According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of American students using condoms hit its peak at around 60% a decade ago, and has stalled since then, even declining among some demographics. A recent study released by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada found that nearly 50% of sexually active college students aren’t using condoms. Other reports have found that while teenagers are likely to use a condom the first time they have sex, their behavior becomes inconsistent after that.
Health officials from Oregon to Georgia are ringing alarm bells about rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases, worried that kids aren’t getting the message. Sex education is more robust than it was for previous generations, but a 2012 Guttmacher Institute report revealed that while nearly 90% of high schools are teaching students about abstinence and STDs, fewer than 60% are providing lessons about contraception methods.
The CDC estimates that half of new STD infections occur among young people. Americans ages 15 to 24 contract chlamydia and gonorrhea at four times the rate of the general population, and those in their early 20s have the highest reported cases of syphilis and HIV. READ MORE
In his recent comments to the Pontifical Council for the Family, Pope Francis shared some advice he gives to young parents…
“When I hear the confession of a young married man or woman, and they refer to their son or daughter, I ask, ‘How many children do you have?’ and they tell me. Maybe they’re expecting another question after that, but I always ask, ‘And tell me, do you play with your children? Do you waste time with your children?'”
“The free gift of a parent’s time is so important,” he said.
What terrific advice. So many families–even faithful, godly families–have allowed themselves to be reduced to a collection of individuals living under the same roof. In a time when family life is choked out by so many other activities, we need to remember that most important activity we can ever be involved in is family life itself. We tend to think of family as something we have not something we do, but “family” is a verb and we need to give family life the time it deserves if it is to bear the fruit our Catholic faith tells us it can.
Pope Francis comments remind the whole Church that “wasting” time with our children is the most valuable way we can spend our time.
If you would like more ideas for creating a truly joy-filled family life, check out Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parent Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids