Here’s a headline that stunned me earlier this month: Vermont Considers Legalizing Teen “Sexting.” No, that’s not a typo. Just as “texting”—sending a text message between cell phones—has become a vital part of communication, the practice known as “sexting” is a growing trend among young people. In short, sexting is an exchange of photos, usually sexually explicit, between cell phone users. Sexting sometimes involves sending a pornographic video to the recepient. Upwards of 20% of teens admit sexting.
Last April, we invited our Clubhouse Jr. readers to help us collect tank tops for African orphans. The response was inspiring. From yard sales to bake sales, pizza parties to birthday celebrations, an army of little hands eagerly accepted the challenge. Pooling their creativity and resources, they engaged their families, neighborhoods, churches and schools. When the deadline arrived last July, children as young as 2-years-old from around the country flooded us with tank tops in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
There’s an Associated Press story last week that caught my eye. Here’s the headline: US Births Break Record; 40% are out-of-wedlock. The article reported that “More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than any other year in the nation’s history, topping the peak during the baby boom 50 years earlier.”
Nothing wrong with an up tick in births, that is, until you consider the fact that 40% of the 4.3 million babies were born to unwed mothers.
Much has been said about Nadya Suleman, the unmarried California mother-of-six who, at age 33, through a process known as In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), gave birth to octuplets. Now, with fourteen children and no visible means of support, some have compared her predicament to the popular nursery poem, “There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe.”
According to the rhyme, “She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. She gave them some broth, without any bread, she whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.” These critics say Nadya, being a single parent, has been irresponsible, unwise, selfish to expand her already large family, and condemn her as being just another of those “unfit welfare recipients” who take advantage of the system–although Nadya denies ever receiving welfare benefits.
Meet Lia. She’s twelve. She lives in Toronto. And her powerful video, has become a YouTube sensation in just two weeks. More than 330,000 viewers have watched this seventh-grader make the case for life in a speech that almost didn’t happen. As her mother Kimberly explains, “Several teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was ‘too big,’ ‘too mature’ and ‘too controversial.’”
That’s not all Lia was told. Her mother adds, “She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition.” But faced with taking on such a Goliath-sized issue, and in spite of the warnings from her teachers that she might be disqualified from the contest, Lia’s pro-life convictions prevailed.
I arrived over the weekend in Sydney, Australia for a series of meetings. Moments after landing, I learned about a tragic, mind-numbing event during rush hour in Melbourne yesterday. According to eye-witnesses, Arthur Phillip Freeman, 35, was driving his vehicle over the West Gate Bridge when he stopped in the middle of traffic, carried his four-year-old daughter, Darcey, in his arms and then dropped this defenseless child 190 feet into the river water below.
Freeman’s actions took place in plain view of a host of stunned motorists who jammed emergency hotlines with frantic calls for help.
In Dr. Dobson’s original film series Where’s Dad? he made a point that struck a chord with me all of these years, probably because I’m a father of two young boys. Specifically, Dr. Dobson described the difference between spending quantity time and quality time with our children. More often than not, Dr. Dobson heard parents make the comment that they just want to give their son or daughter quality time–when in reality our kids want quantity time.
I love hearing from constituents like you. Today, I thought I’d invite you to read three playful letters that brightened my day. This first gem is from a mother whose son was in kindergarten where he was just learning to read. Here’s what happened:
“I remember picking-up my son from school one day. I had been reading one of Dr. Dobson’s books at the time and had it on the car seat next to me. My precocious youngster carefully sounded out the title.
What if I were to tell you that 7 out of 10 students got an “F” when taking a basic civic literacy test? That’s the finding of Jim Tonkowich, president of Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). Jim has a passion for American history and civic education which is why he’s alarmed by a disturbing trend in education today, namely, that our high schools and colleges are failing to provide students with a clear understanding of their American heritage.
Cecile Richards is president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I’ve not met her. Perhaps one day I’ll have that opportunity. If given the chance to sit across the table from her, there’s no doubt that we’d have our share of differences. For instance, here are just three of what she views as “a year full of noteworthy achievements” as summarized in Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report to Stakeholders:
We provided medical services to more than three million people and helped prevent an estimated 621,000 unintended pregnancies in the U.S.