Fifteen

Tonight I was scanning twitter and read something that made me literally sick. While we could debate all day about the morning after pill, for some reason, that number is what caused my stomach to turn. Fifteen. Fifteen. Fifteen and up…..

My only thought was “my heavens.” I’ve got little girls. Little girls that will be 15 in 5 and 7 years. Five years is the length of a car loan. Fifteen years is the length of a mortgage. My son will be 13 in October. 2 years from 15. We talk about sports. We talk about his school. We laugh at AFV and quote song lyrics. We don’t talk about how he could be a father in 2 1/2 years. The act that could make that happen seems like it shouldn’t even be on his radar.

Fifteen

Did you know you have to be sixteen to do the following – get a drivers license, get legally married, join a trade union, buy premium bonds, pilot a glider and buy a lottery ticket (source). You are not legally able to do these things until you’re a year older than fifteen. You can’t get a tattoo, buy tobacco, get a piercing, buy spray paint, get a Sams club membership or be on Jerry Springer until you’re 18 (source). I’m not great at math, but I think that’s 3 years older than 15.

Taylor Swift once wrote a heart breaking song about the awkward age of fifteen. Interestingly enough, it included lyrics that told the story of her best friend giving “everything she had to a boy that changed his mind…and we both cried.” Am I naive? Is fifteen that risque now? Is it just lyrics in a song or is this happening at an alarming rate? Is it an age that can’t drive, buy a lottery ticket or tobacco, but they can take the “morning after pill” without a prescription?

If so, I’m not ready for fifteen…and my girls sure as heck aren’t.

Have we reached the end of innocence? Have we gone off the rails? Is fifteen not about braces, pimples, teen magazines and concerts? God help us. Literally. God help us. We’ve lost or way. We’ve lost the innocence and apparently a pill is all we need to get it back.

Maybe the best thing Taylor sings in her song “fifteen” are these words….

I didn’t know who I was supposed to be at fifteen

The FDA and those in the position to make these decisions for our kids think you do Taylor. Heaven help us.

12 thoughts on “Fifteen

  1. You _are_ naive. Incredibly so.

    Fifteen is how old girls are when they’ve heard and seen little else beyond the sexualisation of girls and women. Look at some of the clothes in “normal family stores” like Target that are designed for girls as young as four.

    Fifteen is the age when you feel like no one loves you and no one will ever love you because you look awkward and feel even more awkward. And society–even the “good shows” like High School Musical and the wretched things on the Disney channel–is all about the message that prettiness is what it takes to be loved. There aren’t really many girls who feel pretty at 15.

    And so they have sex, a lot of times just to hear someone say–no matter how fleeting the moment–that they are loved. Or just to imagine that they are loved because otherwise why would the boy want to do these things?

    That’s what 15 is like for a girl. That’s what it will be like for your girls, no matter how much you love them.

    Now imagine 15 for a girl whose father is in jail, whose mother works three jobs to keep food on the table and bus passes in everyone’s pocket. That girl whose family can’t afford cable, can’t get to the library. What is she going to do for fun? Sex is free (for the moment) entertainment where you get to feel a little love in the process.

    I’ve seen girls as young as 11 have sex for all of these reasons. Boredom, insecurity, fear, societal pressure. That’s what it’s like for young girls.

    And no, I don’t approve of this pill. It’s just making it easier for us to not talk to girls about these things.

    But you’re naive if you think 15 is a time of innocence and carefree living.

    1. Thank you Katherine. When I read the tweet, I honestly tried to remember what I thought about and did at 15. It’s longer ago than I’d like to admit. It is also the lens of a male. Interestingly enough your thoughts above track with the song by Taylor Swift too. Even further reason for me to say “God help us” and specifically, God help me. Because I am naive to all that lies ahead for my kids. No other way I can navigate it. Thank you for the great feedback and insight.

  2. Yikes! You are so right to be alarmed. My son is 14 and will be entering high school next year, he is taller than me now, he has a deep voice and he is starting to look like a man and act like a man and barely resembles the blonde little 3 year old with curls and dimples that I see when I look at him. I can hardly bear for him to grow up and possibly make choices in a “moment” that will affect him for the rest of his life, but I can only hope that my husband and I have provided a strong foundation of values that he will always fall upon and he will be guided by GOD in those moments. I also know that I will ALWAYS be here with unconditional love for him no matter what. Now, if we could just invent a pill that would allow them to skip the teenage years….:)

  3. I’m a Christian dad of two little girls. I know my wife and I are going to do my best to raise them to make wise decisions and to save sex for a man who is willing to commit, to marry. Part of this process is educating them about contraception, including the morning-after pill… when they’re old enough to understand that such an education isn’t the same as a license to have sex. 🙂 Fifteen is plenty old enough.

    This isn’t about girls “losing innocence” and “getting it back” with a pill. It’s about reducing instances of teen pregnancy, reducing instances of abortion. There are a lot of bad situations out there, and giving scared girls an opportunity to course-correct after a mistake is not something to be ashamed of.

    If we want to preserve our daughters’ “innocence” (i.e. virginity), that’s our job, not the government’s. 15-year-olds are having sex. It sucks but that’s reality. I can shelter my daughters, or I can raise them to be smart, independent women who make smart choices. I can’t just stick my head in the sand and believe that my girls are just too sweet and innocent to have a sex drive. (I’m not saying that you are, I’m just trying to make the point that parental naïveté can be a part of the problem.) If nothing else, I just want them to feel that they can talk to me or my wife about it, especially if they’ve messed up.

    And finally, just to be clear, the morning-after pill is not an abortifacient; there is no evidence to suggest that it prevents implantation. That is a common misconception that tends to color this issue.

    Long comment, sorry, but this is something I’ve been giving a *lot* of thought to over the past few years. Funny how having kids can do that to you. 🙂

    1. Great thoughts. It’s been a while since I was 15 and I know the world has changed. Absolutely agree that much of this education comes from the home. At some point you have to let go of that handlebars and let them ride. I think I know what my thoughts, drives and desires were and that scares me too. Thanks again for the great comments.

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