Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Hollywood Baby Boom Isn't Just About Sex

It's being called the Hollywood baby boom because all of the stars, it seems, recently had, is about to have, or just announced they're having a baby. It's a trend that I've been noticing for a while, just check out the covers of magazines like People and Us. If I took time to compare covers from now and twenty or thirty years ago the message would be clear: babies are hot stuff.

I knew this was coming, and I don't think we've hit the peak yet. When I mentioned the Hollywood baby boom on Twitter one of my friends wrote back and said, “It's just not in Hollywood, all my friends are pregnant.”

Another friend sent me this tweet. “Did you hear about the high school in Memphis? 86 teens are pregnant in one school.” I looked it up and she was right. You can find the information HERE.

So what's up with that? Is it all about the sex? Are people more sexually active and then, “Whoops, here comes baby.”

One school official in Memphis thinks so. The last line in the article linked above says:

“It’s upsetting that we continue to see the rates of teen pregnancy ticking up in certain areas,” Alvarez said. “I think we really need to focus on education – that’s really the key.”

Is she right? Maybe in part. I'm sure there are some teens that let their passions take them away and didn't fully understand how to prevent pregnancy. But I think that's the minority. It goes deeper than that. It goes to the heart.

You see, our fascination with children didn't start in the last few years. It started with our parents. As you know each generations seems to flip their values. The dedicated, stable, hard working Baby Boomers raised the wild “love children” of the 60's and 70's. Those hippies are our parents. Their generation brought in legalized abortion. They brought in latch key children. My friends and I were the ones who had moms and dads who both worked outside of the home (more than any other time in history). Our parents were also the ones who increased the divorce/live ins/and multiple marriages thing. We had bio dads, step moms, step dads and then there were the boy/girlfriends that never committed themselves to marriage. Children were everyone's last concern.

“The best type of parent is a happy parent” was the motto of those years. Really? I wonder if the kids would agree.

So where does that leave us?

Like I quoted in my book, Generation NeXt Parenting:

“Because of the loneliness and alienation of splintered family attachments, 'experts' have claimed that the strongest desire of Gen Xers is acceptance and belonging.”

Here's another statistic from Generation Next Parenting. “According to a 2003 survey of 2,020 parents, twice as may Gen X mothers spent more than twelve hours a day attending to children rearing and household responsibilities.

"Rough half of Gen X fathers devoted three to six hours a day to domesticity. Only 39 percent of baby boomer dads could stay the same.”

A Peer Personality is a generation persona recognized and determined by (1) common age and location; (3) common beliefs and behavior; and (3) perceived membership in a common generation.

So what is our Peer Personality? If I were to sum it up, our generation is like a stubborn five year old. We have our fingers wagging in our ears and our tongues sticking out. “Naher, naher, I don't care what you think. CHILDREN ARE IMPORTANT!”

I have to admit I too have pulled those magazines off the checkstand aisle, flipping through and checking out the star-babies. That's the value I hold deep in my heart, too: “Children are important.” If I look around, I see this lived out by myself and those in my generation in a few ways.

There is ...
a rise in stay-at-home moms
a huge jump in homeschooling or private/charter schools
an increase in extracurricular activities
a growing number of families adopting children

Those are the positives. I started out this blog talking about other, more negative factors such as the Hollywood baby boom (which I feel is negative because of the lack of committed star marriages) and the rise in teen pregnancy.

Whether positive or negative, the core value that we hold closest is clear: family and children are worth most. This became our greatest value because of we lacked in our growing up years. As one teen mom told me, “I wanted someone to love. Someone who would always be mine.” She'd been abandoned by her parents, and she'd been violated by others in her life. She longed for love and a child seemed like a safe place to find that love.

So truthfully, I don't think education has much to do with it. The majority of people know how NOT to get pregnant. I also don't think Hollywood is setting the standard in this case. They're just echoing the feelings and emotions of our society. They're spotlighting what all of us feel.

What should we do about it? I have a few ideas.

1.We should embrace families. If they feel family/children are important then we need to support them in all the ways we can. Be a positive influence. Start local support groups. Make 'family and children' discipleship a priority for your church.

2.We need to mentor young people. Teens turn to each other for sex and love because they are hungry for attention and affection. If we step in and be positive influences in their lives we will make a difference.

3.We need to lift high the commitment of marriage. The best place to raise a baby is in the home of two parents who love each other and are dedicated to building and serving their family together.

4.We need to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It's not about a religion, it's about a relationship. The love that we long for can (in part) be found in the embrace of a child or spouse, but those things can never fill the God-shaped holes in our hearts.

Take a moment and think about how YOU can help in one of the above areas. It will make a difference. A huge one. And if we impact those having babies in positive ways, we're going to impact the next generation.

You see it's not all about sex. It's about a generation hungry for love. What can you do today to point them to the Source Who will satisfy?


Anna said...

I am 17 and I became a god-mother last year to a close friends new baby boy. You have put words to how I've felt about this situation. This teen mom too came from a broken family, and though I dont feel like she intentionally brought the hardships of pregnancy and parenthood on herself to feel the love from a child, I believe she was blinded to the possibilty of being a mother to feel the love from her boyfriend. Even a baby can't fill the void- and I think that THAT is were the problem lies- craving a relationship that only God can satisfy.

Sierra said...

This is a really good post.
I definitely think that getting adults to pay more attention and talk to their teens or any friends of there kids that they can make small yet helpful changes.I talk to my Mom a lot and I get a lot out of it.I want to be some type of teen counselor when I get older.

Ms. Blasé said...

“Because of the loneliness and alienation... the strongest desire of Gen Xers is acceptance and belonging.”

You hit the nail on the head with this quote. On more than one occasion I've heard a woman say that she wanted a child because she wanted to "feel loved." Every time I hear that I cringe because when baby pops out, he's/she's not thinking about you. All they want is bottle, nap-nap, and a clean hiney. The only unconditional love and acceptance that can truly fill the human spirit comes from Christ alone. Although babies (and other mortals) are nice, the love that they provide was never meant to be a substitute for our Savior's agape.

Ginger said...

I never really thought of it this way, but you're so right. Thanks!