Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Parents of Boys, Welcome to the HPV Vaccine Dilemma

Parents of boys may soon experience the same vaccine dilemma parents of girls have lived for the last few years. Should we give our child the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine? Announced earlier today, a government advisory panel is now suggesting that males aged 11-12 get the three shot series.

Unlike many vaccines, this one promotes heated discussion because it crosses ethical dilemmas and religious convictions. The push to vaccinate kids before schools have even introduced them to integers and information on potential scary side effects to this relatively new vaccine leaves parents in a quandary.

From a medical perspective, I understand why they want to vaccinate early. Merck has been very honest that for the vaccine to be effective it must be given BEFORE any exposure to the disease. And, with students experimenting at younger ages, the age of vaccination necessarily goes down.

But it’s a tough choice. We have these tiny little people that God has entrusted to us and we love with all our hearts. We want to make right decision. And, I can’t tell you what that is. Sorry if you were looking for an easy answer. In fact, I will be the first to admit that I’m thankful I still have some years to watch the research, talk with trusted pediatricians, and pray about it before we have to make a choice for our girls.

Either way, getting the facts straight is critical. I’m concerned the name “HPV vaccine” will cause a false perception of what the shot series actually protects from. It is NOT a vaccine to protect from all HPV. While over 100 strains of HPV exist (over 30 of which are transmitted sexually), this vaccination is meant to protect from four types- 6, 11, 16, and 18. (Interestingly enough, prevention for 16 & 18 in males was just approved in December 2010). Do the math and you’ll quickly realize that HPV will still exist, as will warts, cervical, penile, anal and throat cancer. This is not a get out of HPV free card.

Sadly, condoms aren’t going to be the solution either. Since HPV is a skin to skin contact disease and latex can’t cover the entire genital region, young ones will still be infected and lives will be forever changed. This may be one reason more than one in two sexually active singles become infected with HPV. Even those trying to be “safe” aren’t.

As parents, we must recognize that the solution, the real get out of HPV free card, is found in risk elimination NOT risk reduction. For our sons and daughters to escape this threat, they must honor a NO GENITAL CONTACT before marriage boundary, vaccinated or not. We need to teach our kids not to rely on three little shots but to stand confident in Godly character. Boys must be taught that respecting healthy boundaries will help his date to feel safe and protect his future wife. Girls must find joy and beauty in hiding what God meant to be treasure for her future spouse alone. This is our job…to train up a child in the way he should go (Prov 22:6)…not to say yes to a shot, zip our mouths, and hope our children will dodge a bullet.

I’m not saying vaccinating for HPV is wrong (that is a decision to made between individual parents and God) or that kids raised in Christian homes won’t make ungodly choices. I am saying that the medical community wasn’t called to do our job. WE need to help our children understand that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and, consequently, they need to demand respect for themselves and show that same respect to others around them. WE need to be educated so that we can have the critical conversations with our kids about this topic and we must address it often so that our children continue to see us as the “go-to” person in their lives. Most of all, we must stay dialed into our Life Line, the Lord, so that we can act in His wisdom and feel confident in our parenting choices.

I find the most fascinating piece of this “push” to be the overt acknowledgement that they took a new look at the male vaccine recommendations not only because they are concerned about the boys’ health, but because they are concerned about transmission to girls who are not being vaccinated at the numbers they hoped for. Will boy parents buy into this reasoning? Will they be more receptive to the vaccine than girl parents apparently have been? Time will tell.

For more education and to help grow your teens in character, I would encourage you to read and then share Nobody Told Me with your teen. Their eyes will be opened to the truth and the voices of their peers will encourage them to make healthy choices.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Feeds Your Soul?

This is the question the wise Luci Swindoll posed at this year’s Women of Faith.

