We all make mistakes

I also had a post in draft mode about being punished with a baby, Obama’s comment about abortion. If his daughters got pregnant, he would not want them “punished with a baby.”

I was listening to Mike Reagan talk one night while I was working, and he was incensed over this comment, as I have been, as well. For those of us whose parents chose NOT to abort us when they easily could have, the abortion debate is more than just a theory. I do not think my birthmom felt she was being “punished” with a baby. I know that my niece’s birthmom did not feel that she was being “punished” with a baby when she became pregnant at 16.

And to even say such a thing is to completely misunderstand the meaning of “Punish.” A baby is a natural consequence of having sex.

To Punish, according to Dictionary.com, is “to subject to pain, loss, confinement, death, etc., as a penalty for some offense, transgression, or fault: to punish a criminal.”

A consequence that is a natural occurrence is not a punishment – it is not inflicted. It just happens.

If Wally’s playing with kids and he growls and scares them all and nobody wants to play with him as a result – that’s a consequence. If I remove him from play and make him sit in time out for a while because he’s growling – that’s a punishment.

But, moving on to what seems unrelated but all fits together in my head…

Sarah Palin’s 17 year old daughter is pregnant. And that’s a bad thing, obviously. But I don’t think it’s quite the “gotcha” that liberal bloggers are trying to make it into.

What some people apparently don’t understand is that everyone makes mistakes. Actually, I’ve run into several Christians who don’t understand this, either. But we all do.

Another concept that a lot of people don’t get is that we cannot control our children.  We can do our best to instill in them values and morals and our expectations of them and their behavior, but the decisions are ultimately theirs. (this is something that Christians in particular have trouble with, unfortunately.)

I think my parents did an admirable job with making sure we were clear on their expectations of us growing up. I knew, for example, that when I was spending the night at friends’ houses, I was to remain there and not, say, go sneaking out and into cars with boys to go make out and drive around central Iowa in their cars. Though it didn’t come up specifically, I was also quite clear that they really didn’t want me spending the night at my older boyfriend’s apartment while I was in college. But, well, I chose to do those things. And if I had chosen to have sex, or to drink, or to smoke, or whatever, there would have been very little they could have done about it.

Wally knows that he’s not supposed to do certain things, but yet he does them anyway sometimes. Ultimately, the decision is up to him. And the consequences are his to deal with. I can guide him, but I cannot control him.

Another post I had in draft mode and ultimately decided to delete was about Edwards and his affair. It’s unimportant, really, which is why I deleted it. But the point of it was that it’s rarely the sin that’s a big deal. It’s the lie and coverup afterwards. People can forgive mostly anything, but lying and trying to cover something up – that’s harder to forgive. Sinning is not the problem. Trying to cover it up IS a problem.

So back to Sarah Palin’s daughter. They could have tried to hide it, or to get rid of the evidence. And I don’t know how they reacted originally to the daughter’s news, but the end result certainly seems to be love, acceptance, and straightforward dealing with the consequences. There was no big cover-up.

(Which is a far sight different from how the families of my and my sister’s birthmothers chose to deal with their pregnancies, I’ll add.)


5 responses to “We all make mistakes

  1. True enough. I think that was an unfortunate phrase by Obama, but I don’t think he really meant that a baby is punishment.

    I have to admit that I think the average 17-year-old would be much better off giving a baby up for adoption than marrying a high school boyfriend. The divorce rate for people who got married at that age is at least 90 percent. But I wish Bristol Palin the best.

  2. I have to agree about the adoption thing. Young age + unexpected pregnancy is not really the formula for a successful marriage.

    One thing she does have going for her, apparently, is a supportive family. I hope his family is as supportive as the Palins seem to be. Many (most?) 17 year old pregnant girls don’t have that kind of a support system.

    And there are always exceptions. I know a few girls at Mothering who are still married to the guys they married when they became unexpectedly pregnant as teens. (At least one of them did not marry the man for several years.)

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Congratulations on your soon baby-to-be. I really agree with your post on Sara Palin’s daughter and the Obama comment. Not very compassionate to say “punished” by being pregnant with a little baby.

    I was wondering if you might take down my comments on co-sleeping from your site/internet. I’ve softened recently and would really appreciate it. I was a little angry back then. 😉

    Anyway, please think about it. I hope all is well with your family and soon-to-be-bigger family.

    East Lansing

  4. If you can send me the URLs, I’ll see if I can still edit them. I don’t really have time to go through every comment to find yours, but if you have the urls, I’m fine with that.

  5. Hi again,

    I know you so don’t have time for this – I apologize. 😦

    I’m not sure what a URL is. Can you tell me? Under my name is your website. Sorry, I am quite new to this computer.

    Again, sorry to bother you.


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