I have literally *never* wanted children. I told my mother for the first time when I was 15. I’m about to turn 43. Still don’t want 'em. I like children, I’m great with them, but I don’t want …
I get this big time. I knew as early as I can recall that I wanted to live alone. Just because we have the equipment doesn’t mean we should have kids…I don’t possess the psychological wherewithal to deal with them. I cringe if someone tries to shove an infant into my arms. It’s how I’m wired. But you put me with animals? I’m home. I have a superb gift with them, not all, but many.
We have important decisions to make about the pressure population has on the world. And to your point the greatest journey is ultimately self realization. That is hard, slogging work and in the longest run the most important work we will ever do. While too many young people are “out-epicing” each other in a wholesale effort to matter or impress, they’re missing the point. Confidence comes from knowing yourself through trial, pain, loss, error, failure, effort, self study. We are not defined by our children, either, but by the content of our character, and the sacrifices we are willing to make for others. Too many people punch out units and spend a fortune dressing them in designer duds to trot them out like baubles and arm candy. The real work is investing the time and energy into developing those kids into responsible, competent people. My dad, like yours, was a controller, an alcoholic as well and a verbal abuser. But he put the hard work into teaching me how to work, appreciate the value of money, and a great many more things I will write about this June for Father’s Day. I owe him a lot. But when I began to demonstrate the very independence he had taught me, he got furious. I didn’t want the armed truce that was my parent’s marriage. Not my path. What I read in your words is that you carved out a life that works for you outside the boundaries of conventional expectations. Why not? As long as people aren’t being hurt, why is this an issue? People stayed together for half a century or more in the past because it better ensured their survival, not necessarily their happiness, in an agrarian economy. In a very different world, it makes sense to ask what works, and whether any of us is fit or mature enough to have kids. The more I read stories about a child drowning in the bathtub because Mom was playing a game on Facebook the more I’m convinced of our collective ineptitude. A kid is at least a twenty year commitment. Can’t hack it? Don’t have them. Once an infant is born, that child has the right to expect committed parenting, not to be treated like a device to be turned off and on as convenient…which is what I see everywhere with mums addicting their tots to iPhones because (and this is my opinion only ) they can’t be bothered to interact, build communication skills and provide the critical fundamental nuturing that ensures proper development. It’s hard work being a parent. Which is why so very many are failing at it.
Nobody is a perfect parent. We can all complain about our folks’ failings. Most of the time if we are willing to be truthful, those failings were part of what makes us strong. However my beef is with those who breed indiscriminately, and aren’t willing or capable of putting in the kid time that all children need to thrive. My folks were flawed but they put in the time, and for that I’ m eternally grateful. Just as those kids with whom you choose to spend time are grateful for what you give them.