Big news in the world of babies this week. Or more specifically, what some people have labeled as “babies having babies.” Britney’s little sister Jamie Lynn had her baby this week. Reports are that the new mother is not only living with her boyfriend, but she’ll most likely score a cool million from whichever magazine she decides to bless with the baby’s first photos. If you weren’t aware, Jamie Lynn is a celebrity beloved by young girls. . . . and she’s only 17-years-old herself.
Then there’s the rapidly unfolding story of what’s happening with the girls at Gloucester High School just north of Boston (Remember the film and story of The Perfect Storm? That all happened in Gloucester). Just in case you’re one of the few who hasn’t already heard, the 1200 student school saw a marked spike in the pregnancy rate over the course of the last year. This year, 17 girls – at least the 17 girls that the school is aware of – got pregnant. That’s more than quadruple the school’s average of four pregnancies a year.
Baffled by the high rate, school officials investigated. What they’ve discovered may seem unbelievable. But then again, in our current cultural climate, I’m not too sure any of us should be very surprised. It seems that at least half of these girls – all under the age of 16 – had entered into a pact to get pregnant, give birth, and then raise their babies together. The school reports that several of the girls kept coming into the school’s clinic to get pregnancy tests. They were hoping they were pregnant. When the tests came back positive, girls were seen high-fiving each other and excitedly making plans for baby showers. Other girls, finding out they weren’t pregnant, were disappointed. Nobody knows for sure how many other girls were part of the agreement. In addition, there are questions about who fathered the children, along with legal ramifications in cases of statutory rape. It’s reported that at least one of the babies was fathered by a 24-year-old homeless man.
Following these stories this week, I couldn’t help but think about the end of the film Lord of the Flies. Remember the story? A group of boys create their own society void of adults while castaways on an island. At the end of the film, the first adult to encounter the boys and their self-made culture is troubled and confused by the unorthodoxy of their ways. He looks at the boys and asks, “What are you boys doing?” The more time passes and the more our culture evolves – or devolves – we are left asking the same. . . . like this week.
A few weeks ago in our Sunday School class we were talking about teenagers. One of our pastors reminded us that no matter what the sociologists say about the lists of issues facing kids, the number one most basic problem they all face is the problem we all face. . . that is, sin. So true. This week’s news offers more evidence of that fact. The world is broken, and that brokenness is seen in the multiplicity of factors that have combined in a perfect storm that leads to things like teen pregnancy pacts. There are declining moral standards, celebrity role models, girls starved for father-love who look for love in all the wrong places, the equation of “love” with sex, a desire for relational intimacy, absent or disengaged parents, guys who are all too ready to prove their masculinity by fathering children, etc. In the end, confused kids lead and guide other confused kids. Then, we adults wind up arriving with befuddled looks while asking, “What are you kids doing?”
Here’s a thought – perhaps we should be so attuned to the culture and what’s going on with the kids that we look in the mirror to ask ourselves, “What are we doing to and for the kids?”