Saturday, January 15, 2011
Babies Havin' Babies....
Unfortunately, not much shocks me these days.
90 preganancies at one high school
Even more than being shocked, it makes my heart hurt.
This is where I begin my rant about the negative effects of "reality" TV, the media, and our society in general.
I've never watched 16 and Pregnant or any of the other TV shows that glorify teenage pregnancy; mainly because I think I would throw the remote through the TV screen. But I don't have to watch it to know that it is spreading the worst kind of lies and falsehoods to our young adults; both male and female. It preys on the loneliness and need for attention and acceptance that is so common in teenagers. (And if we're bein' honest....all of us, no matter our age.) The girls from Teen Mom are making headlines in US Weekly, and the teenage girls are looking at this thinking that the consequences of having a baby aren't really that bad. They think, "Sweet! I get a cute little baby that will love me. My mom will raise it for me while I party with my friends and fight with my baby daddy...AND even better....I might get the chance to make the front page of People magazine." And it really isn't hard to blame them for thinking that....since it's happening all the time. It's no wonder that schools are having to deal with teenagers getting pregnant on purpose in order to get on a reality TV show.
People just want to be known. They want to be seen. They want to feel they have a purpose and that their existence has meaning. They want attention and love. The whole world is hungry for it. And in my opinion....no one feels this need more deeply than adolescents and teenagers.
They need to hear that they are loved and accepted no matter what. They need to believe they are valuable, precious, and deserve respect and love. They need rules, structure, and discipline. They need to be encouraged. They want to feel like they are pretty or handsome or cute, and that they are accepted by their peers. They need hugs and kisses from parents, family, and friends. And just as important...they need to be heard.
We need to listen to our teenagers and not just talk at them. All of this talking is getting us nowhere. They've heard it all before. They'll nod their heads in agreement and then turn around and do the exact opposite of what they should do. (I'm speaking from experience.) The peer pressure is too strong.
What's happening here? Maybe we should try listening to them for a change. Maybe if we listened we would be able to see where their thoughts are and what we can do as a society and as parents in order to give them the support they need to mature into healthy, productive adults.
I know I thought I knew everything when I was a teenager. I thought my parents were geeks that didn't understand the severe implications of their decision to ground me so that I couldn't attend some party and make sure my boyfriend didn't hang around with some other girl. They just didn't get it. If I miss this party, I probably won't even be able to sit at the same lunch table by next week. These may seem like insignificant things to us "grown ups", but to our adolescents and teens...it feels like life and death. If we stop listening and just keep throwing words at them, and telling them their feelings and thoughts are silly....we are going to continue to find ourselves even further down this teen pregnancy rabbit hole than we are now.
I wish I knew then what I know now. (Don't we all!?) I wish I could tell 14 or 15-year-old Katie that she is beautiful, smart, fun, and amazing just the way she is. I wish I could tell her that the risks she takes for attention will only make her feel more lonely and unwanted in the end. I wish I could tell her that it makes God's heart break into a million pieces when she doesn't see her worth and chases after boys that will never be able to fill that missing place in her soul; the place where He belongs and longs to be. I wish I could tell her that one day, she will come face-to-face with the living God and He will change her heart forever....and she will finally see herself through His eyes. She will stop beating herself up about her looks and accept herself for who she is and Who lives in her. She will stop comparing herself to everyone else and trying to impress other people. She will stop chasing after boys in general, but especially ones that don't respect her nor deserve her heart. She will let Jesus in and He will pick all the broken little pieces of her heart and He slowly heal her and show her what pure love is and how to trust again.
I wish I would have been able to tell myself all that. The pain and hurt that comes from seeking acceptance and love anywhere other than God doesn't heal overnight. The scars are deep.
More than anything, I want to save young guys and girls from making life altering decisions during a time in their lives where they are so susceptible to influence and also a time when they are so extremely vulnerable. I want to say to them that a baby isn't temporary. A baby is forever. No matter if you keep the baby, give the baby up for adoption, or choose to abort...that decision and that life will be with you as long as you live. A baby won't fill the emptiness or make you cool, grown-up, or sexy. At some point you'll be faced with the magnitude of your decision, whatever it was, and then...then, you will feel the most lonely, desperate, and empty than you have ever felt in your life. Don't put yourself in a situation in which you would have to make adult decisions while you should be going to soccer practice or studying with your friends for a math test.
Okay....the rant is officially over.
Reality TV that glorifies bad life decisions just makes my blood boil!!!!
Okay, I'm really done now. Seriously, this time.
No matter what your age, I pray that you know that you are loved and adored by the God that created you for a special purpose. If you've already found yourself in a bad situation because of a decision (or lots of them) you made, please believe that our God is a God of grace, mercy, and RESTORATION! We don't just get one chance. He is good to forgive and renew every single time we lay our sins at His feet. If you are or were a teen mom, this rant was most certainly not in judgment of you or your decisions. I thank God all the time that I never found myself in such a position. It was truly by His grace that I didn't. There is no judgment comin' from this gal. Just love and understanding...and lots and lots of it. Babies are a blessing from God and are not mistakes, no matter when or how they arrive into the world. The teenagers on these reality TV shows, and in the "real world", don't need more name-calling and judgment, they need more education, time, discipline, attention, grace, love, and forgiveness.
Does this get you fired up too? What are your thoughts about reality TV effecting our teenagers? What is the solution? What can we do as individuals, whether we are parents or not?
Talk to me.....