What is wrong with American culture? Where should I start? Could it be how much we focus on our material possessions? How much we base success off annual earnings? Or how about the way so many people parent based off the preferences of others because they are too afraid to be labeled as one of the bad ones. You know, because if you don't do at least 3 totally Pinterest-y sensory activities with your child every week, you suck. And you fail as a Mom. So don't have your kids too old. Don't have your kids too young. Don't have too many kids. But don't only have one. Don't put them in bed early. But not too late either. Good lord, don't spoil them, but don't do what I consider depriving them either. And holy jeez, spank them. Wait, Don't. Yes. Do. Actually, do whatever the newest issue of Parents magazine tells you this week-unless I think they are wrong.
One of the biggest parenting stigmas I hear about the most is how bad being a teen mom is. And don't forget the show 16 and Pregnant that made it look like a ticking time bomb to have a child young. Well, I'm just going to come out and say it. I don't think there is anything wrong with being a teen Mom. In fact, I think it is right. I believe it is the way God made our bodies. Ever see how easy it is on a younger person to endure pregnancy in general? I hear people in their early thirties complain about how much harder it is being pregnant after age 25. I hear a lot of comments about how easily a young lady's body bounces back just because of their age. Or how easy it is for teens to get pregnant. Ever wonder if that is a sign that our body takes conception and pregnancy best while we are still young? And why would God model our bodies that way if he didn't want teenagers to get pregnant? (Note: I'm not saying having kids at an older age is wrong. I'm saying there is nothing wrong with the way God programed or bodies.)
I hear quite a few arguments about having kids young, but in general, they are all pretty much the same. There is so much buzz about immaturity in young Moms, which as I mentioned earlier is generally caused by that thing we have today called "modern society." But, when you truly look at it, the ones that are going to be totally neglectful parents as teens, probably would be no matter what their age. Generally, they have endured something like neglect growing up or alcoholic parents. Maybe they are on drugs themselves, and the chances of the effects of those things disappearing as they are older are well, slim to none. So again, I say, what about the older Moms who don't care for their children, who abuse their children. Who never took two seconds out of their day to hug their child or learn how to be the best patent they can be? There are just as many of those as their are neglectful teen parents. Age is not a factor here, people.
I was raised by a teen Mom. And she may not have known everything-which by the way, she still doesn't - and she may not have been perfect, but I will always remember the afternoons where we colored in Barbie coloring books together, me striving to color just like her. And I will always remember the energy she had to be a kid and discover with me as a child. She was a great role model for me as a young child. She shaped me into who I am today. She taught me to volunteer my time. She taught me to love education but resist blindly following the masses. Her age, what she wore, the way she talked, like a younger person- did not determine her ability to parent me.
The other thing I also hear a lot about is the lack of resources for "poor, young, Moms." That we have to support them with food stamps and free diaper programs. But people, that is not what young Moms need. That is not what any Mom needs. We, as a society, need a paradigm shift into a different form of thinking. What if we went back to the old ways? Cloth diapers. Growing our own food. It would take a serious revolution, but ladies and gentlemen, this new age way of thinking-disposable diapers, preprepared foods-THIS IS OUR FAULT. These parents don't NEED these things. We have just told them they do! One generation after the next we quickly began relying on big companies to provide for us. Maybe we can't change the world to see it all happen in our lifetime, but we can help Moms learn to do things more cost effectively. We can teach them to cloth diaper with the simple run of the mill, oldin' day cloths. We can teach families how to start gardening and passing it down to their children. We CAN teach families to begin working their way toward self sufficiency so that slowly, but surely, we can change that cycle. This crisis. This crisis of poor and destitute. That is a man made crisis. Not God. Man.
Now, fellow Christians don't get your panties in a wad because I know a few of you right now who are reading this, rolling their eyes, and thinking, "She does not need to be advising anyone who is pregnant. Typical hippie." But as Christians, how can we deny that GOD is FOR teen pregnancy?
Hasn't it been speculated that Mary herself was a teenager? God is steadfast. He does not change. The world has changed. But HE has not changed.
