Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Interview with Jackie Brewton, Part 2

I’ve always believed parents could have a much greater influence than they think regarding their children’s choice to or not to have sex. Yet parents tend to remain far too silent on the issue. They often fail to share their personal/family values and beliefs regarding sex, cracking the door only ever so slightly to a conversation limited to contraception and pregnancy prevention. According to Jackie Brewton, believe it or not, teens really are interested in mom’s and dad’s thoughts on the subject. Here’s what else she had to say on the “first line of defense,” the “sad stuff” and why she does what she does:

First line…

Monica: Do parents not realize they are the first line of defense for their kids?

Jackie:  They don’t. The thing is parents don’t think their kids listen to them. When asked who has the greatest influence regarding their decision about sex, studies show the majority of teenagers say their parents have the most influence. However, parents will say the media or friends have the most influence on their teens’ decision about sex.

Another reason adults are silent is because they don’t realize they’re giving out advice based on outdated information. Many parents still think the worst thing that can happen to their child is pregnancy. They’re thinking, “It’s just like it was when I was growing up.” Parents don’t realize the consequences are more severe today than they were years ago. In the 60s there were two sexually transmitted diseases (STD).  Today, in 2013, there are over 25. Today, there are STDs spread by skin to skin contact, which condoms will not fully protect against. Getting that information into the hands of parents and letting them know the seriousness is the start.

I do encounter parents who get it once they come out to my parent presentations and hear the information. Unfortunately, the challenge is getting them to actually come out.

The sad stuff…

Monica: After your classes, the students are given the assignment to write you letters anonymously. Many of these letters contain heavy confessions or heartbreaking stories. How do you navigate the sad stuff?

Jackie: That’s the challenging part. I try not to feel like I have to solve every kid’s problem, but that’s a lot easier said than done. Intellectually, I understand it’s not my job to fix their problems; from a heart stand point it’s hard to let that be enough to stop me from internalizing them. However, for every sad story I hear or read I probably hear eight to 10 positive stories. I think that helps as well.

 #WhyIDoWhatIDo

Monica: On your facebook page, you often use the hashtag #WhyIDoWhatIDo behind your posts. So, why do you do what you do?

Jackie: Because this is what I was put here on earth to do. Years ago, while working in corporate America I read a book by Les Brown. In the book he said, “I don’t think people were created to work for a living. I think people were created to make what they live for their work.” Also, while I was in corporate America I attended a workshop led by a financial planner. He talked about how you can tell what your passion is because it’s the thing you would do for free. I knew then that I wouldn’t work in corporate America for free.

There are times when I can almost see the seed being planted, where I know the students are hearing truth for the first time in their lives. At this point I know that they can never unlearn what they have just learned. Seeing the light bulb go off on students’ faces… It’s a wonderful feeling to know that this is what I was put here on earth to do. I’m in my sweet spot.

Jackie Brewton has been in her sweet spot, enjoying speaking to tens of thousands of youth, adults, parents and educators in the United States and in Africa for over a decade. On her website you’ll find this quote:

“I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  ` Mother Theresa

Much like these words, Jackie Brewton is casting stones and creating countless ripples across the deep waters of the lives of teens and young adults all across the country.

This month at jackiebrewtonblog.com, Jackie will be featuring a hugely insightful blog series entitled Teens Tell All. Top 20 Reasons Why Teens Do and Don’t Have Sex. If you are the parent of a pre-teen/teen, or if someone you know is the parent of a pre-teen/teen, OR if you simply have pre-teens and/or teens in your life, you really don’t want to miss this series. You can sign up on the blog site to have the series delivered right to your inbox. If you are a parent of teens, I strongly encourage you to do so.

AND if you’re reading this post via Facebook, click over and like her Facebook fan page – Jackie Brewton, CEO of MotivationN3D. There she shares educational articles, quotes, and anonymous letters from students that will make you celebrate and make your heart grieve all at once.

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM). You can learn more about NTPPM by clicking here.

Until next time…