TDVAM is NOW. I’m Sorry, What?
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. We are looking at this very important topic all month long. The reason? Simply this: if we build awareness of abuse at the teen/college level of relationships, we will reduce the number of women who are sitting in a support circle when they are 40 or 50 or 60 years old, asking “How come no one told me about this?”
Here’s a good working definition of dating violence: controlling, abusive and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or a combination of these.
Did you know that dating violence is the leading cause of injury to young women?
In our society where one in three teens experiences some type of dating violence, we feel it is more important than ever before to educate students about this very real danger. One of the worst aspects of dating violence is that it is a silent epidemic – two thirds of victims never report the abuse to anyone.
Our TEEN FOCUS program helps get the conversation started so that students (both young women and young men) can learn to develop healthy relationships. They will also become more aware of red flags in relationships – and to listen to their gut, their instincts, the Holy Spirit inside of them if something doesn’t look, sound or feel right in a relationship.
In the opening sessions of this Biblical curriculum, we take a look at our own self-image. Who do we think we are? What makes me tick? What gives me feelings of regret? What adjectives come to mind when I think about me? What is it that I can’t live without? What three things would I like to lose? What do I want to stop? What do I like to talk about and what’s totally off-limits? All these questions and MORE help young people to come to grips with all the ways that God has made them special.
After the students have worked through their own personal profile section of our program, then we turn it sideways and consider how others might define us. When friends, peers, parents, teachers and co-workers think of us, what do they think? Good stuff? Maybe not so good stuff? Maybe we are invisible?
Finally we look at Truth from the Bible to learn (maybe for the very first time!) who we are in the eyes of God our Father, Savior and Counselor. His view of us is the one that matters the most and is the most true.
Here’s my favorite part…
In Genesis 1, God says you are special, you are important because you are made in His image.
In Matthew 10, Jesus says that our Father in heaven knows you so intimately that even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
In Jeremiah, God reminds you that He knew you even before we were conceived.
In Psalm 139, God insists that you are not a mistake. All of your days are written in God’s book.
Reading 1st John 3, you will remember that you are God’s child and He is your Father.
Jeremiah 31 speaks to our hearts: God loves you with an everlasting love.
In Zephaniah 3, God rejoices over you with singing. I’ll never forget the first time I heard that verse and took it to heart. What an image of love!
From Exodus, you are reminded that you are God’s treasured possession.
2nd Thessalonians 2 says that God is your greatest encourager.
From Romans 8, Jesus Christ came to demonstrate that God is for you, not against you. The enemy would have you believe otherwise.
Matthew 6 and 12 are both very clear that you are more valuable to Christ than birds, sheep and lilies.
Over and over in Scripture, you can see that you are a beloved child of God, that you are enough because He is enough … that He will provide all that you need to live a rich life full of His love, no matter what the world is telling you. You are His and no one can snatch you out of his hand. And even when you mess up, He forgives and carries you along.
We hope that if you are an advocate for teens, a youth leader, a school counselor or a concerned parent, you will consider taking a closer look at TEEN FOCUS and how to help the students in your circle learn the way to healthy relationships that honor God and bring them the most joy.
Let’s pray and ask God how we can put a dent in those statistics. FOCUS Ministries is here to help and support. God bless your hours and minutes today.
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