16 and Pregnant
Yesterday we sat down with a young couple – each 16 years old – who were nine months pregnant.
The young girl had attended The Point when she was but 10 years old, but I had never seen the young man at The Point before tonight.
All throughout the night, he stood out. He was polite. Willingly looked me in the eyes. And he especially stood out in the dodge ball game.
For those of you who haven’t witnessed a dodge ball game at The Point, it is, in a word, chaos.
Fourteen balls are flying all over the place.
About thirty youth are trying to dodge those 14 balls.
And just about everyone cheats.
For some reason the dodge ball games at The Point are so serious that in the minds of our youth it justifies nearly every from of malevolent behavior save murder. And for those few that don’t cheat, they become the moral arbiters who – instead of playing the game – judge everyone else who is.
If you believe that humanity is inherently good, dodge ball games at The Point might just change your mind.
As the self-appointed referee of these games — who often ends up calling a Genesis 6 when the cheating gets out of hand — I, like God with Noah, take note of those players who are honest.
I took note of this 16 year old young man because he was not only exceptionally honest in dodge ball, but he also willingly helped me set up for the next game when the previous game had ended.
When The Point was over and most of the youth had cleared out, there he was sitting next to this girl I had last seen when she was 10 years old. She had been a faithful part of the Monday Night program for 8 to 10 year olds and now she sat before me as a 16 year old a few weeks away from becoming a mother.
So we asked them a series of questions, “Do you plan to stay in high school?” “Do you plan to stay together?” “Are your parents supportive?” “Insurance?” “Food?” “College?” And they replied “yes” to all.
But we all knew their affirmative answers were as uncertain as the future well-being of their child.
Children raising children. More questions than answers. There is no way to make this pretty. Four years ago they were learning multiplication. Four years ago they celebrated their 12th birthday. And tomorrow they’ll be the rightful mother and father to an infant two years before they have the right to vote.
Statistics say this won’t work out. Statistics say that they’ll split up … that the mother will raise this child on her own. That she’ll drop out of high school. That in one act of unprotected passion they’ve managed to not only ruin their own lives but the life of the child they’ve conceived, who — statistically — is more likely to go to jail than graduate high school.
You know they’ve thought about abortion. And as a future adoptive parent, I secretly hope they’ll reconsider adoption. But all such talks have been silenced by their decision to keep their child.
Difficulty and Pain have the ability to produce the highest representation of humanity’s reflection of our creator. I’ve seen the pain of death be the catalyst for mirroring God on more than one occasion. What can happen is this: tragedy strikes. And instead of people looking inward, they look outward. People lay down their individual pursuits, their individual dreams and invest their time in each other.
Community is produced. From pain, beauty. From darkness, light.
During the late nights of changing diapers and homework assignments. Of sickness, exhaustion and essay’s, I pray that this young couple is able to see God on earth incarnate in the community that surrounds them. And I pray that we, at the Parkesburg Point, could be apart of God incarnate.
In some ways, I envy them. If people surround them in community, they will be — in many ways — closer to God than me.
 I work two jobs. In the evenings, I’m also the Associate Director at The Parkesburg Point. The Point is a Christian youth center that uses a holistic, missional approach to reach at-risk youth. My wife and I have been volunteering at The Point for over five years and I was hired on as staff this past summer. More on what I do at The Point in future posts ….