Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's not just the child who suffers

A friend of mine just emailed me from Beijing with details on his baby who was born a couple of hours ago.  Another friend of mine, also Chinese, has a son three weeks old.  Both of these guys have always been responsible so their lives aren’t going to change.
But mine did when my daughter arrived 22 years ago.  All of a sudden, I was really responsible for the life of another human being.  It changed the way I looked at everything.  I would drive around Los Angeles with her to get her to go to sleep. I had everything safety proofed.   She became the one person who I would always love unconditionally.  She made me a better person.
I taught at a university where many students were brought up by single mothers.  One 21 year old woman broke into tears one day in my office, saying “He left before I was born; what’s wrong with me.”
It wasn’t just her life that had been adversely affected; the man who could have been a stronger person evaded his responsibility and never grew up.
Of course, some people, grow up fine, and act responsibly throughout their lives.  But for those who consistently run from responsibility, taking on the rearing of a child can help him learn to face up to his own shortcomings.  But for so many that first step is too hard to take and a child suffers.
Two human beings have their lives diminished, with one always wondering “what is wrong with me?” 

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