Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dear Bristol Palin

Dear Bristol Palin,

One can only imagine how much your life has changed in recent days. Just a few short months ago you were enjoying high school and a certain amount of privacy, even as the daughter of a governor. Now, however, you are suddenly thrust into the national fish bowl with millions of strangers clucking about your upbringing, your situation, and your options. How sad for you.

Young people, even younger than you, have babies every day and often make very good parents. I sincerely hope that is the case with you. I am a counselor by trade, and I would like to offer some advice that could serve you well as you enter parenthood. Please take from it what you will.

1. Church can be a very important component of family life, but extreme religious views can also be an impediment to a healthy and happy family. Use common sense and avoid being intolerant of the views and lifestyles of others based on religious doctrine. Love your children, as your parents love you, but don't complicate their lives with unrealistic dogma. As an example, do more than just talk about the virtues of sexual abstinence. We both know that young people routinely engage in sex, so talk to your kids honestly and openly about sex, and be prepared to assist them in procuring birth control in the event that it becomes necessary.

2. The current Governor of Alaska, let's call her "Mom," is so politically rigid that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. It's a wonderful thing to have well reasoned convictions and to try and live by those convictions. But when we become so hardened and rabid in our views that we can't accommodate good judgment and reason, we have crossed a line and entered the realm of inhumanity. Learn from Mom's mistakes and be flexible. The world isn't them and us - it's just us.

3. Don't let anyone push you into marriage. An unplanned pregnancy is absolutely the worst reason in the world to get married. Levi may be a great guy and he might make a wonderful father, but right now he is awfully immature. He describes himself as being a "fuckin' redneck" and talks about not wanting kids. Give him a few years to mature, and, if he does - and if you still want him - marry him then. Marriage needs to be your decision - make it wisely.

Be strong and be resilient. You will get through this ordeal. May your baby be healthy and may your lives be happy and full of wonder! Stay focused on the needs of your child, and you will be a wonderful parent!

My best to you.

Pa Rock

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