Done Too Much, Much Too Young
Take a look at the photo. It’s the kind of photo you usually see at the birth of a baby. Family members posing with the new born child. Except that kid on the left holding the baby? That’s a dad holding his daughter. 13 year old Alfie is the father of new born girl Maisie. The girl on the right is 15yo mother Chantelle.
Something isn’t right here.
You can read all about it here and here.
Here we have a boy who doesn’t even look old enough to cross the road without a parent holding his hand thrust into the role of fatherhood. A role he is much too young for. Reading the article, it is apparant that he has no idea what he is in for.
What is the message here? I think there’s one message here for society and perhaps an even more biting message here for Christians.
Sex education needs a greater priority. Children need to be taught about sex and its consequences before they are in a position to suffer those consequences. They need to know what sex is and how to participate in sex in an appropriate manner. That includes how to avoid unwanted pregnancy and STD’s.
For the Christian, I think there’s a message here about the difference between naive and innocent. We want our kids to be innocent. We want them to grow up knowing God and walking his way. We want them to avoid falling into the pitfalls of sin. But there’s a difference between being innocent and naive.
Innocent means that they have avoided things such as sexual immorality. That they haven’t experienced the details of living in the darkness. However, a naive Christian is one who doesn’t know what they are doing. They are unaware of the bad stuff that is out there. They are unaware why they should be avoiding immorality, just that they are supposed to. And when they are confronted with these issues? They’re not prepared.
For example. We preach to our young people that they should not have sex before marriage. And often that’s where our Christian sex education ends. So when the young person is in a situation where there is pressure, where their hormones are raging, and when they can’t think of a good reason not to go ahead and do what all their non Christian friends are doing? They’re not going to be prepared.
We need to teach our young people God’s plans for sex. We need to show them that the Bible is very much for sex. That sex is special and enjoyable. That it is made for a certain context. And that it should be preserved for that context – a marriage relationship. We need to answer, openly, their questions about sex. We need to prepare them for situations where temptation may take hold. We need to give them the knowledge and the skills to exercise their wisdom and avoid these situations. If we do not do this, then we are just as much responsible when they stuff up.
Could a situation like Alfie’s happen in the Christian context. Yes. Yes it could. We need to prepare our children and youth for the world we live in. We need to grow them in Christ so that they are able to make godly and wise decisions. And we need to be there for them when they make mistakes. These two kids did not feel they could speak to their parents about the pregnancy. Whether you’re a Christian parent or a youth leader, create an environment where the young people in your care can trust you and speak openly with you. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to help grow those who are younger than us. We can treat them like mushrooms and grow them in the dark, or we can grow them in the light, with their eyes open, ready for the slings and arrows of this world.