Succeeding at Failure

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

September 5, 2005

Timken High School in Canton, Ohio, has succeeded in setting a new record.  Sixty-five of the girls attending Timken are pregnant.

This record is matched by another startling local statistic.  According to the Canton Health Department, out of 586 babies born through July at local hospitals, 104 of the babies had mothers between the ages of 11 and 19.

Nationally, last week, radio and television talking heads picked up this story and ran with it.  Outrageous, they shouted.  Outrageous!  What a dismal record of failure!

Failure?  Really?

Think about it.  Timken girls and boys have succeeded at one thing.  They have succeeded in absorbing the messages of modern American culture and incorporating those messages into their lives.

Reality television validates casual sex between “consenting” guys and gals.  So Timken guys and gals consented.

Popular entertainment idols jump in and out of bed so fast that we lose count.  So Timken teens played like they are stars of the silver screen.

“Sexperts” insist that teens are incapable of resisting sexual temptations.  So Timken teens didn’t.

“Sexucators” go into classrooms and use false promises of “protection” and “safe sex” to downplay the true failure rates of condoms.  Sex is fun, not risky.  So Timken teens reach for promises of good times.

Rap and sports heroes brag about the number of women they conquer…and leave.  So Timken males fade into the background as the girls are counted by statisticians.

And sadly, American culture runs away from defining marriage as an expected standard for raising children.  So Timken teens will be unmarried parents.

If you consider what we are teaching our children, it appears that Timken teens have simply excelled at learning what they have been taught.  They are not alone.

Stella is a pregnant teen who doesn’t attend Timken.  She and her boyfriend were really “serious.”  So they had sex.  Now he’s gone and Stella is pregnant.

Sure, her feelings are hurt at being dumped by her boyfriend.  But Stella likes being pregnant.  She looks forward to being a mother and having a baby to hold.  And maybe, just maybe, her boyfriend will come back.

Next week, Stella’s friends and family are throwing her a baby shower.  Her aunt has brought over a baby bed and stroller.  And everyone is getting excited, anticipating her approaching due date.

Statisticians will count Stella as an unfortunate unwed pregnant teen.  But in the real world where Stella lives, she is making a family using the pattern she has been given.

She had sex because she was serious with her boyfriend.  And she is having a baby because she is pregnant.  Stella has grown up in a world where babies enter our lives as casually as new cars and prom dresses.

If you talk with Stella and her friends…and I suspect the young girls of Timken high…they have the same eternal dream of women going back thousands of years.  They long to be mothers and raise children.   And they are.

They have learned what “sexucators” have been teaching.  Babies are no longer the expected product of a married couple committed to each other for life.  Marriage, sex, love, infatuation, fun, babies and families…all of it is up for grabs…depending on the mood of the day and the luck of the dice.

Is it failure when 65 girls at Timken High School are pregnant?  Not if they have succeeded in learning what we have been teaching them.


October 29, 2004 – Food for the Brain

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