Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Teen pregnancy and the fate of youth

I might be preaching to the choir here, but I am finding it hard not to comment on the interview of Bristol Palin, teenage mom.

I hadn't paid much attention to the news reports about Bristol Palin because I felt that it was their family's business. I don't think it should have gotten so much publicity, and I don't think it had anything to do with Sarah Palin's campaign.

However, as you know, Bristol Palin herself appeared in an interview, and I am glad that she is keeping the dialogue open, whatever her motivation.

In the interview, Bristol sounded like any first-time mother. She was tired from lack of sleep, a bit dazed from how her life had changed...yet totally in love with her new baby. Other than the teenage lingo, you would have thought Bristol was just another celebrity mom, visiting a talk show.

Bristol tried to make a reference to abstinence, but the interviewer seemed to be more interested in the lack of contraception involved, and in the poor teen having to "grow up too fast."

Sure, it's become a challenge to make room in life for this unexpected development. But as Sarah Palin notes, the outlook is good. Bristol is a "strong and bold woman, and she is an amazing mom," Palin said. "And this little baby is very lucky to have her as a mama. He's going to be just fine." (CNN)

The tragedy is not that a woman had to change her priorities to make room for a baby. The tragedy is that two young people were not able to resist temptation.

The message that the media gives is, oh dear, another teenage girl will miss her prom because she's too busy changing diapers.

The message that is missing is that extra-marital sex is a sin at any stage in life and has severe consequences-emotional, physical, and spiritual.

Sarah Palin, an advocate for abstinence in the past, has now been quoted as saying, "Get beyond the ideal of abstinence. Hey. Life happens. It's not the most ideal situation. Certainly you make the most of it."

Life happens? Is that how you define sin? Oops, I committed adultery. That's life. I'm sorry I lied to you, life happens.

I understand the need to be diplomatic. It's not helpful to judge, or offer unsolicited advice. I understand that it's not polite to ask an unmarried girl raised in a Christian home why she went ahead and had sex. It's better to compliment her on how cute her baby is and to offer sympathy on the challenges she's facing.

I understand that it's hard to talk about these things. But we have to, if we want to encourage the youth. Otherwise, they will begin to believe lies: "I don't have to tell anyone. " "No one else seems to feel bad about this." "Everyone else is doing it and they don't seem to have any problems."

High school and college students face a lot of temptations. One thing I learned from those years is that there is no such thing as tolerance in the Christian walk. Christ said, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters." (Luke 11:23) If a friend is not helping you flee sin, he's leading you into it. One day you might be cool for being different, but the next day those same admirers are at your door, testing your limits.

Perhaps Sarah and Bristol Palin's comments are "abstinence-only" approach in sex-ed is "un-realistic." Because although schools might tell kids about the consequences, they are not going to provide them with the spiritual discipline needed to succeed.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you... The message everywhere seem to be to forget the idea of abstinance because un-married sex is just too tempting to expect anyone to refuse!

    No one expects that the joys of ownership are so tempting that theft ought to be expected and accepted!


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