Thursday, January 6, 2011

The View From the Car

School was out. Young women walked down the sidewalk carrying babies or pushing strollers. Very young women. The school is an alternative high school for struggling kids and kids with babies. My heart ached.

Recent statistics show that the birthrate for teens is down. Can it ever get down far enough? I know women who literally grew up with their children. A matter of maybe 15 years separating mother from child. Grandparents at the age when they should think about being parents. Nothing new. Just a same cycle repeating from the beginning of time.

I'm not so sure that it is a case of teaching kids birth control. I'm not sure it is about teaching boys to be responsible. It is all of that in part, but there is so much more.

What do I think? Well, as I type, I'm trying to decide what I think. Soooooo, this will involve some thinking out loud.....rambling typing. Today I had coffee with a past student. She is a talented young woman who was never supported in finding herself. I can relate. I was one of those kids as well. My parents never believed that a career in the arts would be financially solid. And, they were right, but there is a voice that calls out in each of us to follow. We know there are doors but have no idea how to enter them. We know that other people do what we want to do, but we don't know how to get there. Again....rambling.

My parents didn't have the finances to support me in a career in the arts. No one where and when I grew up actually thought of the arts as more than a pastime. We all have a voice calling us to do something, something in us the day we were conceived. It is a voice that won't be denied.

My granddaughter is going to a school that encourages her to explore her talents. We encourage the girls to think about what they love most to do and do our best to give them the tools to do it. Maybe in essence we are teaching them to love themselves, discover themselves so that they can make smart decisions. Finding friends who have common interests gives kids community. Parents supporting that community imprints on their children.

Yes, they will all have hormones raging. They will all experiment with these new emotions. But I think that if we give them a strong feeling of support, a strong feeling of self-worth, that they will perhaps make better decisions in all areas of their lives.

Maybe it wouldn't make a difference at all. I don't know. I know that if I had found an outlet for my artistic passion at that age, nothing would have stood in my way. I know that if I had parents who supported me in my journey into myself, my rebellious years would have been different. Parents can make a difference.

So goes the rambling of a woman who watched young women walking down the sidewalk with babies in arms and their dreams on hold.

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