I listened to the Today Programme on the Beeb, and there were many items worth consideration, such as the obscene pension provision of £650,000 per year for Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss of the failing RBS bank; some esoteric discussion on words which are dying out(?); the proposal to part-privatise the Royal Mail, obesity surgery and redundancies in architectural practices being a few, but the one thing which caught my imagination was the piece on teenaged pregnancies. The interviewees were two girls who both were fourteen years old when pregnant, as well as the mothers of both girls. Those mothers were both pregnant themselves at sixteen years of age. Just imagine that, a grandmother when only in early thirties.
One of the more remarkable statements from the younger teenaged mother was “I was thirty-two weeks gone before I told my mother!” Thirty-two weeks! Strewth, there isn’t a loose garment on this planet which could disguise a thirty-two week pregnancy! What sort of a mother is that, to either ignore or to miss out on the fact that your daughter is pregnant! Another little gem was “Well, yes, I did miss out on being a kid, because the baby always needed looking after!”
When I was a young man, both my grandmothers were alive, and formidable ladies they were, but the thing about both ladies was they were both grey-haired old ladies. That’s the unspoken word; OLD! They must have been wise, but I cannot vouch for that fact as any wisdom absorbed by myself must have happened through osmosis, or more likely, example! The one comment I remember from my maternal grandma was when we three brothers were giggling and laughing over a ‘Goon Show’ broadcast, and my grandma told my mother, “Margaret, there must be something wrong about that programme, otherwise they wouldn’t be laughing so much!” Wise indeed!
While I was still at school, our knowledge of the mechanics of sexual behaviour and conception was hazy to say the least, but we all knew of the imperative that if a girl in our age group became pregnant, that was the worst, because illegitimacy was a stigma which weighed heavily in our times. Consequently, there were very few teenage pregnancies, because although there might have been a fair amount of action going on, the girls were more alert and the boys were consequently more repressed in behaviour.
I have brought three kids into this world, and I can now look back with a sense of pride, in the knowledge that my wife and I did a fair job in bringing up and educating our kids with a set of morals and values, an acceptance that they have to play a part in their world, and an understanding of family values. A great many youngsters would be better off if they had been given some sense of values, of morals, and most importantly of duty. There is a large movement in education which believes that the solution is simply more and more sex education and contraceptive advice. The best contraceptive advice I have ever heard of is for the young woman to grip the contraceptive pill firmly between her knees!