Had the Talk? : President’s Corner August 2016: Dr. Freda Bush

“Why am I involved with the Medical Institute?”

It’s simple.  I have four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. My husband, Lee, and I determined years ago, “It is not enough for us to be concerned about ‘our four and no more’ as they will be living in this world with others”.

I’m a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and that upbringing provided a healthy moral compass for me and my eight siblings. We were raised to view life from a spiritual nature and use scriptures as a guide. Additionally, we were taught the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

In 1995, Lee, my husband, began working with the Junior League of Jackson, MS teaching an abstinence education program to inner city middle school boys and girls. When Lee began teaching young boys, he wanted to teach them what he was teaching our son – how to be a good husband to his wife and a good father to their children. He also said, “Who knows if one of those boys might become a husband to one of our daughters?”

The educational resources available from the Medical Institute (MI) were introduced to me when I attended a conference titled, “Abstinence and the African American Youth. Dr Doug Eaton, a member of the MI National Advisory Board, presented medically accurate scientific information on sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases that encompassed ethics and values.

He explained from a medical perspective the physical, psychological and emotional risk of early sexual debut as well as the long term psychological baggage inherent in having multiple sexual relationships. Listening to his presentation was as refreshing as drinking “a glass of cold water in the desert”.

Medical Institute wants to give that same “glass of cold water” to as many people as we can. We want to reach health professionals, educators and parents and empower them with the truth.  Our Building Family Connections program trains facilitators who in turn teach parents how to talk with their teens about sex.

This year, MI launched an on-line resource for parents titled, “Had the Talk?” It turns scientific information into active and engaging dialogue for sexual health topics. This resource provides the tools to increase parenting adults-youth communication and connectedness. Hopefully, it improves the health of youth by emphasizing healthy relationships, postponing the age of sexual debut and avoiding the consequences of casual sex.

I’d like to invite you to go to our new website at www.hadthetalk.org and download our free Resource Guide. Visitors to the site will also be directed to our online store for more resources that they can purchase. This is just the beginning. We have more to come in the near future to help parents “Have the Talk?” which hopefully will become an ongoing dialogue with their teens regarding healthy relationships and healthy sexual activity. After all, parents continue to have the strongest influence on their children regarding sexual behavior than any other source.

I, like Frederick Douglas, an African American statesman, believe, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,”