unconditional

I don’t like talking about movies too much on my blog because I know the moment I do, there’s the possibility that I’ll offend someone or give the impression that I endorse something that isn’t 100% wholesome. So if you’re that person, just ignore the next couple paragraphs. This isn’t really about the movie anyway.

Anyway, I watched the movie Juno tonight. First, I’m about 7 months late in discussing the movie, but I’m too cheap to drop the cash at the theater. There are two sides of my movie watching experience. There’s the one side that concerns how much I enjoyed the film and there’s the other side that deals with what this film can teach me about culture. Walt Mueller has often said that culture is both a map and a mirror. It’s a map in that it shows us where culture is going and it’s a mirror in that it reveals who we have become. He has an excellent review of movie here.

I enjoyed the movie, but watching it reminded me of the brokenness, struggles, hurts and pressure that many teens face. It does a great job of showing how these teens and the people around them deal with the difficult issues related to teen pregnancy, love and relationships.

Just after watching the movie tonight I came across this article. It’s about a high school in Massachusetts where 17 girls are pregnant. Apparently these girls made an agreement with each other to get pregnant and raise their babies together. The saddest part of the story is when a recent graduate who was pregnant her freshman year answers why these girls want to have children: “They’re so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally.”

Though this “pregnancy pact” is unique, I don’t believe the desire for unconditional love is unique. With all of the physical, social, and emotional changes taking place during the Jr. High and Sr. High years, it’s critical that students know that they are loved and accepted for who they are. This is especially true since they’re in the process of self-discovery and they’re uncertain of who they are or who they will become. They need reassurance that someone out there cares about them.

I once heard that kids don’t hear “I love you” from their parents enough. I’m sure it was some bogus statistic. But it’s stuck with me nonetheless. So one of the things I do with my boys is ask them, “Who does daddy love?” Kent’s a bit too young to understand, so I answer for him. Parker and I have made a game out of it where he names everyone he knows until he answers correctly with “Parker”. I do this almost daily with them because I always want them to know that I love them unconditionally. I never want them to have doubts about my love for them.

And that’s where our job comes in. As parents, teachers, youth leaders, friends, peers, etc. We all have a role to play in the lives of students in helping them look for love and then (more importantly) find in the right places.

Wow. Marathon post. If you’re still reading this, then give yourself a gold star.

Author: erik

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4 Comments

  1. I get a gold star! I think that sometimes people (parents) feel that if they give unconditional love that it will make their teens feel like they can do anything they want. Which in reality is totally opposite of what happens. When my child knows that I will love them unconditionally, they have a safe feeling, they don’t want to disappoint, they are secure in themselves and in the decisions that they make. We as a body do need to make sure that all of our students know that they are loved and that we will stand beside them in life!

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  2. Gold Star here too!
    I guess you can’t express to kids enough how much you care. Great post, I agree with the mirror and future theory. Once we recognize where we are and where we are going, we can be proactive about where we really want to see culture go.

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  3. Brian and I have decided Kayla is just never going to leave the house:-)

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  4. Instead of a gold star….can I have a cookie? I know…I am being pushy.
    Awesome post.
    I come from a family where I love you was implied. It took me a while to figure out that it was ok to say it.
    Unconditional love should never be carte blanche for a kid to do what ever they want…The love unconditional will be there…BUT the repercussions for being naughty don’t go away.

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