Dear Mr. Colson:

Recently I received a letter from a 12-year-old girl—let's call her Virginia. Virginia took strong exception to a commentary I did on Dawson's Creek, the extremely popular and extremely raunchy TV show. Virginia told me I didn't have a clue what I was talking about. The events portrayed on Dawson's Creek—like parents committing adultery and teenagers having affairs with teachers—really do happen, Virginia said. And she finished: "Keep your nose out of other people's business. I think that people know how to raise their kids without your help." Since there are probably lots of other Virginia's out there, I decided to respond to Virginia on the air. So here goes. Dear Virginia, I'm always pleased to receive letters from young listeners, but your statement about people knowing how to raise their own kids makes me wonder. I don't know whether you have a Mom or Dad or both at home, but certainly there are some adults you turn to for guidance. It's to them I want to address this letter. Adults, you see, are supposed to help young people develop an understanding of right and wrong. We are not born with an understanding of right and wrong; it is cultivated in us by family, by schools, and other social structures. Let me give you an example. If you saw a three-year-old playing with matches, you'd stop him. At least, I hope you would, otherwise the poor child might burn himself up. The truth is, we all need someone to help us learn the dangers of life. So my message to those who are helping you become an adult is that they ought to teach you not only not to play with matches; they ought to also teach you why you ought not to be watching Dawson's Creek. Apparently they haven't, so let me tell you why. Kids think that watching erotic programs like these proves that they're "really grown up" and "understand the way things really are." But if you actually live like those kids in Dawson's Creek, you'll suffer nothing but heartache. For example, have you ever thought about the spouses of the people having these affairs on these programs? Do you suppose they think affairs are "cool"? Or when someone your age gets pregnant, do you really think that's "cool"? If you think abortion is an easy answer—get with it, young lady. Surveys tell us that the majority of those who have abortions regret them for the rest of their lives. Sleeping around may seem glamorous and exciting, but all the studies show that people who save sex for marriage end up with the most satisfying sex lives. And other studies have shown that kids are influenced by what they see on TV. So when adults try to guide young people, Virginia, they're not sticking their nose into your business; it's an act of love. Most of all, we have the guidance of God's love. He loves you so much, Virginia, that He wants you to know what is really good, and pure, and noble, and right about life. Let me tell you, Virginia, I've had all the world's so-called pleasures. And they are nothing compared to what Jesus offers. Sincerely, that fellow who butts into your life and tells you what you ought to be—but totally out of love—Chuck Colson.


Chuck Colson


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