A couple of parents in Sweden have decided to fight the “social construct” of gender by keeping the biological sex of their two and a half year-old offspring a secret.
December 10, 2007 • 6:16 pm 8
As a rule I don’t forward or post the copious forwards I find in my in-box on a daily basis. However, I received one today that struck me for a number of reasons and I thought that I would share it.
Christine and I are already trying to plan for the children we hope to have in a couple of years. And I see more and more of my friends becoming parents and facing the inevitable responsibilities that the job brings. So I want to invite those with children to read the essay below and chime in. Is worrying the biggest part of parenting? How do worries change as children age. Have your worries intensified or lessened? How do you cope? Any feedback is welcomed.
Is there a magic cutoff period when offspring become accountable for their own actions? Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, “It’s their life,” and feel nothing?
When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my daughter’s head. I asked, “When do you stop worrying?” The nurse said, “When they get out of the accident stage.” My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a career making license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher said, “Don’t worry, they all go through this stage and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy them.” My dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open. A friend said, “They’re trying to find themselves. Don’t worry, In a few years, you can stop worrying. They’ll be adults.” My dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it. MyDad just smiled faintly and said nothing. I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments.
My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my dad’s warm smile and his occasional, “You look pale. Are you alright? Call me the minute you get home. Are you depressed about something?”
Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?
One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me, “Where were you? I’ve been calling for 3 days, and no one answered I was worried.” I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed.
October 23, 2007 • 9:30 am 12
Monday night in my Child Welfare class we had a guest lecturer; a lawyer who specializes in child protection. She gave an informative (yet disturbing) presentation on how the law works (or doesn’t) to protect children. After telling us about a teen-aged girl who was impregnated by her father and a crack whore who had 4 children born by 4 different men (all 4 kids born addicted), she made the following statement:
“I am the biggest libertarian you will ever meet. But after 11 years of handling abuse cases I have come to believe that some people should not reproduce, and I believe that these people should be prevented from doing so.”
I think that she was speaking (mostly) in jest. Her comment has been eating away at me since she said it. Truth be told, some of the biggest challenges to my faith are some of the people that God allows to reproduce. Everybody knows that the environment that children grow up in has a profound effect on the adults they turn out to be. So why does God allow sterility/infertility in responsible, productive people who could provide stable, nurturing homes while people who couldn’t care for a goldfish manage to reproduce like rabbits? I am not being elitist; I don’t believe that a person needs to be educated and/or wealthy to be a good parent. But we all know that criminals and damaged people don’t come out of a vacuum. And often (but not always) their parents played a part in who they turned out to be.
I realize that sometimes these things turn out for the good. A year ago two dear friends of mine adopted a baby from a teen-aged mother; a happy ending born from two bad situations (an unwanted pregnancy for the birth mother, the inability to conceive children for the couple). But it seems that these good outcomes are exceptions. Or maybe I’m just feeling cynical.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but this stuff weighs terribly on me sometimes. I am sharing it because, as I have said before, blogging is my substitute for therapy. A couple of questions for believers: What do you see in the world that challenges your faith? What do you do when your faith is challenged like this?