The current political season has been over flowing with talk of moral “values”, contraception, unwed mothers, family values, teenage pregnancies……the list goes on. As one of the members of the voting population this is becoming annoying beyond belief and insulting of this generation. Supposedly teenagers are irresponsible and having sex and babies, children are being born out of wedlock and these families are doomed to become the dregs of society and ……well you get the picture. But I disagree with this very public generalization of the moral state of our society and the degradation of our young people by politicians for their own interest.
I am not a pundit, I am not a politician (thankfully) but I am a citizen of this nation. So lend me your ears or eyes in this case……
I will freely admit that I am “old fashioned” in my values for myself. We live in a community that has lovely homes on manicured lawns, great schools playgrounds, tennis courts etc. etc. Yes I am lucky….the benefits of education and opportunities that this great nation offered us when we landed here for college. Yet within the broader community we have a stronger middle class as well as a neighborhood on the outskirts of hardworking and yet poorer in terms of income levels. Nowhere is this multi-faceted community more evident that at our public high school. So with respect to the preconceived notions being planted in the minds through the political rhetoric let me lay out some facts and one specific story:
I see young people and families for whom life isn’t easy working hard both at school, sports and often jobs and responsibilities both inside and outside the home. Of course teenagers make mistakes. I remember my son having a study group meet our home. He seemed a bit defensive when I asked him who was in the group and he finally told me that one of the girls in the group was going to have a baby, very soon…….he knows my own views on that matter, I guess he thought I would freak out!.
A pregnant teenager and what and impressive and determined young lady she was….she told me that after the baby was born the school would assist her with home study and then she would be back to school for senior year. This young lady is now in college close to home and working and supporting her child with the help of her family. Ideally should she have waited…..YES. Am I encouraging teenage pregnancies….NO!! But is morality a one size fits all in our world today? Absolutely not….so we have to find ways to support and nurture and encourage….for when people have that support they also find the strength to succeed and doesn’t that build a stronger nation?