This is the season where many young people are graduating from high school and college, having achieved a major milestone, excited and anxious about the next station in life. Many young people still have not had a caring adult speak with them about navigating the thing that they most think about during these years: love, sex, and relationships. The blogs for BCI this month will be my letters to young women and men as they prepare for their future endeavors.
I want to congratulate you, my little sister, on your graduation from high school. This is an important and necessary step in your growth and development, and I am very proud that you have taken it successfully. You may or may not have given much thought about what these next few years are going to look like. There are many decisions that you are going to make that will impact the rest of your life. Some decisions you will know, even as you are making them, are life-changing decisions, while you may only realize the major impact of other decisions on your life many years later. One of the biggest decisions you will repeatedly have to make is the decision whether or not to have sex, and if you choose to have sex, with whom and under what circumstances. As you well know, one of the implications of choosing to have sex is the possibility of pregnancy, and it is that which I want to talk to you about today. Pregnancy, at the right time, when you are ready and have a strong support system (that I hope includes a loving, caring, and employed husband) can be a wonderful thing. However, pregnancy when you are unprepared, before you have completed your education and/or become settled into your career, can make life more difficult than you might imagine. The time it takes to care for a child 24/7 can make it difficult to give enough time and energy to completing your education. Not to mention, the expenses incurred while raising a child add up quickly. If you are not financially prepared to deal with the expenses, you can quickly become overwhelmed. I’m sure that this is not new information for you, and it would be foolish and counterproductive to hope that you would live your life in fear of the negative possibilities. So instead, I want to encourage you to take positive steps to keep you on the right track.
You have a great mind, which is no surprise to me because God gave it to you. Always remember that intelligence is much more than the facts that you know; it is what you do with those facts. Continue to feed your mind by surrounding yourself with people and things that inspire you. Inspiration feeds your thought process and enhances your creativity, both of which help your decision making process. You have a long cultural heritage of intelligent creative women: Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ella Baker, Mary McCloud Bethune, Shirley Chisolm and many others. Each of them used their intelligence and creativity to transform the world around them, and the same spirit that they had resides in you.
As I’m sure you know by now, friendships, romances, and sometimes, even family relationships can come and go. Whether it’s the result of time and distance or people’s changing personalities, relationships change like the seasons, and even though it hurts sometimes, it’s natural. Know that God will put you around the people that you need at the time that you need them. During each of these seasons it is important that you have an older woman whom you trust and can talk to openly about what is happening in your life, whether it is your mother, grandmother, aunt, or mentor. Choose this woman carefully, because the wisdom that she gained from her experiences will be the reservoir from which she will draw to share advice with you. Also keep a pastor, priest, or spiritual guide in your life. This person will share with you spiritual truths that will help you to see what God is doing in your life.
Life hardly ever turns out the way we think it will. Sometimes it is much better. Other times it is much worse. During those “worse” times, the worst thing that we can do is to give up. There is nothing that you can do, and nothing that can happen to you that will stop God from loving you. Every day when you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself that God loves you. When life becomes complicated or difficult, remember that God will give you the strength you need to make it through the difficult moments.
The views, opinions, and perspectives expressed in by guest and consultant bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, its state affiliates, it member organizations, or the National Black Church Initiative. The Religious Coalition is committed through its National Black Church Initiative to faithfully, prayerfully breaking the silence on issues related to sex, sexuality and religion.