1. I need to be a father someday.

Ben Shapiro is the newest of my friends to join the parenthood club. I’m so thrilled for him and his wife. They’re going to love that little girl so much and just create the most extraordinary human being.

For most of my life I was agnostic on the parenthood question — it was largely a reflection of an agnosticism about, well, everything. A child was such a permanent decision, a no-going-back choice in which one decided that another’s life would come before your own.

What changed? What caused the light switch to flip over from the wobbly, maybe-kids-some-day, to YES, I have a responsibility and a need to become a parent? Finding the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was only step one. There was another big change that had to happen:

I don’t hate myself anymore.

I think that’s what was really at the heart of not wanting to have children. People who see themselves as a broken ball of neuroses don’t want to compound their misery by spawning miniature versions of themselves who will likely be even worse than they are.

But now I know better than on January 29, 2004 when I was a postmodern progressive undergraduate writing columns praising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. I know that there’s no reason to ever hate yourself because we’re all capable of transforming ourselves. We’re not hardwired or stuck with anything about ourselves. All problems have their solutions and we can become happier, more productive, better people if that is what we choose.

I want to raise sons and daughters someday who can know that from the beginning — that they are smart enough and strong enough to solve any problem they encounter themselves and they do not need to vote for some emotion-manipulating demagogue to pass a program like Obamacare so they can be free.

I wish I’d seen this classic Disney cartoon “Chicken Little” over and over again as a kid instead of ninja turtle toy commercials disguised as entertainment. I wasted so much of my 20s dealing with one fox after another: