Dooce on kids

(see below update)

Is it narcissistic that this (all the god-talk aside) is the best reason I can think of to raise a kid?

Of course, we have no idea, and such is the risk and adventure of parenthood. But these risks and these sacrifices, I think, are a fundamental component of this unique experience that has given me more insight and understanding into other human beings than any other of my life. And all of this is to say thank God we chose to have children. Thank God for those endless, sleepless nights. Because I now know what I know. Because raising Leta more than anything else in my life has helped me piece together the puzzle of what it means to be human. I understand my own childhood so much better, understand my own parents so much better, and there is so much about myself that I have tried to improve that I didn’t know I needed to improve until I was reduced to a late night pair of pacing legs.

So much more makes sense now, and I don’t know if there is any other way I could have gained this type of insight into life. And I think this is what a lot of us are talking about when we say it feels like we were let into a secret club, a club we didn’t know existed until we got here, like we had no idea there was this much to know until our children showed it all to us.

Note that I did not say have a kid.  I’ve got no particular attachment to seeing my genes passed on (sorry, Mom and Dad – plus, I’m sure The Other One will reproduce), nor do I feel like adding to the sum total of people in this crowded world is a good idea, nor do I feel like children are property.  But I think Heather Armstrong makes a strong argument here for having children in one’s life in some capacity, and I can’t think of a reason to rule out raising a kid at some point.

UPDATE:  bz writes in to note the following:

It’s true. Raising children helps you understand humans a little bit more. I’m glad I got it all out of the way with cousins and my sister. Because when their unbounded imaginations and brains begin to be hampered by society and school no matter what you do to try to show them ways to escape, move above, not be hemmed in, you taste the purest terror. When you watch their portal (your portal, by observation) dwindle to a star-fine point that you cannot imagine them using as a door—it’s heart shaking failure. Even with the kids I only taught, it’s a horrible process to watch. When it’s someone you value more than your own life, there are no words. Even knowing that everybody has lost some of themselves to join society, you worry that the important bits of them, the bits that make them who they are, will be lost.

I agree.

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