Q: What are practical steps girls can apply to their everyday lives to remain pure?
Decide beforehand what your boundaries are. Don't wait until the heat of the moment. Then, find a mentor who stands behind what you've decided and will help you be strong in your decisions!
Q: What are some ways parents can get involved without invading their daughter's privacy or scaring her away?
It's all about relationship. If you want respect from your daughter, she needs to see that you're committed to the same things you're asking of her. If you don't want her to be involved in risky behavior, you need to find help for healing what's causing your own risky behaviors. You can find tips for how to do that on my website as well. Beyond that, if you're already setting that example, start with intentionally hanging out with your daughter---no agenda. Go shopping, watch a movie; do things that build relationship. As she trusts you more and more, she will respect your opinion when an opportunity arises to share it.
Q: Who or what was influential in your decision to save yourself for marriage?
I was raised by parents who loved me and wanted the best for me. Despite that, there were points where I wanted to toss my standards out the window for some immediate gratification. Especially since I felt my innocence had already been robbed---so why not just have a little fun in a way where I could take charge?
Ultimately I really believe it was my family's love through those rough patches that made me want to stick it out and make smart decisions for my future. I'm so glad I had that chance.
Q: How did you meet your husband?
We met at a youth event when we were 14---I have no recollection of it, but he had a crush on me! When I was 22, we reconnected when I worked at summer camp with his sisters. Pretty soon I noticed this tall Swedish-looking guy and that was all it took.
Q: Do young people today really face different challenges with dating and waiting than their parents or any other generations, or it the ages-old battle mankind has always faced?
It's the same battle, just more intense. Parents have less time to engage their kids---and it's not their fault; everything just moves at a faster pace. It's also easy to turn on the TV or get advice from Seventeen . . . there are so many sources of information. But like I said before, I think the answer lies in good old fashioned relationship. If you have that with your kids, they're more likely to respect your opinion and follow it. MORE likely---there are no guarantees.
Q: In a world that views woman as sexualized objects, how can we teach young girls they're worth so much more?
Once again, I think it comes back to relationship. It's not even really how we "teach" young girls, it's more what they pick up from watching us and spending time with us. My daughter is going to soak up more from watching how I dress---how I interact with men---than how someone on TV does. Do I respect myself? Do I show her that?