The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 10, 2013

The importance of purity

By Lisa Shrewsberry
Lifestyles Editor

— To illustrate a point, the following is a brief transcript of a text conversation I had with my daughter, home on a recent snow day:

Me: What r u doing?

Her: Watching Netflix (: I love you

Me: I love you! … Whatcha watchin?

Her: Well, we keep trying to find a movie. LOL.

Me: No really scary stuff. Consider you r still a lil girl.

No Buckwild or people kissing. As a matter of fact, watch Andy Griffith or Lil House on the Prairie or old episodes of I Love Lucy. Hallmark Channel Rocks!

Her: Good Lord, Momma! We are watching things that are appropriate…

Another mother-friend affirmed to me the text could’ve been an exchange between her and her teenage daughter, verbatim.

What is it we hovercrafts really want for our children? To badger the zest for life right out of them? Worldly fame, fortune and to just blend in with the crowd? No on both counts — our well-intentioned diatribes stand as proof that we just want to hold onto our little girls for a little while longer.

In essence, we crave purity.

Kelli Carrico, former high school English teacher and present mother of two girls, wants the same, but for a more universal reason. As the go-to person and youth pastor/director for First Baptist Church, Beckley, Carrico is holding her second annual Purity Conference at the church Friday evening. There, she will act as host of a serious conversation packaged in fun about girls’ and boys’ sense of self-worth, about the choices they face in a world of constant information and about their relationship with the opposite sex.

“Not just girls, but boys, the school quarterback included, can still be pure guys,” maintains Carrico. “I think about my 10-year-old daughter as one motivating factor for doing this. Everywhere you look, even walking past (popular clothing stores), something is teaching them to grow up as quickly as possible.”

Included in the growing up, but not limited to it, is the topic of sexual activity. Recent and highly publicized research by the West Virginia Kids Count organization revealed one in seven West Virginia teenage girls will have a baby. For Raleigh County, Carrico’s particular burden, the teen pregnancy rate is about 56 per every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19, ranking the county No. 34 among 55.

“We want to teach these girls and guys they are worth waiting for. If it’s easy to get, then it’s not valuable. That’s our society’s viewpoint with other things. The more expensive the car, the longer you have to work to get it. If you are giving yourself away so easily, so quickly, what are you saying about your value?”

For a guy’s perspective, members of the locally grown Contemporary Christian group SHEA, are set to weigh in at the conference, revealing what guys really think about girls and about what is truly enticing for future long-term and healthy relationships.

Karen Spurlock, a West Virginia native and songstress, travels full-time with her music promoting the value of purity in youth. She will also be at the conference to share her music and her message.

Purity, in no uncertain terms to Carrico, is not a half-hearted pledge made to please others inside a fleeting moment. Her conference is geared to share a lifelong message more akin to the textbook definition for purity — a type of freedom, freedom from anything that debases, corrupts or pollutes.

“This is not a ‘True Love Waits Conference’ — it’s not about what to do or not to do with a girl or boy. To live a pure life has a lot to do with attitude. Not everyone has to wear long skirts and no makeup to be pure. Purity is a life choice.”

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