What has influence?

What shapes the choices we make about sexual morality? Are we helpless in the face of pressures from society and peers?

When my oldest daughter became seriously interested in a young man she was dating, I became concerned about the influence that music, media, and movies might have had on her. Messages from movies, television shows, advertisements, and popular music often condone or advocate sexual license. An immoral lifestyle is made to seem "the good life"—free and pleasurable—and living without sensual pleasures is somehow "missing out."

Even though I had tried to teach my daughter the value of sound morals, I was afraid that what she had learned would be no match for the influence of pervasive current attitudes. I struggled with the thought that these destructive attitudes are contagious, communicating themselves to the unsuspecting, and too widely accepted to be resisted. I knew others were similarly concerned about influences on young people. It seemed as if my daughter, and mankind in general, had been put in a hopeless position of being without recourse.

It had always been my experience that if I prayed, relying on what I knew to be true of God and man through my study of Christian Science, I could find the way out of seemingly impossible predicaments. I realized that the belief that man could be in a hopeless position was based on some mistaken assumptions—that man is material, basically selfish, impelled by instincts, with a mind of his own, but susceptible to the thoughts of others. This man is left to his own devices to save himself from wrong influences.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

A career in friendship
January 17, 1994

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.