In defence of the family and raising children.

It’s an interesting feature of my existence that lots of people around me don’t want children. I didn’t used to want to either, until my world view changed. I used to look at humanity through a deeply negative lens. I saw us, as a species, as something akin to a virus destroying the planet in our greed and gluttony. I saw at the root of this a problem with overpopulation. I assumed that population levels would never stabilise, but would keep growing exponentially until resources were so thinly available that inequality between rich and poor would be at disastrous levels. Who would want to bring a child into that world. Who would want to bring a child into this world currently, with its instability and violence?

Essentially my dismal outlook on child raising was based on negative assumptions about the current and future state of the human race. It was all predicated on scenarios that I won’t live to test the truth of. My outlook on our current state of affairs failed to take history into perspective and to recognise that humans in far worse conditions than I have ever and will ever experience, strove against the odds to pull humanity from the gutter into what is now a breezy life in comparison. I couldn’t wait to point out all the negativity, and assumed future negativity, about life and use it as a justification not to bring a child into the world, but I never stopped to look at the good in life. To see a beautiful mountain, eat a delicious meal, laugh with a lifelong friend for hours at things no one else finds funny, to feel affection for another human being, to hear a piece of magisterial music, to know that no matter what happens in your life your mother and father unconditionally love you.

When I stopped to consider that last point, that made me realise that the greatest part of my life has been my family and their support and if it is possible to create unconditional love through the bonds of the family, then bringing a child into the world into a stable family is potentially the best thing I could ever do. There’s something inherently nihilistic and destructive about some arguments against raising a child and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that at a time when all western ideals and the structure of education, law, family and nation are under siege in the mainstream of political discourse that we are starting to see more antipathy towards the very idea of passing on your genetic material and a breakdown in western families.

There is something extreme about seeing a global problem such as over-population, or environmental issues and not trying to address these problems in a constructive manner or even critique whether they are the concrete problems people believe them to be, instead opting straight away for a destructive personal stance that could have far reaching effects on your own personal happiness. It seems a lot to stake on a presumption.

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