Months ago I went to a preschool moving sale. Everything was for sale. I enjoyed watching several children reminiscing about their time at this school. They were taking turns reading to each other in an unstructured setting they chose.
The preschool director and two little girls were sorting stuffed animals. I sensed that they were consoling the director. When offered a chair, I readily became involved. Among the treasures was a box of hand puppets. We each chose one and pretending to be that animal, we talked together.
After a few minutes the girls asked me if I had children, where they were, and how old they were. I shared photos of them when they were 3 and 5 years old and said my boys were now men and dads to their own children. I told the girls both my sons were adopted. They looked perplexed; I was prompted to ask if they knew what "adopted" meant.
They conferred, one saying, "Adopted, adopted, I heard that word before." The other one said, "Yeah, me too." They scratched their heads, they asked their hand puppets, and still a bit unsure, the older girl announced, "I know, I remember now." She then looked straight at me wide-eyed and quipped, "You adopted your kids from a shelter? Did you go there and look at a bunch of babies to pick them out?"
A little surprised, realizing they associated adoption with pet shelters I tried to satisfy their new curiosity by telling them that adopting children is different from choosing a cute pet. That little interaction gave me pause.
I heard a woman on television commenting on the alleged "War on Women." I was not in the room, but listened to the conversation. This lady said she had two children, explained her pregnancies and deliveries were very difficult, and concluded she became pro-life when it struck her that her wonderful husband was adopted by his parents. She said the casualness with which life is aborted today occasionally makes her wonder who terminated fetuses might have grown up to be. Her narrative gave me pause again.
Not long after I heard another commentary watching a woman campaigning for insurance coverage for birth control and abortion. She labeled her pleas "Women's Rights." She said any woman could have been selected to deliver this message. Oh, really? I did not agree. Her words prompted another need for reflection.
Pondering these pauses, I realized we all are a sum of our experiences. My life has known of instances where abortion is considered a form of birth control. Several people close to me struggled most of their lives with an abortion decision not realizing it does have an emotional impact. There are some single women who casually engage in sexual acts yielding multiple births with multiple partners without any concerns about their babies' well-being or survival. Far too often nurturing of these children becomes secondary; they allow other agencies and programs to provide life's necessities; children often spend more time away from their home then they do in it. Adoption also has unintended effects on both the adoptee and the adopter. Any decision to alter nature's plan demands attention and serious consideration.
The hedonistic attitude about casual sex contributes significantly to the deterioration of the core fiber of our country and many social problems. Human beings are considered the most intelligent of animals. Are we? Is abortion an option for pet owners?
On 9/11 we had the 11th anniversary of the most tragic event most of us have ever witnessed. Examine what's happened in our country since that historic day. Consider television programming, movies, video games, and commercials trivializing violence and exploiting sex which desensitizes us. What's missing is a key life ingredient: respect.
Our education system has expanded, more than scholastics it now provides services to children traditionally performed by parents, including sex education. Schools are now substitute parents without the emotional tie. There is a specialist for everything. Children don't learn to think; someone else takes care of their problems.
The media, schools, and our government are powerful entities and the biggest outlets of information and peer pressure. Each delves into the issue of sexual behavior. They provide ways to terminate life and/or prevent pregnancy without providing equal time to long term effects of choices. Many youth pregnancy problems exist because of prevalent drug abuse; it is the aftermath of "zoned out" sex and violence such as rape. Peer pressure became more powerful lacking respect for life; it is more powerful than parental pressure.
Excellent information including the side effects and risks of birth control pills, multiple sexual partners, abortion, and adoption is readily available. Use it wisely. Yielding personal power to another entity contributes prolifically to the steady decline of the basic unit of society: The Family.
• Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.