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Another reason adults are silent is because they don’t realize they’re giving out advice based on outdated information.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…

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Interview with Jackie Brewton, Part 1

 Today is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the official kick off to National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM) recognized each year during the month of May. You can learn more about them both by clicking  here and here.

Jackie Brewton, CEO of MotivationN3D, is a youth motivational speaker and sex education expert who, for more than 10 years, has been inspiring teens and young adults to dream bigger DREAMS, make better DECISIONS and walk into their DESTINIES! You can learn more about Jackie Brewton by clicking here.

For the past several years, it’s been my privilege to get to know Jackie. I treasure the work she does to educate teens and young adults on the, often, life-altering consequences of poor choices AND to enlighten them on the vast possibilities that lie just across the threshold of healthy ones.

In addition to being a sought after speaker, a dedicated mentor and an advocate for the bright future of teens and young adults, I am honored to call Jackie my friend. In recognition of the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, I sat down with her to learn more about what’s on the minds and hearts of youth today when it comes to s.e.x. Our conversation immediately took a turn toward the role of parents in the always unfolding saga that is the life of many of America’s teenagers. Here’s a little bit of what Jackie had to say:

The sad truth…

Monica: What is the most common theme you hear from young people regarding parental involvement in their decision to or to NOT have sex?

Jackie: The most common [theme] is that there is no involvement. What’s sad [is] if you’re asking a boy [they’ll tell you] they’re almost encouraged to have sex.

Our Fathers encourage us; they make us believe that’s what makes us a man,” said one young man. “As a boy, we don’t want to disappoint our fathers. So when your father encourages you to have sex…we feel like we have to do it so we will make our fathers proud of us.”

Jackie: The sad thing is no father is going to ask his daughter if she’s had sex yet? So that’s what’s so unfortunate…. I had one guy in a class who said, “No adult in my life has ever told me not to have sex.” So I asked, “What do they tell you?” He said, “They tell me to wrap it up.” Another boy sitting beside him said, “When they (the parents) found out I’d had sex, do you know what they said? They said, ‘Thank God you’re not gay.’”

UNsafe assumptions and low expectations…

Monica: So how do parents usually find out their child is having sex? Do the parents ask?

Jackie: I think what’s so sad is they all just assume that it’s happening. Even to the point where some of the girls have said their moms think that they’re having sex, but they’re not and there’s no way they can convince the mom otherwise. They are hurt by the fact their parents expect them to be sexually active and won’t even believe them when they say they’re not sexually active.

What do you expect?

Monica: So, what do you tell parents regarding their expectations of their children?

Jackie: What I tell parents is that kids will live up or down to their expectations. The reason we’re getting what we’re getting from teenagers is because that’s what we’re expecting. Unfortunately parents are making it really easy for their kids to be sexually active because they have low expectations and they’re not raising the standard.

I love the quote by John Steinbeck that says,

“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.”

But these kids don’t have anybody expecting greatness from them. And so they’re not rising to greatness because nobody’s expecting it. That breaks my heart.

*****

It breaks my heart, too. And it should break your heart, as well.

Beginning today and throughout 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, if you know parents of a pre-teen/teen OR if you simply have pre-teens/teens in your life, you really don’t want to miss this series. On the blog site, you can sign up to have the series delivered right to your inbox. I strongly encourage you to do so.

Connect with Jackie Brewton on Facebook by “liking” her fan page – Jackie Brewton, CEO of MotivationN3D. There she shares educational articles, statistics and quotes. She also shares anonymous letters from students she’s met. Trust me, folks, these letters will fill your heart with joy and with sadness all at once. They will enlighten you on what is really going on in the lives of teens and hopefully provide us all with creative insight on what we can do in our individual circles of influence to assist them along their paths toward greatness.

Until next time…

Coming up next at Be Completely You….. Part 2 of my interview with national youth motivational speaker and sex education expert Jackie Brewton in conjunction with the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Don’t miss it.