I was approached by one of our teenage girls recently who told me very matter-of-factly “I want to have a baby.” Typically this is the type of comment I would laugh at with an understanding that the student is joking or just wanting to see my reaction. However, this student said the statement with such a serious nature that I knew I needed to take her seriously. The first words out of my mouth, which may or may not have been the best, were “WHAT?!” I have known this student for several years and was sure she “knew better” than to want to have a child at 16 years old.
After talking with this girl through the reasons behind her desire to have a child I was reminded, once again, of the world and culture in which our youth live. To this precious teenage girl, having a baby makes sense. As she said “it is what my mom did, it is what my older sister did, and now it’s my turn.” She told me that she is not doing well in school and she feels no hope of going to college so having a baby would not mess up anything in her life. For this girl, and many of our girls, the thought of having a baby brings the hope of finding one’s purpose in a world where they feel useless and alone.
How do we, as the body of Christ, show these girls that God has a great purpose for their lives? How do we help them find meaning when their lives feel meaningless? Our hope is that through joy-filled friendships, consistent love and grace, and Christ-centered programming Preston Taylor Ministries and the Calvin House Youth program are filling the void that a baby (or drugs, or gangs, etc.) might fill. Praying and speaking hope into their futures, we can together help our youth see that they are fearfully and wonderfully made while providing space for them to discover and pursue their God-inspired dreams.
Tess and another Calvin House Student, Shanice, share a moment at the Fall Retreat.