"I, the LORD, do not change...." Malachi 3:6
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." Hebrews 13:8
Christians, we know that God allows things to happen for a reason. That he has plans for each one of us. He "knew you before he knit you in your mother's womb." Jeremiah 1:5. It didn't matter how old your parents were or if they were married on paper when they had sex. It doesn't matter how much money they have or how many assets they owned. We all know the ever popular Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you..." Romans 8:8-also popular, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. "We recite these words to people at church and around town, but do we honestly know the value of them? What would God think if he saw us throwing his book around at people? What do you think he would think about teen pregnancy now?
Sure, maybe people shouldn't be sleeping around-not my life, not my call-but if that is the true issue here, then why aren't people everywhere getting the stink eye and being judged? I know more people who have slept with multiple people than I know that have only had relations with one or even none. What about people like me and my Husband? We were each other's first. We had sex and had a baby on purpose and we wanted to be together. Yet, people still saw a problem with this. Why?
Young people have been having children for years and years. It was never a problem until recent years. For those of us who took any sort of Science in school, if young pregnancy is our constant, what is our variable?....It's culture. And as I stated before, there is something seriously wrong with America's culture today.
We live in a world where allowing children to watch show depicting super stars shaking their butt on stage is okay. But it's not okay for our children to live that way. Hello! They are learning from what they see. We live in a world where it is okay for somebody like me to wear a top cut as low as I want because it attracts men, but it is not okay to breastfeed. Again-we are talking about food, survival here. We live in a world where it is okay to swear like a sailor before going to church on Sunday, but talking about the facts of sex is unnatural. We live in a world where promiscuity is hailed, but the value of a pregnancy-a life-is diminished.
The stigma that American society has placed on young pregnancies is one of the top reasons for abortion. How much longer should we sit by silently and let innocent babies suffer because their parents are terrified of the eyes of judgement staring at her, fingers pointing at her, and Bibles flying at their head? How many more lives are we going to allow to be taken because we think the amount of money in a Mom's bank account or the amount of clothing and toys they can afford for that child should be a factor?
In this age of school, big business, and family planning, it seems teen pregnancies are wrong. But what if we looked at it from another culture's viewpoint? What if we went back to our roots and we quit worrying about all the luxuries that we want and we quit worrying about everything that society tells us. What happens if we go back to a time where things were done more naturally, before man butted in and tried to fix everything that wasn't broken.
We have lived so long in this culture that it is all most of us know. It is all most of our parents know. Maybe grandparents. And great grandparents. And we have allowed this horrible, awful culture that teaches shallow thinking and promiscuity to permeate or children's lives.
What if we did this,? What if we went against the grain and told or children it is okay to have sex with the person you love. NOT just anyone. (Christians reference Ephesians 5:31. God never mentioned a piece of paper to be married spiritually. Although, according to Romans 13:1-7, we are to obey the government, and they will once they want to begin to receive legal benefits, the government does not command us to get married to have sex. And sex is the way to have a spiritual marriage.) When most of us tell our children not to have sex outside of a paper marriage, let's face it, it makes us hypocrites. And nobody wants to And no child is going to listen to a hypocrite. We want to save our children from pain without pushing them into rebellion, so we need to teach them what love really is and to be thoughtful and prayerful in what God wants. That they can discern Satan from God's Will. What if we taught or children that IF they DO get pregnant, we will still love them and their child even more than we already do. That if they need or help from time to time, it truly does take a village and that's okay. Most cultures have this familial code that says, "Your kids are my kids and my kids are yours and they all live together and are taught by each other. And it is nothing to have a house full of grandkids for the night. They feed off of that. But in today's culture, children are often viewed as sucubi. And nobody wants to watch them. And if they are living at home after turning 18 or after getting married and having children, they are somehow failures.
What if we started looking at the important things like LIFE, Family, time together, relationship, helping each other, teaching each others, and having fun. And we became less concerned with things that don't matter, like how old others are when they have children or get married or how much their job pays as we whisper about how "they may have gone further if they hadn't had kids so early. They really should have gone to college." But in reality, they are some of the best parents because they know money doesn't matter and they know how to have fun and spend time with their kids without a dime in their pocket. If we took material out of the equation, what do we get? What if we did that? What would happen?