Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Teen Pregnancy - Fad or Fate

While taking a break for lunch today, I was catching up on the headlines and read an article on Bristol Palin. You know, the center of controversy for Gov. Sarah Palin's VP run?

As a recap, Bristol is the eldest daughter of the Palin's and during the candidacy, she was a hot topic issue - teen pregnancy. News outlets across the globe worked tirelessly to tarnish the image and reputation of a politician at the expense of a child. I know, another great showing for the media. Way to go!!!

Anyway, Ms. Bristol has recently given birth to a healthy baby boy named Tripp and she's engaged to the father. She claimed in an interview on Fox recently that it wasn't her mother's decision for her to keep the baby, it was her decision and she made it. Further, the father was in full support of both the baby and the upcoming marriage. Given sociological statistics, I think it would be best not to judge and just wait and see what happens in light of the coming attraction.

As a woman and a mother, I was impressed by both Gov. Palin as well as Bristol for their absorption of the ugly punches as well as the class they exuded during the campaign.

But in this recent article / interview, Bristol said something that (of course) would become the headline...she said she didn't believe that abstinence was realistic. Hmmm...interesting statement. I must admit that I have not been able to read the entire transcript from the interview, but of course the article does not say anything in line to why she said that, in what context and what else was said.

However, let's take this idea for a minute and play with it. Is abstinence, in this global community, really realistic? The side question for me on that, is whether or not the so-called educational systems excuse for "sex ed" is even working or simply a waste of time and resources? And if it is a waste, what are we missing as a society and Christians? What are we neglecting to visualize for the future?

As teenagers, which we've all been, we can all acknowledge the inarguable influence of not just peer pressure, but unabashed adolescent hormones. We've all tried and we know that hormones CANNOT be turned off no matter what anyone says or how much you love Jesus. But, can the mind really overcome the matter? Can the spirit/Spirit triumph over the temptation?

For many parents facing this issues today, they had experienced sexual activity during their teen years. Once you become a parent, your visualization changes, for arguably a number of reasons and you simply don't want your children falling in the same traps you did. But can we stop them? Can we control everything? Who sells chastity belts? Catch my drift.

I've meet wonderful Christian parents who established a loving and moral home for their children and did everything one can imagine right in raising their children. But, their children still made their own decisions, good and bad. I have also witnessed what some may say are horrible parents, the worst of influences imaginable. And yet, their children grew up making the right choices, some even ending up abstinent until marriage.

What then are the sociological, psychological and theological factors thus involved? Is teen pregnancy not just something for our crazed popular culture or did it indeed exist since the beginning of time? After all, every generation has their fare share of teen pregnancy's in and out of where is the standard, the moral, the idea? Are girls in the spotlight like Bristol Palin, Jamie Lynn Spears or the Massachusettes pregnancy pact creating a recent fade of teen pregnancies? Or is it that new car syndrome, where once you buy a new car, you suddenly see that car everywhere? So, we become brutalized by the media through one teen pregnancy story and now we notice all teen pregnancy stories? So I ask you, Fad or Fate?

We were created inherently good, yet born with sin. So is it even avoidable to face sexual activity and teen pregnancy?

I think humans intend well with everything. I think there are astringent socio and psychological issues involved in each situation and that we must be incredibly cautious when daring to judge on something that is not concrete but fluid in social context and realities. I believe that we all sin and do things we know aren't the best choices and some people end up with harder consequences as a result. I'd rather my teenage daughter (which I don't have by the way - just hypothetical) come to me with a pregnancy issue and wanting to keep the baby, than coming to me with HIV, wanting an abortion, other STD's, rape. At least I could have the peace that it was consensual and that babies are blessings irregardless the box they come in. I would be better equipped to deal with that than the other. Though I would find a way to work with the other, I would have more natural resources for the first.

I don't wish young sexual drama on anyone and I wish we could make our young people understand that...but did we listen at their age? So how do you confront this?


summernicole said...

I have to admit that I was proud of Bristol for admitting that abstinence was realistic. I think as Christians we often times forget about being human and the hormones that come along with that. Yes, in an ideal world being abstinent until marriage would be realistic but in today’s world it’s not something that everyone can obtain. We also have to realize that not everyone in the world believes in the same faith or holds the same morals or values of the Christian faith; we’re all brought up differently. We cannot nor should we expect every person in this world to adhere to what we believe is right, it’s not a reality. Instead, we need to look at the world in a realistic view and realize what the current situation of today’s society is. Though I know teen pregnancy is not just something of our generation, it has happened as far back as we can trace, it’s only recently that families are more excepting of their daughters/son’s circumstance, it wasn’t that long ago that unwed pregnant mothers were sent away from their homes and families swept it under the carpet and kept it quiet. I am proud that we have at least advanced to a society that is more accepting of difficult situations. Let’s face it, being a pregnant teenager has got to be the scariest thing one has ever experienced, if anything, they need all the support they can get.

