Recently, a colleague and I noticed a former student going down the hall of the high school where we teach fine arts classes. This 12th grade girl was noticeably pregnant. We were both horrified. We called the student into the room where we were and began the normal interrogation. ‘How could you have let this happen?” “Didn’t you know better?” “Why did you not protect yourself?” We had spoken to this girl a few months ago. She was so full of hope for her future. She planned to be a physician; a psychologist. We had spoken to her at length about schools and majors and the time that it would take to reach her goals. She knew who she was and who she wanted to become.
As my colleague and I discussed with her the obvious change of plans this beautiful, bright young woman became visibly upset. I began to think that this grilling was not what she needed. She already knew that she had “messed-up”. She was acutely aware that her plans, while not impossible to pursue, would be more difficult to attain at best with a baby in tow. These things she had probably rehearsed in her mind and heart. I searched for something positive to say to her.
Trying to lighten the air, I said, ‘Well although this baby is not what you planned, you do know that she is not a mistake? God has a plan for her life. Your greatest responsibility will be to help her discover why she is here. What is the divine purpose for life.” I went on to share that she will need to make sure that this child is safe and healthy and given opportunities for mental and spiritual growth.
The more I shared with this student the more I realized that this has been my goal with my three twenty-something children. The educational support, the ballet classes, music lessons, karate classes, hand bell and choir concerts, Bible Studies, not to mention the hours spent on the sidelines of soccer games were all in an effort to help them find their purposes. Why were these children placed in my care? What could I do to make certain that they find out what their contribution to the world would be? There is an obvious fine line between exhausting our children with ceaseless activity and providing the exposure they will need in order to have choices in life. This, I believe, is a parents greatest challenge.
The student’s countenance lighted as I shared this slant on motherhood.. She said, “Wow, Ms. Rita, I never heard of that before. Thank you for telling me that.” I felt so much better. I did not want our exchange to leave her feeling any worse than I am sure she already did. I, on the other-hand, am still meditating on what I said to her. I hope I have helped my children find their purposes. I am aware that even though they are all grown-up, I believe my most important role in their lives is to help them discover, why they are here.