My Encounter with a Teen Dad
10 Jun, 2019
Today, I want to share with you a story that inspired me. This encounter energized me and reminded me that even the most unexpected occurrence in life can bring out the best in us. The unplanned shows us what we are truly made of, from a stressful situation on the job to the loss of what we once thought our future might (or should) hold. This is the story of the encounter I had with a teen dad who was turning his life around for his child.
I was working at a Your Options Medical pregnancy center and had just finished meeting with a patient taking parenting classes. I offered to wait with her on the curb while she waited for her ride. A young man was passing by when my patient stopped him to say hello and introduce me. She then says, “Tell her what you did at school today! It was AMAZING!”
He nervously laughs and shoves his hands in his pockets avoiding all eye contact. He cheeks slowly turn red as he begins to share what happened at school that day…
So, today we had an organization come in and give a talk about safe sex. They didn’t say anything about waiting to have sex, just having sex without getting STDs or getting pregnant. The facilitator had brought in a girl who had gotten pregnant in high school. She goes on to tell her story and how this unexpected pregnancy changed and ruined her life. She missed out on partying and “normal” teen activities, because she was pregnant and then had a child to take care of.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked to the stage and asked for a mic, not expecting anyone to respond. Funny enough, they gave me one! So then I told MY story! I told my school how I was a senior in high school and a father – a teenage dad. I explained that of course this situation is not ideal, but having a baby unexpectedly doesn’t have to ruin your life. In fact, once my son was born I realized how horribly I was living. I got a job. I stopped partying, drinking and doing experimental drugs. I rid my life of people who would point me in the wrong direction. I struggled with depression and suicide before I became a dad. I had a horrible home life growing up with a really messed up family. My son is the reason I turned my life around. I realized I wanted to be the man he needed as a dad. I wanted my son to grow up knowing he is loved and cared for. I didn’t have my dad, I was not going to let me son grow up the way I did.
Now, I’ll be graduating high school on time, and I have a good job. I was offered a great scholarship to a school in Florida. My relative offered to let me stay with them during school, and they would help with my expenses. So, I’ve made plans to move to Florida for two years so I can save up some money, get an education to get a better job and then move back here to be with my son. This isn’t the best way to become a parent, but you have to know that the unexpected turns in life don’t have to ruin you, they can make your life better.
I fought tears. I wanted to hug this young man! I encouraged him for standing up and sharing his story in a respectful way. I thanked him for changing for his child. We spoke for a few minutes more – I was not letting him leave without offering him support and encouragement. We parted ways, and I prayed. I prayed for him that God would get a hold of his life.
That was almost three years ago now. I still wonder where this young man is, and I pray he is following God. I have never seen him since that encounter where he poured out his life story to me, but I hope something I said stuck with him. I hope something he shared in his school encouraged his classmates to know that sometimes the unexpected is exactly what we need to get our lives on the right track.
Marissa, Center Director
Your Options Medical