EXAMPLES FROM CHOOSING THE BEST WAY (7th GRADE)
Below please find three examples from Choosing the Best Way, which will be taught to 7th graders. As mentioned earlier, these are but a few examples. We encourage you to obtain the teacher's guides (or Leader Guides) for the Choosing the Best curricula and study them for yourselves.
Lesson 1: "Deciding on Your Future"
From the beginning, the Choosing the Best materials emphasize abstinence not just as the best choice for teens but until marriage. For example, at the beginning of the very first lesson, the teacher states:
"... You will discover why abstinence until marriage is the best way to prepare for your future and the only way to avoid certain sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy...." (Choosing the Best Way, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 5)
Note that here the teacher is required to teach incorrect information, since abstinence is not the only way to avoid pregnancy.
Lesson 4: "Identifying the Risks"
Choosing the Best emphasizes the risks that accompany sexual activity. The first risk identified in this lesson is teen pregnancy. In the video accompanying Lesson 4, a student named Athena discusses the consequences she experienced when she became pregnant as a teen. The lesson then goes on to discuss the emotional effects of sex outside of marriage and refers back to Athena in the video. The teacher is to say:
"One risk of sexual activity that is often overlooked is the emotional effect. No one goes into a relationship thinking how he or she will be affected emotionally, but a person can be very affected. Look at 'Risk #2 Emotional Effects' on page 25." [This box in the student workbook lists six possible emotional effects of sexual activity outside of marriage: guilt, depression, worry, disappointment, regret, and loss of self-esteem.]
"Which of these emotional effects occur to a teenager who becomes sexually active? (All) ... What might have happened if Athena had made the decision not to have sex before marriage? [Ask students to...] Write down a new ending to Athena's story based on the different decisions she could have made. (She may have thought, 'If I have sex then I will not meet several goals in my life. If I choose abstinence then I will have a better future.' Athena then could have acted upon being abstinent until marriage. Her new life could include a high school education, and possibly a college education, a chance to establish a career, a wedding to someone who loved her and respected her and a wedding night where she and her husband shared something special that she had never shared with anyone else. ..." (Choosing the Best Way, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 25, emphasis in original materials)
While education and career are mentioned here, the primary emphasis of Choosing the Best is on an idealized vision of the wedding and wedding night. Although “determination” is the character trait emphasized in Lesson 1 of Choosing the Best Way, this example here in Lesson 4 implies that it is impossible to overcome possible negative consequences of sexual activity. Athena’s life is over—she will not be able to achieve any goals, whether education, career, or even a marriage to someone who loves and respects her. This message is repeated throughout the materials for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade.
Lesson 5: "Choosing the Best Way"
In the video for Lesson 5, a teen named Alicia states:
"Abstinence is important to me ... (premarital) sex is like pre-chewed chewing gum ... is that what you want to present to your husband?" [This quote is also written in the student workbook at p. 31]
The teacher then states:
"What does Alicia mean by the example “pre-chewed” chewing gum? (Gum that has already been chewed isn’t as appealing as when it is still wrapped and new. Abstinence allows a person to experience the newness and freshness of sex in a marriage relationship).”
After one further example, the teacher then discusses Lauren, another teen from the video, stating:
“You’ll notice that Lauren was sexually active as a younger teenager and she saw how it negatively affected her life. Then, she made the decision to wait until marriage. This is called renewed virginity.” (Choosing the Best Way, Leader Guide, Third Edition, p. 31, emphasis in original materials)
The concept of “renewed virginity” is fictitious. It is impossible, technically, to become a “virgin” again or “renew” one’s “virginity.” These examples demonstrate that Choosing the Best is not concerned primarily with risks but is concerned primarily with purity. The overwhelming message is that people—most especially women—should be virgins when they get married. This notion of "renewed virginity" is emphasized in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade materials.