It used to be expected that teenagers would have children. Charlemagne’s third wife, Hildegard, was 14 when she had her first baby. Then she had eight more. She died in her 20’s.
Today there’s a stigma associated with teen pregnancy for good and obvious reasons. But if I can be so bold as to offer one negative side-effect to this–being male and without children–it’s that people today don’t grow up as fast as they used to. My parent-friends tell me that there’s nothing like having your first child to make you grow up in a hurry.
Hildegard, for all her suffering and indignity, was a f****** grown-up.
Now, before you write me a nasty e-mail please note that I don’t think we should encourage teen pregnancy. That said, we should encourage teenagers to have something.
Amanda Palmer–who has a cult-like following as lead singer of The Dresden Dolls–recently said that when she was in her mid-twenties her band threatened to drop her from their tour if she didn’t stop wasting time drinking, smoking, and partying. It was then that she got serious about her craft, working really, really hard at it. Palmer became a grown-up, though she didn’t have her first baby until she was 38.
You could grow up too, taking seriously whatever you’re pursuing right now.