It was only recently that being a teenager became synonymous with being too young to make big decisions about marriage and children. Some of my favorite books are the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery. In these beloved books, Anne attains what is the modern day equivalent of a college education, becomes a full-time schoolteacher, and starts to teach herself Latin and Greek — by age 16. Her friends, also teenagers, start marrying and having babies right out of school. Yet none of this is depicted as unusual — Anne is only a slightly-above-average teenage woman 100 years ago. Today, Anne would be hailed as a genius and her friends would be considered mature far beyond their years (or else stupid for "giving up their independence" so early).
But maybe young Christians wouldn’t be so starry-eyed about marriage if they were told that babies are a good and immediate part of the deal. That would sober them, because it would elucidate the reality that marriage is more about sacrifice than sex. And in a culture where sex is all about pleasure it is crucial that we stress its procreative purposes. If you aren’t ready to have a baby, you aren’t ready to get married. Yes, children are a nuisance and an inconvenience — to our selfish natures. If you wait until you are completely financially stable, or emotionally ready, you will never have children. You are never fully prepared for anything life brings, but God promised that his grace will be sufficient for today.
Despite what you may read in the papers or hear on the nightly news, America does not have a "teen pregnancy crisis." In reality, we have a crisis of children born outside of marriage — to parents of all ages and classes, from impoverished teenagers to fifty-year-old movie stars, who want the fun of sex without the responsibilities of marriage. We have a crisis of maturity and morality.
Yes, I am among those contributing to the teen pregnancy rate. I would encourage other responsible young Christians in their late teens and early twenties to do the same. Women, these are the best years of your life to have a baby (ages 18-to-27 are when your body is at its peak for childbearing, and having your first child during these years significantly reduces your risk of breast cancer). Men, why not channel your youth and energy into something with profound eternal value?