MAMA, I GOT 80% ON THE AP PHYSICS EXAM;
AND, BY THE WAY, I'M "SHVANGER"*
*"Shvanger" is the Yiddish word for pregnant
Do you recall Cicero's famous anguished exclamation bemoaning the temper of his times: "O tempora! O mores!"? (What a time we live in! What moral ways!)
The newspaper headlines report the news:
There may even have been a pact. A member of the school committee said, "They think that a baby can give them love or give them status ("matsev") or fill an empty space in their life, and these girls are very, very young. And if you talk to any teenage ("tsenerlingn") mother who is caring for an infant ("oyfele"), the road is not easy."
Sue Todd, executive director of Pathways for Young Families Initiative, which provides day care and parenting classes for young families and teenagers, says, "Like many here, we're hoping it's a blip."
Could these students have seen and identified with the 2007 movie, "Juno"? For those unfamiliar with the film, Juno is a whip-smart teen confronting an unplanned pregnancy by her classmate. With the help of her best friend, Leah, Juno finds her unborn child a perfect set of parents, an affluent suburban couple longing to adopt. Luckily, Juno has the total support of her parents, as she faces some tough decisions, flirts with adulthood, and ultimately figures out where she belongs.
Jews have always been taught to "Be Fruitful and Multiply." "Kinder brengen glik"--Children bring good fortune.
Bernard S. Raskas ("Heart Of Wisdom") writes, "In Jewish literature we find the phrase 'tzaar gidul banim,'--the anguish of rearing children. This refers to the parental responsibilities not only to feed, clothe, house, and educate children, but also to help them mature and grow. Parents must give a child a set of values and standards." How can any 16-year-old provide such a responsibliity?
Jane Mattes, psychotherapist and single mother by choice, is the author of a book titled, "Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood."
In an e-mail to the writer, she said, "I think
it's sad that the young girls are hoping that
having babies will fill an empty place in
their lives. They still need help caring for
themselves, figuring out who they are, and
what they want to do with their lives. Teens
are still children, after all, and can't possibly
be ready to take care of other children on
a full-time basis. Where were their parents and why do they have to fll the empty places inside of themselves in this way?"
Studies have found that children born to single mothers are vastly more likely to be poor, have behavioral and psychological problems, drop out of high school, and themselves go on to have out-of-wedlock children.
We MUST break the cycle. "Genug es genug!" (Enough is enough!)
expression, "And baby makes two."
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