A bitch is in the midst of emotional turmoil, so y’all will have to allow me some latitude today.
Have you ever listened to Marvin Gaye singing The Lord’s Prayer? The passion, the emotion…it stills a body in motion, literally makes you pause and listen…really listen.
Don’t ask me why, but a bitch has been playing Marvin’s version over and over in my mind…since 4 o’clock in the afternoon yesterday…when my sister C-Money called…a bitch has been playing it over and over...since finding out that my sister’s 14 year old mentee is pregnant.
So, there you have it and there it is.
Over and over, yet paused in motion…tears heavy and ready to fall.
Where to start?
What to say?
A bitch would like to start with a question.
When folks gather in groups, in legislative sessions and committees, to discuss whether to include comprehensive sex education in public schools do they ever ask themselves what is at stake?
What is held in the balance...what are the outcomes, negative and positive, of their decisions?
When discussing sex education policy what is the definition of failure? Actually, we have one don’t we…the standard of no child left behind, right? And No Child Left Behind, which is the national education policy, is all about establishing standards by which schools, teachers and students may be judged.
So, is anyone taking numbers…collecting data…checking to see if the current abstinence only agenda is working? It’s really easy! A bitch thought about it last night…while lying in bed trying not to curl up into the depressed ball of dejected shit that every fiber of my being wanted to be.
Who Art in Heaven…
Just take a look at the sexually transmitted disease infection rates…the pregnancy rates…the cold hard figures!
Is it working?
Hallowed be thy name…
A child has been left behind.
Thy Kingdom Come…
She is 14 years old…she loves Sponge Bob and hates History class. She’s shy, poor and pregnant.
Thy will be done…
And that is not to say that she is not responsible…it is complex…but we have failed her just as much as she has failed herself. There will be no joyous baby announcement…no happy phone calls…no registration at Babies-R-Us…none of that.
A 14 year old is pregnant and that is not cause for celebration in my world.
On earth as it is in Heaven…
Didn’t we tell her to talk to us? Yes, yes…but, but...but. Didn’t we discuss condoms and protection? Yes, yes…but she is 14 years old and knows all about that…sort of…kind of knows…didn’t know enough and we didn’t have enough time to teach her everything she wasn’t taught before.
And there is the guilt...the what ifs and the should haves that a bitch witnessed my sister go through last night...that are unavoidable and painful and empty.
Give us this day our daily bread...
There are limits to mentoring…limits of time and contact…legal limits that make it hard to get real. That is why there need to be supplements…sex education in the schools, on television, in church, on the radio...in the home, for the love of all that is holy.
Because you can make a mistake at 14 years old that could threaten your life...which is why she will need to have an HIV/AIDS test. You can make a mistake at 14 years old that can scar you…which is why she will need to have the full range of STD tests.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…
And what of the burden to society…the conflict between fiscal conservative policy...the ritualistic slashing of social programs...and the cost of shoring up a flawed sex education policy that all but guarantees multiple generations of dependents?
And lead us not into temptation…
Do we hold the mother of this mentee accountable? The woman who gave birth to this mentee at 14 years old herself…who will be a grandmother at 29? When and where was she supposed to learn the ropes and gather the information to instruct her child? Why the hell isn't anyone asking these questions?
But deliver us from evil…
What of the father? The 17 year old high school drop out…the ‘boyfriend’ who was never mentioned until the pregnancy announcement...who will now slowly or swiftly disappear. Do we hold him responsible…does it even matter?
Does responsibility have weight when the one responsible has nothing?
For Thine is the kingdom…
Yes! Yes, yes, yes…the word just wants to leap out of my throat...YES!
Y'all are so right.
It is a child, not a choice…and she is 14 years old and choice-less.
She is 14 years old…just a baby, but soon to be a mother…soon to do at 14 years old what this bitch doesn’t feel mature enough to do at 33.
And the power…
Please give my sister the strength to go on...to be as amazing in her mentee's life as she has been in my life.
And the Glory…
Give us the words to make people understand that behind this flawed policy are ever increasing numbers of women and children being born into abject poverty, violence, exploitation and misery.
Fill us with the wisdom to inspire others to get active and participate...to be a part of the solution...to give a damn...to work towards establishing a community instead of assuming someone else already has or probably will.