hands—just not getting too close to people that I couldn’t see myself with. I’ve been very cautious of that. I think that’s a reason, maybe, why I haven’t been in a serious relationship—it is just because I feel like the Lord is protecting me—and not wanting to get into something that I don’t need to be getting into—not getting attached to someone when it’s not going to happen.

I really remember making important decisions and saying, “I’m going to wait.” More than just wait—I’m going to choose the right friends—contract—a ‘Wait to Date’ contract—[consider] qualities for my husband—just a variety of things—I really, truly remember that weekend.

[Music / Studio]

Bob: I like that. That’s one of the Scripture memory songs that is included in Passport2Purity. Our friends at Seeds Family Worship took key verses and put them to music. When you go through the Passport2Purity weekend, you get a chance to memorize some Scripture set to music.

It’s fun to hear those young people reflecting back on that weekend with Mom or Dad, a decade ago.

Dennis: It really is, Bob. I want to make three quick points. Number one, it is both a responsibility and a privilege to be able to take your son or daughter through this material. I am telling you, it is one of the highest and holiest privileges we have as moms and dads. Secondly, if you don’t do it, the world will take them through its approach to sex, peer pressure, and conformity to the world. And third, this is a great teaching time—as well as a heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul bonding time—to drive a truckload of truth into your child’s soul before the static comes on the line in the teenage years.

Mom, Dad, wake up! It’s game time! Am I passionate about this? Absolutely! Because I think it’s one of the finest tools to prepare a young person for adolescence that is out there.

Bob: And it opens the door for an ongoing conversation with your son or your daughter that continues throughout adolescence. It gives you a framework of stuff you’ve already talked about before that you can refer back to it. I think back to the times during my kids’ teen years when they would all of a sudden pop up with one of the songs that they had learned on the Passport2Purity weekend.

You’ve got that framework—that vocabulary—in place after you’ve been on one of these weekends. As you may know, we completely updated Passport2Purity about a year ago—new songs, new workbooks. It’s a complete revision. The content—the core—is still the same solid material, but we were able to add some things that we think make it an even better weekend for moms, and dads, and their children. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about Passport2Purity and about the companion book called So You’re About to Be a Teenager. That’s FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-358-6329 to order: 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.

Now, we want to say a quick word of thanks to the listeners who have already gotten in touch with us this month, responding to the matching-gift challenge that we have going on, here at FamilyLife Today. We had some listeners, back more than a month ago, who got in touch with us and said, “We know that summertime can be a challenging time for a lot of radio ministries, like FamilyLife Today. Listeners get into different patterns and oftentimes don’t send in a check or go online to make a donation to help support the ministry.” So, what they thought they would do is to help us build up a little cash reserve before we hit the summertime.

They offered to make a donation, but they made that donation in the form of a matching gift. The matching-gift total is $603,000. We have made some progress in that direction, but we still have a ways to go to meet the matching-gift challenge. We’re asking you: “Would you consider making a donation this month?” Your donation will be doubled—be matched, dollar for dollar, when you get in touch with us and help us to face the summer months. So, if you do that, go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click the button that says, “I CARE”, to make an online donation; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone.

If you’d rather write a check and mail it to us, you can send your check to FamilyLife Today, P.O. Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223. If you need the address again, you’ll find it online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Let me just say, “Thanks,” in advance, for whatever you’re able to do to help support us. Please pray for us that we would take full advantage of this matching gift and be ready to go when summertime hits.

Be sure to be back with us again tomorrow. We’re going to hear from some of the same young men and women we heard from today—who are going to tell us about high school, and college, and peer pressure, and temptation, and how Passport2Purity got them ready for it—where they stood strong and where they weakened. I hope you can tune in for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch—and special help today from Mark Ramey. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

©Song:  Keep Your Heart

Artist:    Seeds Family Worship

Album:  Passport2Purity© (p) 2012

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Copyright © 2013 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

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Fun, engaging conversations about what it takes to build stronger, healthier marriage and family relationships. Join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson with FamilyLife Today® veteran cohost Bob Lepine for new episodes every weekday.

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