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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Babies are Good

I think sexual education in this country has backfired, and I think our culture is out of balance.

People like sex, and I don't think any amount of education is going to change that. Most of the sex ed classes talk about having one partner, and if not, practicing very safe sex habits. Here in the South, they will also throw in that it's a really good idea to pick one lady, marry her, and then get after it. However, in every sexual education, tv program or whatever I've heard, there was one subtle reason why you shouldn't have sex. Babies.

Babies will ruin your life. Your life is over after you have babies. You will not go to college. You won't get a good job. I even heard one show tell you that after you have babies you no longer have any friends.

As I look around, especially living in a college town, I am beginning to think that babies are bad is the only thing that people take away from sex ed in school. Rarely is the advice of abstinence heeded, and maybe someone listened carefully about safe sex practices, but it's not done in a relationship, it's to avoid getting all the women one is after pregnant. It is interesting to see the reactions my wife and I get as we move around the campus, or anywhere else there is a large group of "college kids." My wife and I can empty the apartment complex's pool in 10 minutes by showing up with our son to swim. It starts all of a sudden when we walk in, everyone hushes. Then, we get in the pool, and they'll start talking quietly. Then one by one, they'll give some excuse of somewhere they have to be or something they have to do, and exit as fast as possible. I guess baby disease is something that can be spread by the community water of a pool.

My life certainly didn't end with Eli's birth. I will be completing my degree in December, no worse the wear for having a child. Believe it or not, we still have friends! Friends around our age, too, even if they are like us and are young couples who have children. Corey and I still get to go on dates. I think the biggest thing is, that instead of Eli feeling like a burden when he's around, it feels like something is missing when he is not.

I hope to have all the children we are going to have by the time i'm thirty. People I guess wait until everything is perfect to have a baby, if they want a baby at all. Babies come when they come, and I think having one makes you ready. You rise to the challenge. Babies are good.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Hi David,

I've got mixed reactions to your post. You wrote:

there was one subtle reason why you shouldn't have sex. Babies.

Well, you know, I think that is, and should be, the best lesson to take away from sex ed. I don't mean that "babies are bad." I mean that an accidental pregnancy is a major problem, because not only are you potentially hurting yourself and your partner, the poor baby might be harmed pretty badly too if the parents are ill-prepared for parenthood, or just don't care, or if they choose to abort the child.

I think having a baby very well can ruin your life. Note the emphasis on "can," not "will." But, more importantly, having a baby can ruin the BABY's life! As soon as you give birth, YOU are completely responsible for another life, and many people aren't ready, or just refuse, to accept that.

I don't know your history, but it sounds like you've been blessed with a wonderful child, one that you shower with love and affection. This is exactly what parenthood should be about.

Now on to your comment that "babies come when they come, and having one makes you ready." I hear that and I cringe, because that is exactly the manner in which babies can ruin your life. I find this similar to the belief that if a couple is having marital difficulties, they should have a baby to improve their relationship, which is the most twisted thing I've ever heard. I could not disagree more with the thought that having one makes you ready. While I agree with you 100% that if you wait for the "perfect" time, that will never come -- you're right, there's never a PERFECT time. But if you're not actually prepared to be a good parent, becoming pregnant is not going to make you a good parent. It's just going to result in a harmed baby, one raised without the love and care it deserves. You say having a baby causes you to rise to the challenge. I think you're right, but only when the person is already ready to be a parent. Someone who isn't ready is not going to rise to the challenge.

You spoke of your interesting pool experience. I'm not really surprised at all that the college kids find reasons to leave. Let me give you my and my wife's view. Neither of us want kids. Ever. My life is exactly the way I want it, and yes, having a kid would ruin the way I want to live the rest of my life. I don't want the responsibility of raising another human being, and I'm not willing to spend the time to do that job the way it deserves to be done. However, I have no problem whatsoever with kids. In a pool situation like you described, if the parents do a good job controlling their kids, the kids can still have fun and the adults can still have fun in the pool. I would not leave in that situation. When the parents are a poor excuse for caregivers, letting their kids run wildly around, screaming, that's a problem to me because it shows me that these parents are not spending the time and effort to raise their children correctly. In that case, I'd leave too.

In terms of college kids, they're out there having fun. For the most part, they want to hang around with others their age, not kids. So I think it makes perfect sense for them to leave. I don't think it's right or wrong -- it's not a moral or ethical question -- just a certain person's response to the situation.

Thanks, as always, for the thought-provoking post, David!