Today at church we had an interesting lesson. Because it was the fifth Sunday, we had our final meeting combined, men and women. Generally, that final hour of church is spent with the women in Relief Society and the men in Priesthood lessons.
Our bishop had been inspired to speak about the issues the youth are facing today. He told us that two years ago our youth (young men and women ages 12 to 18), were a total number of 24. Now, after many more houses have been finished, they number 72, with 15 more kids turning 12-yrs-old throughout the coming year. That's a large group of youth. Anyway, the bishop invited two young women to speak the the mass of adults today to candidly and openly talk about the things they are exposed to everyday.
Within their high school, these two young women described being accosted by foul language, sexually explicit language, and others of their friends falling to the temptations of sexual activity, homosexuality, bragging about STDs, immodest clothing, non-enforced dress code rules, and other things that would scare any parent.
One thing I found very interesting was that these two juniors in high school both had to rack their brains and actually pray for inspiration as to what to share because they have done so well at blocking it all out. They have grown up with moral examples and have already discovered their self-worth, so they have not paid any attention to those things that would harm them physically, mentally or spiritually. They have surrounded themselves with people that hold their same values. They resist the call to be "of the world" around them.
I realized that I was very lucky growing up. I had good parents who taught me well. I knew I was a Daughter of God. I had friends that lifted me up and kept me on the right path. And some of them are reading this now. I love you and thank you for helping me keep my youth a much easier existence. I was nowhere near being perfect (there are plenty that can verify that!), but because of the good people around me and the testimony I had of the Gospel, I bypassed a lot of pain and sorrow.
Thank you for being my friends! You've helped me more than you'll ever know! :)