I know it’s a juvenile taunt, but sometimes these two small words are the most appropriate response to the stupidity that has been taught to our young people.
I have a friend who is very young, who is trying to work hard and do right for his girlfriend and child. He is 19, I believe she is 18 (I’m not sure if she is or will soon be) and their child is less than a year old.
She doesn’t work (she is a stay-at-home-mom) who just got a diploma or GED.
She lives at home with her father, and my friend goes over often to spend time with his girlfriend and child.
The other day, my friend tells me that he is contemplating moving his girlfriend and child in to an apartment, and living as an adult couple. His brothers are planning on moving out of the apartment he lives in now, opening the way for the two girls to move in.
I asked my friend why the rush, since he is not working full time, and since she isn’t working at all. His response was that he didn’t like the way her father disrespects him. The father drinks, and is apparently not a friendly drunk. My friend admits to drinking as well, and you can imagine what happens when you get two drunks with a good reason to dislike each other stuck in close quarters.
I’ll deal with the financial issues later, but let’s look at the social issues first. I’m not a father, but I’ve known many fathers in my life. I recognize the look in a father’s eye when he is looking at the boy who either has already, or plans to take something irrecoverable away from his little girl. I also know that many girls seek a mate that reminds them in some way of their father. After all, their father was the first man that they fell in love with. He was their first protector, provider, and idol.
“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”
I’ve always liked this quote by William Makepeace Thackeray, ever since I heard it in The Crow, in 1994. I believe this is true for most children, but I think that in the minds of little girls in particular, Father fits the bill a little better.
So what we have is a young boy that has impregnated this man’s daughter, coming to this man’s house, eating his food, drinking his alcohol, and in some cases, smoking his cigarettes. This boy seems to want to be trying to take this man’s place, and nobody wants to see that happen to themselves.
Let’s assume that the father is justified in drinking, and is a generally decent guy. Where has my friend demonstrated that he has earned the respect of his girlfriend’s father?
Now, for the financial issue. Especially in these current times of economic depression, people need to be careful whenever they endeavor to change their personal situations. Moving in two other bodies that you have to pay for without changing your financial intake is suicide. Worse, having talked to my friend I have heard his plan, and it all revolves around her taking welfare, food stamps and his continuing to work making at least the same salary as he is now.
While the current administration speaks to wanting to expand welfare, the truth of the matter is, welfare programs need to be paid for somehow. With increasing unemployment, there are fewer taxpayers out there who can afford to pay for these programs. The inevitable result is that these programs will end, or be severely curtailed. That is sad, for there are some people who are genuinely needing and deserving of these programs, but that is the reality. As far as his salary, I would hope that it would increase, but with rising unemployment, and more companies having to result to lay-offs of staff, he is a prime candidate to be laid off. This put his family in a spot of not having any income, but still having to care for his girlfriend and daughter. When I pointed this out to him, he asked my advice.
I told him that he was biting off much more than he could chew by contemplating moving his girlfriend and daughter in with him on their own. Since he (and she) made the choice to engage in activity that resulted in the creation of another life, his priorities had to change. Her priorities needed to change as well. I advised him to stop drinking because his daughter was counting on him to be a role-model for her. His behavior today will determine the man she will someday bring home.
My friend has put himself in a bad spot, and has condemned both his girlfriend and daughter to a life where they will struggle to achieve in life. Their spot isn’t hopeless, but they need to be careful.
As for everybody else, I understand that when you are “making babies”, your mind is usually occupied on things other than thinking of the financial impact of your actions. This means that you need to think of the realities of life before engaging in risky sexual acts. As far as housing expenses, no more than 30% of your income should be dedicated to housing. Remember, in addition to rent, you have utilities, insurance, food, clothing, and many other expenses, some that you won’t foresee ahead of time. Of course, if you ignore prudent thought and planning, the only thing you can do about it is to man up, put aside your own dreams and desires and do what is right for the life you have created.
Just a note on the term, “man up”. Since my friend is a male, the term is accurate. If my friend were female, I suppose my advice would be to “woman-up”. What I’m saying is that I’m not making a gender-based comment, but the subject of my comment fits into one gender. So don’t send me emails about the sexism in using only male terms. Believe me, I’m not against calling out my female friends when they do something that reflects poorly on their gender.