Oh, baby!

sticky notes

With teens being subject to peer pressure more than ever in this era of technology, its becoming increasingly hard for authority figures to keep up with the times. How can the media expect parents to censor the messages kids receive when its the media that makes young adults the target audience in the first place? This is tough for even me to understand.

     The lines between “right” and “wrong” have always been subject to interpretation, and any lawyer will most likely answer any legal question with “it depends,” because, when you think about it, it really does. We as a culture ask a lot of our educators and parents. They must follow the guidelines of “to each his own” but have to be all-inclusive. To be quite honest, being a teen is even crazier! Between the 2008 election campaigns being aimed at the young voter population, latest Teen ‘Zine on the stands and the tabloids chasing after the hottest gossip, teens are being told what to think instead of how. Do we not have enough faith in the future to let them try? Do we not think we “raised them right”?

     I was saddened this afternoon to read that Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. She’s younger than I am, folks. She clearly didn’t plan on it, seeing as how she’s the star of Nickelodeon’s Zoe 101. I feel for this kid, I really do, and I don’t use “kid” in a condescending way. She really is just a kid, no matter how mature. Will she have to give up her career? If not, what kind of message does this send to all the young girls who watch her every day? I babysit three sisters once a week, ages 3-9, and I don’t want to have to be the one to tell them that dear Zoe is going to be a mommy. Does this make Spears a bad person? absolutely not. Heaven knows the poor girl has had it hard enough, and only her older sister Britney to look up to.

     For a lot of people, this news will bring up the age old argument of Roe vs. Wade, or abortion. If you’re an avid reader, then you already know that it becomes quite easy for writers to drop their own personal opinions into their novels without even realizing it. If you’re an avid reader, then you already know that pregnancy and abortion is a reoccurring theme in young adult novels. If not, here’s the long and the short of it; Crank presents the story of a crack addict who discovers she’s pregnant near the end of the book, after having been raped by a dealer. She keeps the baby and stays clean until its born. After that… your guess is as good as mine.
Meanwhile, The Perks of Being a Wallflower only features a snippet of the ordeal. Charlie writes about a confession made to him stating his sister is pregnant and got dumped when she told the boy. She decides to have an abortion, and Charlie has to drive her there. It takes an emotional toll on them both.
Hanging onto Maxput a twist on the should-I-or-shouldn’t-I, since the child is kept and raised by the father, who continues to attend school. My Darling My Hamburger isn’t well known, but is recommended. Abortion as dealt with through the eyes of a friend and doesn’t serve as the main plot. Growing Up in a Hurryoffers much more positive feedback on pregnancy, seeing as how an antisocial gal is brought closer to her family by the trials they are all put through.

      Kids read what they can relate to. You can tell a lot about a person by the last ten books they picked up. This is why Banned Book lists are growing, and the reigns are being tightened on teaching materials. Ok Grown-ups, here’s our secret: we young’ns turn to books when no one else teaches us how to think.* Books hold nothing back because they have nothing to prove. They have no one to answer to for their opinions, and can argue amongst themselves without resentment (sit in a quiet library sometime and tell me books don’t argue). Have faith in the next generation, and thank J.K. Rowling for being a catalyst for literacy in the 21st century.

* Here’s the funny part, for Christmas I received a cute little gift from My Fairy Godmothers that simply stated “I’ve learned everything I need to know about life by reading banned books.”

Published in: on December 19, 2007 at 2:53 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You are right on in your assessments of adults, teens, books, and society. A book can be a safe place for any of us to explore things we want and need to learn more about. Some refer to this as bibliotherapy. Ah, your post brings up the possibilities of many great discussions and I must get off the computer to go to school! Arggggg!

  2. I agree that it is sad that Jamie Lynn Spears is so young and she is setting an example for the kids that is not very positive in the growth of their lives. I believe books that tell the stories of similar things happening are helpful, however because teens can look at them and decide not to follow in the same path. Thanks for your ideas.

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