SeasonsEvery parent must know what it feels like to be taken for granted. As a young person, it’s hard to realize how much your parents are taking care of for you behind the scenes. I graduated from college in May 2008, and have been slowly realizing since then just how much I took my parents for granted. At some point in life everyone has to go through a steady process of taking on their own shoulders the burdens their parents have carried on their behalf for so long. As I have struggled over the past year or two to find a place to live, get a job, start paying my own bills, etc; I would occasionally think I was doing pretty well. Then I would inevitably realize that there was something else my parents had been providing for me that I would soon have to take care of myself.

“Wait, I need to get my own car insurance now?” “Health insurance costs HOW much?” “What even is renter’s insurance?” “I can’t keep mooching off my family’s cell phone plan?” “When did milk get so expensive?!” It’s moments like these that you want to go home and give your parents a big hug and say thank you for taking care of everything you didn’t even know you needed throughout the years. I suggest you take some time to actually do that today, or at least give them a call and let them know that you really appreciate all they did for you.

Even scarier than having to take care of yourself is having to take care of someone else. I got married this summer, and I knew that when I took those solemn vows that I was promising to take care of my wife to the very best of my ability. It is my job to provide for her needs as best I can, be they financial, physical, emotional, or whatever. Before I got married I always figured that if push came to shove I could be a traveling vagabond and life could still be fun, if not comfortable; but I couldn’t make my wife live like that, especially when we want to have a family someday. When you’re responsible for someone else it inspires you to “man up” and do what needs to be done, even if it’s really hard.

I think about this when we’re out teaching in the schools, especially when we talk about teen pregnancy. We tell teens that they are in a season of their life where their job is to focus on themselves and grow into the kind of person they need to be for the rest of their life. If they choose to have sex outside the context of a faithful and committed marriage and end up getting pregnant, that is going to fast forward them through this critical season and force them to take on responsibility for a new life. Taking on responsibility for someone else when you haven’t even had practice being fully responsible for your own life is a staggering shock that they aren’t ready to handle yet – mentally, emotionally, or financially (raising a child costs around $785 a month on average). If they do make the wise choice to stay abstinent, they won’t have to worry about unplanned pregnancy and will be able to enjoy the full benefit of this growing season of life – and also enjoy a full harvest in the next seasons of their life.