I think schools need to start addressing sex ed in a real world setting. A lot of parents want to keep it out of schools but unfortunately a lot of parents won’t address those topics at home. I know in my family it wasn’t something that was talked about; I think it was the embarrassment factor that kept my parents from speaking about the “sex” topic. A lot of kids are not getting this talk at school nor at home but it’s not something we can simply ignore because hormones happens even to the best of families.

I have long felt that by teaching just abstinence alone is simply ignoring a problem and not solving it. Sure, that would be ideal and I know even with my younger cousins I feel protective and would like them to wait but then I look at my own life and realize I can’t possibly expect them to do something I wasn’t able to do, again, not realistic! I think we need to look at “ideal” and “realistic” as two separate entities. A wish and hope are “ideal” but real life is “realistic” and they are not the same nor should we teach our kids that they are the same.

In high school I took a class that was all about real life, we learned how to balance check books, sex-ed, what realities marriage entails (mortgage, bills, etc), STD’s and kids. In that class they brought in teen mothers to talk with us (and I believe you were in that class with me if I remember correctly). That in itself was more of a reality check than anything else. Here were teens that acted out on their hormones and consequently had kids. Teenagers need to see actions and consequences and not be taught something that is not going to work. I was reading an article on CNN recently and the disturbing statistics showed that the teens who signed the abstinence pacts were a lot more likely to have pre-marital sex than their counterparts who were not asked to sign the pacts. We all know as teenagers, we often rebel against what our parents teach us, though, it’s usually not in our best interest it’s the reality of being a teenager, again “reality” vs. “ideal”. Our parents rules for us as teenagers are “ideal” but teenagers think they know better than adults (just a stage in life we all go through and I am NOT looking forward too when I have kids one day, hahaha!)

I think teenagers need to be hit in the face with reality. We need to let them know we understand hormones and know that sometimes they are going to act out in a way that is not in their best interest. However, they need to see the reality of consequences, whether that’s talking to teenage moms, babysitting for an entire day or working at a child care center. I know for me being around other peoples’ kids was the best form of birth control there ever was and it still is! We can’t keep pretending pre-marital sex doesn’t happen because it does; it’s the reality of life. But the other reality is consequences happen too and I think teaching consequences (in other words “reality”) is better than teaching abstinence (“ideal”). Don’t get me wrong both need to be taught, but we need to address BOTH sides not just one.

David Richardson said...

Is abstinence realistic? No easy way to answer that. I do know this, however: abstinence is possible.

There are A LOT of young people who DO stay sexually pure until marriage and save themselves for their spouse.

I enjoyed reading this post. Good stuff!

Tamela's Place said...

If absitinence was not realistic then i don't think it would be in the Word of God of why we should abstain from sexual immorality.

Both of our children were taught the consequences of not choosing to abstain and both had to suffer some consequences of their decisions to not abstain. Our daughter got pregnant at age 16 but chose adoption. She wanted her baby to be placed in a family stable home. We were very proud of her and her decision, she was thinking about the baby.

But she eventually married a man who chose to remain a virgin until he married his wife. Well they just recently got married Feb.5th.

So here you have two people one chose early on to engage in premarital sex the other chose to wait until he was married.

The bottom line we are not animals we can refrain. After all one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. So maybe the question to be asked is does the Spirit of God abide in you? and if so, are you rebelling against the Spirit of God when you choose not to abstain from sexual activity before marriage?

Andrew Clarke said...

Oe view I heard on this was, that some teen age girls think that having a baby means they will have someone to love them. It could be their own yearning to feel that they've 'ratified' themselves in some way. I agree with you that a baby is a blessing. What needs to be remembered is that a baby is not an 'accessory'. That baby is a human life and should be respected as such, right from conception.

Christy said...

I think it's completely possible to be young and abstain. I also think one of the biggest problems our society has is Sex-Ed in the schools. They do NOT teach about abstinence, but instead teach about the various birth controls. God's pushed out of public schools, and far too many families do NOT make our Lord FIRST in their life, so there for how are their children learning? They look on tv and in magazines, movies, etc and see sex being "glamourized". They hear all these so called "experts" talking about how teaching abstinence is a failure, yet it's not being taught.

I have been blessed in just the last 3 yrs to say I have met 9 couples here at our duty station that saved themselves until their wedding night, 2 of them didn't even KISS until at the Preacher's insistance of "You may kiss your bride". How amazing and wonderful is that?

As Christians, The Lord had made it very clear what he expects of us and if he tells us it's possible, then it is. To excuse it imo is slapping God in the face and calling him a Liar. We should have higher expectations of ourselves and teach our children to have higher value of their bodies, and most of all higher value of God's word.

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