Archive for October, 2009


Teeaage Pregnancy

Teenage Pregnancy

In Oct. 2009, a high school principal and city developers planned to turn a ramshackle crack house into a day care center in Chicago. From the sound of that, it seems admirable and a positive thing to do but there is one problem with this picture here. The day care center is being built for kids that are having kids.

In Robeson High School, there are 115 teenage girls that are either pregnant or already given birth. That means in each classroom, it is probable to find one in seven girls with a protruding stomach or a baby carrier.

These girls also make up the 4.2 percent increase in teenage pregnancy in the U.S. this month alone according to CNN.

The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. One-third of girls get pregnant before the age of 20 according to the Center for Disease control. There are 750,000 teen pregnancies annually. Eight in ten of these pregnancies are unintended and 81 percent are to unmarried teens according to Teenpregnancy.org, a site managed by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (NCPUP).

So why are there 115 teenage mothers in high school? Certainly, no high school should fail its student body by not educating teenagers well enough on sex and how to avoid teenage pregnancy.

No high school should resort to building day care centers for pregnant teens and their offspring just because there is a pregnancy surge. It is sending out the wrong message.

“Pinning down the reasons that rates have increased so widely isn’t easy. Some blame a more sexualized culture and greater acceptance of births to unmarried women. Others say abstinence-only sex education and a possible de-emphasis on birth control may play a part,” according to USA Today.

These problems that are causing teenage pregnancy need to be addressed or revisited.

First off, Congress needs to look at a way of buffing up George W. Bush’s absolute abstinence-only policy plan. It is a really good plan the only problem is that it does not work effectively.

“On one point, however, experts agree when it comes to teenage births, the United States is backsliding. Between 1991 and 2005 the teenage birth rate declined by 34 percent. Between 2005 and 2007, it crept up five percent,” according to the National Centre for Health Statistics.

The policy plan is anti-sex education, anti-birth control and anti-family planning. That is like having a Plan A without a Plan B.

It is good most high schools are teaching abstinence as a way to avoid pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy. Primarily and foremost that is what all schools and other institutions should teach teens. However, to teach a teen or young person abstinence is to also teach them sexual morality, integrity and a commitment to be like Christ. That is where the problem lies, not every young person will choose to commit to be sexually moral. Some teenagers will unfortunately give in to the urge and pressures to have sex then get pregnant or pick up an STD.

            In addition to the abstinence plan, schools should be able to teach sex-education and the use of contraceptives to prevent teen pregnancy with the given consent of parents. Schools need to teach and stress this but only as the next best alternative if teens decide not to abstain from sex. It could be the emergency cushion that protects teenagers from the hard blow of teenage pregnancy and STDS if they miss the high abstinent mark.

Another thing that does not help teen pregnancy in the U.S. is the newfound culture that perpetuates teen pregnancy to be part of the social norm. You have movies and TV shows that glorify teen pregnancy. In the movie Juno, a 16-year-old gets pregnant but it all works out in the end because she has the full support of her family, puts the baby up for adoption and goes back to having sex with her boyfriend. This is very unrealistic.

“Less than two percent of teens place their babies up for adoption. The vast majority keep them. We have large numbers of teen mothers, whereas in an earlier time, we had large numbers of married teen mothers, Most teens giving birth now are single,” CEO of NCPUP Sarah Brown said.

“Research on teen mothers shows that their children often are raised in poverty because teenage mothers are less educated and likely to have fewer job skills. Most of them will be and remain single parents as well,” according to LiveStrong’s online magazine.

That is far from the easy-going and rising popular trend that is associated with teen pregnancy these days.

Overall, abstinence is the key and safest way to avoid teenage pregnancy but all other options should be available as well even if that means sex-education and contraceptive education because prevention is always better than cure. Sometimes unwanted pregnancies can lead to desperate abortions.

Parents should actively talk to their children and warn them about the dangers of teenage pregnancy. Parents also need to take a step forward and reverse this cultural mentality that getting pregnant during teenage years is socially acceptable.

Seriously, whatever happened to the good old days when a parent sat with his or her kid and said “If you ever get pregnant, I will kill you?”

The Light Bulb

The Light Bulb

On an extremely cool and rainy night, I am lost in a very deep sleep. I find myself dreaming about the next time I get to savor the perfectly warm syrupy goodness of a sausage Mcgriddles. Right when I am about to consume my fantasized delicacy, an epiphany struck me across the face. Eureka! I instantly woke up from my dream at 3 a.m. to post my own theory on love and hate on my blog.

Has that imaginary light bulb ever flashed over your head especially when you were doing something idle, ordinary and your mind was wandering? Trust me, it definitely has. It was at that moment my brain suddenly came up with a theory. That moment also helped broaden my perspective of certain things but how can I explain it?

Well studies have shown that the brain is most actively engaged when the mind is wandering and if a person has lost tracks of his or her thoughts.

“By most measures, we spend about a third of our time daydreaming, yet our brain is unusually active during these seemingly idle moments,” Science Journal Columnist Robert Lee Hotz wrote.

“Left to its own devices, our brain activates several areas associated with complex problem solving, which researchers had previously assumed were dormant during daydreams. Moreover, it appears to be the only time these areas work in unison.” Hotz added.

Some instant flash bulb moments have led to amazing scientific discoveries and wonderful insights.

When Isaac Newton had his light bulb flash over his head, he was sitting in an orchard and watched an apple fall.  As a result that led to his amazing breakthrough of what the world now knows as universal gravitation.

 Albert Einstein’s light bulb idea hit him like a bolt from the blue when he was imagining trains and lightening. He later came up with the theory of special relativity.

 “To be sure, we’ve all had our ‘Aha’ moments. They materialize without warning, often through an unconscious shift in mental perspective that can abruptly alter how we perceive a problem. An ‘aha’ moment is any sudden comprehension that allows you to see something in a different light,” says psychologist John Kounios from Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Now the light bulb moment does not mean it always leads to some ground breaking scientific discovery. Some light bulb moments can include something as simple finding the solution to that stubborn math problem, getting that joke you might have missed earlier or coming up with a better way to end this sentence here.

“People assumed that when your mind wandered it was empty. Mind wandering is a much more active state than we ever imagined, much more active than during reasoning with a complex problem,” cognitive neuroscientist Kalina Christoff at the University of British Columbia said.

I strongly agree with these findings. My brain was definitely active to have come up with a theory for why human beings love and hate while I was dreaming of McDonald’s. It is beyond me and I am still not sure how I came up with the systematic process known as Emotion Stimulate Response (ESR, but that is a whole another story.)

Even renowned psychologists such as Joydeep Bhattacharya regarding this matter can explain how the brain works and gives us the light bulb ideas. However he cannot explain why as he tested several subjects on solving puzzles

“By monitoring their brain waves, he saw a pattern of high frequency neural activity in the right frontal cortex that identified in advance who would solve a puzzle through insight and who would not. It appeared up to eight seconds before the answer to a problem dawned on the test subject, Dr. Bhattacharya reported in the current edition of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.” Hotz wrote

“It’s unsettling, the brain knows but we don’t.” Bhattacharya said.

Now that I think about it, I can explain how the brain does this. It’s simple, God. Even though we human beings have finite minds, God still gives us this amazing capacity to flash our light bulbs and come up with genius discoveries, theories and reasoning at such a level no other species can achieve. Next time the light bulb flashes, think about “Who” actually turned on the switch.