I’ve been quiet in this space this month. It has been a crazy month to say the least. Pam and I have been working on final wording and graphics for Who’s In Your Social Network. I’ve jumped into the room mom role and have been researching and working with two other amazing moms to create a fun fall party for our sweet kindergarteners this Friday. The crisis pregnancy center that I volunteer with has required creative energy. And, on top of that, there is life. You know, like preparing meals, doing laundry, playing duck duck goose in the living room. :)

I can’t imagine a better life and yet, as a woman, I tend to think about everyone else before myself. That is why I thoroughly enjoyed attending Women of Faith IMAGINE this weekend. Women of Faith is my yearly “me” trip and I can’t imagine any better way to feed my soul.

If you’ve never been, I highly suggest gathering some girlfriends and road trippin’ it to the nearest event. As if car trips and pajama parties aren’t enough to seal a deal, the messages are life transforming.

Nicole Johnson referred to the event as the washing up of the misfits. It’s an arena full of women – no one perfect, each with their own story and “stuff” - but all passionate about their love for Christ. That in and of itself would be enough for me. But, as the thousands laugh and cry together a sisterhood is formed.

The first year that my mom went she came back with the packet on fire to talk about every speaker and vocal artist. I thought she was crazy until I experienced it for myself the next year. I fell in love and have been a group leader for seven years since. Obviously I’d love to go on and on about each person’s message and the power in it, but I don’t want to spoil your surprise when you go.

Hint. Hint.

I would say this.

No speaker at this conference will put on a pretty face and tell you how to be the perfect Christian. No speaker will preach at you and pretend to be without flaw. Rather, they will be vulnerable and transparent, combining their honest pain and valuable life experiences with faith-filled knowledge to blanket you in the One who sees you, knows you, and loves you far greater than you could ever “imagine.”

It doesn’t matter if you come feeling on top of the world, worn out, or unlovable. You will leave velcroed to Kyrios {The One to Whom I Belong} and confident of your immeasurable worth.

An added gift to the weekend was meeting Angie Smith, who actually gave me the most fun Greek lesson of my life during her talk.

Her blog, Bring the Rain, is without question my favorite blog ever and if you aren’t following it start NOW! Trust me, you'll thank me. (And be sure to go back and read this post because it's incredible.) Angie and I are twitter friends so it was fun to step out of the virtual communication world and give her neck a big squeeze in real life.

My batteries were spiritually recharged. My soul has been fed. I’m ready for the demands of everyday life…and I can’t wait for the fun to be had at Women of Faith “Celebrate” 2012.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pre-order Who's In Your Social Network

You know when you're having a ho-hum morning and you pull on a pair of jeans only to discover an unexpected dollar bill in the pocket unearthing mega excitement?

That is how I felt in my own life yesterday.

My day was going along as normal when I received communication about a potential interview for Pam and my new book: Who's In Your Social Network. At first I was confused. Not wanting to up the ante on something not yet available, Pam and I haven't even revealed the amazingly designed cover for this new treasure yet. Why do an interview if we can't direct people to get it?

And then we discovered that it is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! {Note that they both have a pre-order sale price right now...bonus!}

I couldn't contain my excitement. Squealing with joy, I attempted to share my happiness with my 4 year old and five month old girls who merely thought I'd lost my marbles so I phoned a more understanding crowd and shared the news with my husband. :)

This book is a break out on the media chapter of Nobody Told Me. Written in the same cool social networking like style, it covers all things media - movies, TV, music, pornography, social networking, etc.

And it is a must have for the teenagers in your life.

Media is like our diet. Just like food is a necessary part of life, media is a necessary part of our culture. All of us use it. None of us can avoid it, nor should we But, the type of media we consume will determine the way our character looks.

Inside the pages are powerful stories from students and adults who have learned the hard way, honest questions, a challenge for each teen to personally assess their own media diet, practical guidelines for healthy boundaries, and incredible examples of positive media and teens using it to change this world for God's glory.

According to a recent study, today's teens consume an average of 7.5 hours of media per day. When taking multitasking into account, that number jumps to 10 hours and 45 minutes. That is a lot of influence on one's thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Make sure the student you love gets the help they need to effectively think through their media choices so that they can exercise wisdom and walk in His ways!

And now, for the big cover reveal that you've all been waiting for

Isn't it cool?!

For those who use the links to pre-order, know the book is scheduled to be released the first week of January 2012. We pray it will bless your families.

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