172. Is it OK to Have Children in a World full of Violence and War?

And over-population. And climate disaster looming. And pesticides in the milk. And …

That old question … I feel strange watching the world’s news while raising my newborn son. What kind of world has he come into?

He came without planning. We had long given up fertility treatments. They didn’t work. The doctors gave us 7 per cent chance per year if we had sex regularly. Which we didn’t.

So in a way he chose us, because the odds were so low as to feel next to impossible. And in a way we still chose him, because we had a theoretical chance and didn’t use protection.

Either way it is a good question, unless you try to deconstruct it.

There is a certain cynicism in it, too, which you have to be aware of. After all, maybe Jay is the next Einstein – or just the next community worker, who will help the rest deal with all the bad stuff. Is it really a solution to the world’s problems to stop having children? To minimize the suffering of the children, as one could argue, by preventing them from experiencing this world?

That is a philosophical question, too, and some would argue that almost any existence is better than none.

But I won’t go there. That is too high brow. Also I won’t bother anymore with the arguments for and against having children, of which some are sound and some less so.

It happened. That is a fact. And now we will make the best of it.

And that is another terrible challenge, because the world is far from perfect – although certainly better than 800 years ago, counting a lot of variables. (Like not getting hanged for stealing bread or something.)

They also had children during the Plague, during World War II, during the Cold War. And our future is dependent on children, in more ways than one. Not just due to numbers. As already mentioned, we have plenty of children.

But maybe, as I also mentioned, because our hope is embodied in the children. Some of them will suffer for our mistakes, but others may grow up to turn them around – for the benefit of all. Hasn’t that always happened?

That is a good perspective. The best for now. The only thing I have to add is that it is my duty – and Char’s – to prepare Jay for this particular future with all we can.

Whether or not he becomes the next Einstein or just wants a regular good life. In both cases we need to explain wars, famine and Donald Trump to him. Just as we need to explain sickness, injustice and death.

Down the line …

And in a way that empowers him. Nothing under the rug. Nothing twisted or covered up.

Truth, but not too much, not too quickly, and in a way he can understand, and with some tools – some advice – on how to live with that truth.

I have absolutely no idea how we are going to go about it, but I know that we have to do it. It is the primary function of parents:

Make your children strong.

Share