When I was a senior in high school there was a student, a girl, who disappeared after Thanksgiving. There were lots of rumors but all was confirmed when she showed up at graduation with a baby. That was 39 years ago when shame was heaped on unmarried, pregnant teens. Now attitudes have changed so dramatically that a senior in a Washington state high school faked a pregnancy because she wanted to expose the stereotypes and rumors associated with being an expectant teenage mom. (Read the story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1379460/High-school-student-17-pretends-pregnant-senior-project.html)
Gaby Rodriguez convinced all her classmates, teachers, family, and even her boyfriend’s parents that she was expecting a baby in July. Only her mother, her boyfriend, her best friend, and the principal knew the truth. (That in itself ranks as an excellent experiment in successful lying and secret keeping!)
I have great respect for the maturity and poise this young lady showed in pulling off this project. There is little doubt that she will make a great social worker (her goal) or an accomplished actress. However, I would like to offer some observations:
1. The bias, discrimination, and mean-spirited whispering that Gaby experienced are wrong and should be exposed within the church as well. Once God has allowed life to begin, the baby should be respected, honored, and loved. No pregnancy is an accident since life begins in the mind of God before two people ever have intercourse.
2. Teenage fathers must be held accountable for their role and inability to control hormone-driven pleasure seeking. Too many fathers are nothing more than low-life sperm donors. More states should enact laws requiring a father’s Social Security number on the birth certificate in order to collect child support and private pay health insurance! There are even some states that require a teenage father’s parents to pay the child support until the father is 18 or 21 yrs old.
3. Sex is not a recreational activity! When adults quit treating it as such, teenagers will get the message. In the correct context, sexual activity is holy and belongs in marriage – a life-long, covenantal commitment between one man, one woman and God.
4. Parents and the church, in partnership, are the best educators for communicating and modeling the theology of sexuality to children and teens; not schools. The church must confess and repent of its abdication of the responsibility for teaching healthy guidelines for sexuality and immediately begin to take corrective action.
5. Teenage parenting is not cute nor should it be treated like a status symbol. Although it is tremendously difficult, it is possible for teens to successfully parent a child when they have the unconditional love and support of their parents and/or the household of Faith. However, adoption may be the better alternative. Either way, the church needs to embrace the responsibility to come alongside parents and grandparents.
We live in an increasingly sexualized world where few people understand the implications that sexuality is God created, God given – it was and is His idea! Contrary to conventional thinking, human beings are not animals in heat that cannot control themselves. All sexual fulfillment – before marriage, in marriage, and after a marriage ends, either due to the death of a spouse or divorce – all sexual fulfillment comes through self-control, self-sacrifice, and self-discipline.