For pilots on takeoff, it is important to get right
the angle of attack. If the angle is too slim, they will run out of runway and
have to abort the flight. If it is too steep, they will stall and crash. For
youth, on the verge of adulthood, the angle at which they approach the future
will have equally serious consequences. If they retreat when confronted with a
crisis, they may never grow up or go anywhere in life. If they are rash at such
moments, their lives may turn out to be brutish and short. To successfully rise
up into the diminished ranks of responsible adults, they must plot a median
course between the baseline of reason and the vertical aim of passion.
I was reminded of this last month when a couple in
their early twenties came in for consultation about their unplanned pregnancy.
Their situation was, of course, complicated by the fact that they were not
married and were as yet undecided about their commitment to each other. Since
he was planning to go back to college and she was worried about losing her part-time
job at the Mall, they thought that an abortion would be the easiest option.
My first task was to give them information about the
risks involved in abortion procedures and educate them about fetal development.
The young woman winced when she found out that her child already had a
heartbeat. Since the young man was concerned not only about commitment but also
about costs, I then offered them an overview of the support they would receive
if they chose to continue the pregnancy. By their questions, I could tell that
they were moving away from the idea of termination, which is, after all, a
choice couples make only when they feel they have no choice. Now, as they began
to consider how they might raise the child, I spoke with them of their third
option, adoption. This is the median course which would allow them to continue
moving forward with their own plans without added pressure while allowing the
child to have his or her own life in a stable, loving home. In truth, it takes
a certain level of maturity and courage to make an adoption plan. And I’m not
sure they’re there yet.
One of the particular difficulties such young couples
are facing today are the mixed signals they receive from our public educators,
especially from our own mayor. By distributing the contraceptive drug “Plan B”
to high school teens without their parents’ knowledge or consent, hizzoner has
removed the young woman’s last line of defense against an aggressive boyfriend.
In such a hormone-fueled romance “Plan B” is quickly promoted to plan A. Having
encouraged such reckless behavior, Mayor Bloomberg is now chiding teens to act
responsibly through a $400,000 ad campaign that stigmatizes teen pregnancy. In
as much as the mayor’s own mandated sex-ed course is more a “how to” manual
that all but ignores the value of abstinence, one should wonder who is more
irresponsible here. Whether wittingly or not, our public educators now foster a
dysfunctional system that produces perpetual adolescents who ever rebel yet
ever depend on a government that now serves as a surrogate parent.
As most of us who have lived long enough know, many of
the fears that young people face as they stand on the cusp of adulthood are
resolved with time provided that do not shrink from the challenge. One only
wishes that they already had that requisite wisdom and grace, which, when not
inherited from their homes, comes slowly through experience. Please keep these
teens in your prayers. And with your
support, we will continue to encourage them to move forward chastely and to step
up courageously to assume their adult responsibilities.