I read with interest Kathy Shaidle’s post here at PJ Lifestyle called “I Kid You Not: Top Four Reasons I Don’t Have Children.”
She mentions a couple of reasons such as bad personal experiences whereby you might end up ruining your kid’s life and bad genetics and other reasons such as your temperament and pop culture. Okay, the latter two, especially the former, I understand. You don’t have the temperament for children. Okay, fair enough, but as for ruining your kid’s life, why does it have to be that way? If you had a bad childhood, doesn’t it make sense to have children so that you can give them a better life than you had? As for genetics, don’t we all know people who don’t seem that great who have kids who are fine, or at least okay? Even people who are depressed don’t necessarily have kids who are depressed. And if they are? Get them treatment, just as you would for diabetes or other ailments. Apparently, comedian Sarah Silverman does not want kids because they might have mental illness which runs in her family. Human beings have problems – do you have to be perfect to be born? I hope not because we would all be goners.
Kids can be amazing. Those of us with offspring know that though raising kids can be the most frustrating of experiences, it can also be the most rewarding. Kids can show you a side of yourself that you never knew existed. How many times did you think some habit or trait in yourself was because of your childhood, only to find out that your child had the same trait or habit even though they were raised totally differently than you? How many times has your child said something and made you see the world a different way and made you re-examine yourself in a way that is fascinating or reflective?
Kids are fun! Are kids sometimes drudgery and work? Well, yes. But they are also fun. Ms. Shaidle says kids are are “poor conversationalists” and “their jokes aren’t funny.” In other words, they aren’t fun to be around and are dull. But so are some adults. Kids are just people, some of them are really neat and fascinating to talk with and observe. Even psychologist Jean Piaget found his kids so fascinating that he studied them for his life’s work. How boring can they all be?
Kids give you a chance to see someone develop and grow in ways you never thought possible and give you the chance to do the same. They go from being babies who need constant care to capable adults who make their own way in the world (if you are lucky). They teach you how to care for someone fragile and how to let go of someone competent. That is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself.
Finally, kids, as they get older, do become good conversationalists for the most part and are good companions as one gets older, if you are lucky. It may not always happen, but it often does.
I believe that everyone should make their own choices regarding parenthood, and their choice should be respected. Parenthood is not for everyone, just as certain people do not wish to be in a long-term relationship. I get that. Everyone should pusue their own version of life, liberty and happiness. But to give up the gift of being a parent because one is afraid that a child will be too short or because you fear the child will be depressed or you, as a parent, might be trapped with a bad conversationalist is to give up a precious gift that might just be the best thing that ever happened to you. Though in life, there are no guarantees, children are often worth the gamble.