I apologize ahead of time for the length of this blog—it’s really an essay, is suspect. Let me know if you make it all the way through, ok?

 

My sister has just passed a milestone of education for her freshman year of highschool–she’s just finished going through the Crybabies program sponsored in schools by First Resort, a crisis pregnancy resource center in her area. For her take on the program, go to her blog site–Splurge on Fudge–and read her “Crybabies Essay” entry from Sunday March 5, 2006.  I must say that she writes well and can argue her points with many supporting details! Kudos to her English teachers! Well done, Mrs. Lee!

Here’s how the program works: teachers from First Resort come into the classroom bringing electronic baby dolls that are the approximate size and weight of a real baby. Each student is given a doll to “care” for during a two or three-day period of time–at least one overnight period. The care consists of inserting a “key” into a special slot in the baby’s back each time the baby cries and holding it there until a baby-like cooing sound replaces the original crying. Students carry the babies everywhere with them–class, extracurricular events, home, etc. On teacher I’ve spoken with took great delight in watching his students tote their babies to his class and have to try to juggle “feeding” the baby and taking class notes. I can still see his “evil” grin over it. And I still share it =)

At the end of the allotted time, the students give the babies back–some eagerly and other reluctantly: one of my former students begged me to take a picture of her with her “baby” before she had to give it back. She wished she could keep it; but I suspect that after a while it would cease to be a novelty and become merely another toy to be discarded in the closet. It’s not a real baby, after all, and it can neither smile nor grow.

The teachers from First Resort who come into the classroom to run the program talk to the students about the dangers of sexual intercourse before marriage. Yes, many kids, especially in Christian circles have heard much of it before. And no, First Resort does not approach the topic from a directly Biblical point of view due to the fact that they run this program in both public and private schools. But neither of these facts detract from the facts of the message: moreover, some students would oppose the message even more strongly if it were given in primarily Christian terms because of their belief that Christianity is out of touch with reality and their desire to try the things that God has said not to try. Sadly enough, that is an attitude that permeates Christian circles today–the attitude that says “God, I want you as a fire-escape from eternal damnation, but You need to know where to get off: don’t even think about trying to run my life!”
The fact is that First Resort’s Crybabies program has met with success in influencing young people to wait for sex until marriage.

Upon hearing all of the horrible possibilities that can come from premarital sex, it’s often a natural reaction to think “Yeah, right! That’s overkill!” I suppose that there are three natural responses: 1) To discount it and to think “it doesn’t happen that way to everyone.” 2) to become frightened, and 3) to look for reality. Not having seen statistics on these reactions, I would guess that the first and third responses are the most likely, with the 3rd uppermost.

My high school friend Jessica found some reality when she went to live with her boyfriend’s family one summer and came back pregnant. I cried for her when I found out. Her baby was cute and wonderful, and everyone in the church fell in love with little Morgan. She stole everyone’s hearts, and her mother loved her greatly, of course. That’s part of God’s plan for babies, isn’t it? for them to be loved and adored? Ah, yes, but Jessie ended up with some things that weren’t part of the plan: curbed high school activities because she had to find care for Morgan, a quick end to being “just one of the girls” because she couldn’t leave Morgan, and phone conversations with the father of her child who really wasn’t ready for that responsibility any more than Jessie was–only he could escape it more than Jessie could! That sounds horrible–escaping from a baby! And in a way it wasn’t true, but in a way it really was. They wanted her and didn’t want her all at the same time. Hopefully Morgan will never know the “didn’t want” part.

The whole point of the Crybabies program is to give a little taste of Jessie’s full meal of life with a baby. The teachers don’t try to make the students hate the baby; they just provide an opportunity for students to have a small dose of the mixed emotions that come with having one–one that cries at the most inconvenient times and turns life topsy-turvy.

The topsy-turvy lifestyle comes wrapped in the baby blanket when you bring the baby home from the hospital. I still remember being awakened in the middle of the night by my baby brother and baby sister when they were little; I remember Mom coming in and taking them out of bed to meet their needs and looking very tired the next morning. I remember, too the fun it was to take care of them at times and watch them grow. And I remember that having a new baby in the family turned life upside down forever: we’d often ask each other “how did we live before Tommy was born?” or “what in the world was life like before we had Ruthie?” We all agreed that we wouldn’t trade the new way of life for the old one! And Ruthie tested us on that one with at least 3 hospital stay before the age of 7! Having a baby in one’s life is wonderful! But it, like everything else in life, has its proper place and proper time. It’s a gift that is waiting for the right moment to be unwrapped; and it’s a gift for a whole family, not for just one person.

So, for all those of you who have made it successfully through the simulation game of life with baby, think through those thoughts and questions and feelings and realize that life really is not a game. It is very real, and timing is essential for success.

Advertisements