Truth in Love 30 January 2022

Listening to my radio on the way back from Atkins today, I heard the voice of Diana Ross singing, “I started school in a worn, torn dress that somebody threw out. I knew the way it felt to always live in doubt, To be without the simple things, So afraid my friends would see the guilt in me…” And it started me thinking… Back in 1968 when the Supremes came out with this song about teenage pregnancy, it was a taboo subject. Not that it never happened, but nobody ever talked about it. And certainly nobody ever sang about it. This was in the midst of Vietnam and all the hyper freedom movements in our society. The very thoughts expressed in the song seem to fly in the face of the entire liberation movement with these girls appearing on Ed Sullivan and actively standing in opposition to the entire ideal.
When I got back to the office, the song was stuck in my head, so I did a little research. It was originally written as a blues piece about a poor teenage girl who was pregnant and lamenting her future. But Barry Gordy of Motown wanted a top hit and that wasn’t it. So, he rewrote and rearranged the lyrics to the point where it ended up as the story of a young girl explaining to her boyfriend that they would have to wait until marriage; because she, having been born out of wedlock, did not want that stigma for her own child. Imagine that. Here in the middle of the revolutionary movements of the 1960’s was a positive message for caution.
But apparently nobody listened. As I write today, history shows that in 1968, the number of children born to single mothers was 7% in the US. By 1978 the number had risen slightly to 11%. By 2017 the number had risen steadily and was at 25% of all births. Last year in the US, a whopping 42% of all babies born in the US were born to unwed mothers. And unlike 1968 when it was socially unacceptable to have children out of wedlock, that is no longer the case today. Today, the idea of a “Love Child” even seems to be a positive thing.
But that’s not the way God intended for children to brought into the world. God’s plan has always included the father being not only present in the life of the child, but responsible for the raising and instruction of his children. Maybe it’s time we spent a little more effort encouraging young people to wait. I know it’s an old fashioned notion, but the ramifications are immense. Our youth are under constant bombardment and those, like Rod, who work with them are doing their best to encourage and support them. But they need our support and encouragement as well. Tell them you love them and show them you care.
In 1968, Diana Ross sang that, “No child of mine will be bearing the name of shame I’ve been wearing.” And in 2022, we need to hear that message all over again.