I Have a Dream

by Sheila St. John
Winter 2024

I am reflecting on the articles in this edition on Martin Luther King Day, when we recall his famous speech inspiring us with his dream for the type of world his children would inherit. While racism has always been with us, and probably always will be to some extent, our culture rightly regards it an evil, not to be tolerated.

In this edition, we explore a creeping evil, often presented as a good to be tolerated, even celebrated, in our culture. The falsehood being perpetuated is that being male, or female, is a choice—an irrelevant societal construct we inherited from less enlightened times. Like the frog sensing danger and jumping out of a pot of boiling water, one would think such absurdity would be rejected as harmful and dangerous. However, like the frog lounging luxuriously in the comfort of a soothing pot of tepid water, the culture warmed up to this extreme position one degree at a time, over decades of escalating messaging.

Initially, the message was that we could, under certain difficult circumstances, alter our bodies through contraception and sterilization to negate the fruit of our male/female union. Over the years, the culture accepted this chemical/surgical alteration of our male and female characteristics as the norm for all. Today, we routinely alter and suppress normal function in girls as young as middle school, and certainly by high school. This process is treated so casually, that girls of any age can now obtain these powerful synthetic hormones to alter their delicately balanced physiology over the counter, without a prescription, absent any screening by her physician, and without her parents’ knowledge. Surely it is not difficult to see how we advanced to providing children powerful puberty blockers to arrest blossoming male and female characteristics. We have been doing this progressively, gradually cranking up the temperature, for several generations now.

I too have a dream. I dream of a world where…

  • children are affirmed as fearfully and wonderfully made.
  • adolescents are prepared to understand and integrate the changes of puberty.
  • diversity of interests and temperament are embraced, so females who are competitive/ambitious/athletic, and males who are sensitive/nurturing/artistic, are celebrated in these expressions of their femininity and masculinity.
  • it is only normal for young women to learn to observe and chart their cycle when they begin having periods.
  • young women—all women—are secure in their womanhood, effectively advocating for themselves when it is dismissed or defiled, even—or especially—by their own doctors.
  • women have access to healthcare that seeks to diagnose the cause of painful periods, heavy or unusual bleeding, PMS, irregular cycles, infertility, etc. and restore normal function.
  • men are secure in their manhood, finding strength in self-mastery, and not vulnerable to pressure to confuse intentional destruction of fertility as either manly or generous.

We who use, teach, and advocate NFP must lead the way in bringing this dream to reality. The welfare and happiness of our children is at stake. The Church must courageously and unequivocally teach the unchanging truth about what it means to be created male and female. We lay people bear the responsibility—the brunt of the responsibility—for witnessing to the truth, beauty, and goodness of these truths to our culture. We begin in the bosom of our families, in what we teach and model. NFP couples embracing their authentic female and male natures and mutual fertility, can confidently transmit this perspective to their children. Mothers can teach their menstruating daughters how to chart their bodily changes each cycle. A young lady equipped with this concrete, experiential self-knowledge, and young men exposed to this appreciation of the complexity of a woman’s cycle, will not be as vulnerable to the confusions of our contraceptive culture.

About The Author

Sheila St. John
Sheila St. John is the Executive Director of the California Association of Natural Family Planning, coordinating the non-profit’s education and advocacy efforts throughout the state. Initially attracted to NFP as a healthy, effective method for planning families, drug, device and surgery free, her passion for NFP has grown over the last 42 years as she has journeyed with the over 900 couples she has personally instructed in its use, and been privileged to witness its role in overcoming infertility, women’s health, and the transformation that occurs in lives of men, women, and families, when we embrace God’s design for love and life.

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