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Starting a family sooner

December 11, 2008

I was insulated from a lot of the stuff in high school of teenage girls having babies…not because my high school was good or anything, but just because I didn’t hang around those people. I never saw peer pressure — no one ever asked me to do drugs or anything like that. BUT that’s another post. The people I hung out with would either 1) be abstinent, 2) use protection and not discuss their exploits in civil conversation, (I guess I would be naive to think that no news = no sex)  3) use protection and rejoice in all that fun they were having or 4) take certain drastic measures if any scares occurred.

So I definitely thought I’d have a few years before seeing people I actually hung out with have kids…And I thought that if kids were having kids early on, that was because of their ignorance or failure to use contraception properly.

And now, it’s all different. Now I know someone who totes not one but two children around with him. He’s not some underprivileged, premarital sex accident victim. He is someone who chose to listen to the promptings of the spirit and Prophet (way to live the Mormon life, buddy!) and who chose to get married sooner, instead of waiting for the stable career first. It makes me cringe whenever parents, whether new parents or old ones, tell young singles: don’t wait on a career to start a family; start a family sooner. It seems like a surreal piece of advice that no one would take or give seriously.

Anyway, this person isn’t really that close to my age. After all, he’s graduated and he’s going to get a Master’s degree. But when I was in high school, I lumped 9th graders with Seniors, and in college, it seems to be the same. It’s only my second year at university, but I’m a junior by hours. And people who have just graduated have two children?

And actually, the inside story with everyone who knows him is different. He may have married early, but he wasn’t trying to have two kids early and people recognize that. His is just a story of how you can win the lottery twice in a row. Except, instead of winning a million dollars, you win the chance that the pill doesn’t work. Congrats on your new babies. I’m glad that he doesn’t advocate for abstinence only, but then again, he is married, so asking for married couples to be abstinent just because they don’t want children would be a hilarious philosophy.

As I see his children…one who’s walking and (not quite talking real words yet), and the others who is just three months old and looks more like one of those troll dolls (with admittedly less hair) than a baby (although don’t tell the guy I know — everyone says those same eyes that remind me of troll doll eyes are his eyes). And I don’t immediately think, “What great blessings in your life!” I mean, yes, children are a blessing, but I think, “Oh…how many things are you not going to be able to do for 18 years while your kids grow up?”

As the older kid starts stealing random items from the house we are at to offer as gifts to other people, or as the older kid decides to pick at the dog’s eyeballs…these are just a few of the things parents must always be on the lookout for. Kids do the darnedest things because their ignorance is bliss, but the parents have to be always watching.

I can reason that the emphasis on family is one place where the church had a solid concept and foundation…everyone recognizes that parenthood is its own unique education process, and that’s a net positive. I just happen to think the Church throw some objectionable baggage with it as well as some things that are just financially unsound. You don’t have to be a member and you don’t have to be spiritual to understand the value of families and you don’t have to go seeking for a family as soon as you turn 18 and get booted out of Young Men’s/Women’s or as soon as you return from a mission.

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