Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Movie Juno is NOT Reality.

Many people applauded the movie "Juno" for what they saw as a positive affirmation of life. I teach high school and I am angered by the messages the mainstream media sends to our kids. As teens we heard "if it feels good,do it" the result being that we had a generation that spent far too much time feeling their way through life without doing much. Two generations later, we have some segments of our community were 70% of the children are born to single parents. Sure, there are success stories. Their are young mothers who move on, who get educated and who raise their children responsibly. But there are also those young women who see messages such as are put out there by Hollywood and TV networks and other such purveyors of what is seen as the "enlightened message" that say women can do it all. Teenage girls are not women. They are children. And these children are having babies. For every girl who is successful, there are ten who are not. These girls drop out of school, they invite a parade of questionable men into their lives and those of their children. Their kids are more likely to be poor, to suffer from disabilities, to be hungry, to be abused and to die at the hands of those who claim to want them. Not a week goes by that we hear about another "mommy's boyfriend" or even "mommy" who thinks it's okay to simply take a child's life. And the courts and criminal justice system don't help when murdering a child gets far less punishment that killing an adult. I am not alone in this sentiment, but if you think this is just a conservative view, here's a column from Slate-a far more liberal online mag-and they share the same views with details.
...I get letters all the time that describe the turbulence that results from deciding marriage is archaic. Sometimes the writers start with a conflicted sense of hope. "My ex is rather immature and irresponsible. I had a recent fling with him that resulted in pregnancy. I am overjoyed with the impending arrival of my baby, but I fear that no one else in my life will feel the same way." This is followed by more conflicted and less hopeful letters when the kids are small. "My boyfriend and I have a child who is almost 2. He also has a daughter and I have two other children. We bought a home together, but a week before we were about to move in, he left me. Now it's four months later, and he's bought me an engagement ring, but I found out he had a girlfriend during the time we were split." "I have two children with my ex-boyfriend. We broke up because last year a paternity test he was ordered to have came back positive. Even though we are not together, I still want my kids to have a father in their life. I also know he is ignoring his new son because he wants nothing to do with the mom, but that little boy also deserves to have a male figure who cares."

Having unmarried parents can be devastating for children who start out with no cushion in life. In 1999 congressional testimony, Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution said that the increase in single-parent families—mostly due to unwed motherhood in the past few decades—"can account for virtually all of the increase in child poverty since 1970." A recent study found that the stress of early childhood poverty can literally damage developing brains.

Slate article

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