I donít have any kids
and donít anticipate having any at this point. In the deep recesses of my
soul, I knew I didnít have the nurturing
spirit and the energy that a child needs. Iíd probably do better at it now
than I would have when I was younger but when I see how frustrated I get when my
cat is needy I donít think I have it in me to be a good parent. Not everyone
is cut out to be parents and I think that is something that few people think
about. There is the pressure to continue the line and I think fear is a small
motivator in that if you have children there is someone to take care of you in
your old age (certainly more so in other countries without retirement plans). I
also think it is sort of expected that if you are married you will have
children. Thank goodness there are choices on this issue today.
About 15 years ago, my
grandmother told me that I was a disappointment
to her because I am the oldest of her grandchildren and I didnít have any
children. It was one of her life goals to live long enough to see her great
grandchildren. She had to wait for
the youngest grandchild to do it. Out of 5 of us, he is the only one with kids.
My brother and I are neither married or have kids. Out of my cousins, one
hasnít been able to have kids and the other was diabetic and couldnít have
kids. So my grandmother waited a long time. I was hurt by that statement at the
time, but I realized that perhaps her life goal shouldnít have relied on the
cooperation of other people since she is powerless over people, places, and
things. I am not responsible for her life goals.
There are times when I
feel some small regret that I did not have the experience of children. There are
other times when I see the pain children inflict and Iím glad I donít have
any. I am also glad that I did not pass on the dysfunction and rage that was
given to me and that was a primary goal. I was afraid I would act like my father
and hurt them the way I was hurt. It has stopped with me and so far it has
stopped with my brother.
Since life is full of uncertainties,
there is no guarantee that if I had children that they would continue the line.
Nor is there any certainty that they would be around or willing to take care of
me when I am old so those werenít that strong a motivation for me.
I also see a bigger
picture around this issue. There are 6 billion people in this world and the
population continues to grow by leaps and bounds. There have been 5 extinctions
in the history of the Earth and we are in the sixth extinction
now because the habitats of other animals are being taken over by humans.
We want the animals to survive but not enough to control our population. Population control means there would be some hard choices
that go against many deeply held beliefs about and around children. Children are
the life blood and we will not continue as a species without them. However, if
our population grows too much and we are too cramped, then what? Can the Earth
support 6+ billion people? 10 billion? and on and on and on. I do not have a
good feeling about this. I am someone who likes open spaces and not being too
cramped. Is this a choice that will disappear? I donít know.
Time will tell.
Not an upbeat ending, but
not everything in life is upbeat. I guess for me the thing that gives me
comfort, being a geologist, is that life has survived the extinctions and
blossomed again. Itís different (e.g., the world of mammals when the dinosaurs
were destroyed by the meteorite at the end of the Cretaceous) when it blossoms,
but I believe life will continue on this planet. Whether we are around to see it
or not is a good question, but life is tenacious and persistent and seems to
survive under the most amazing conditions and that gives me a sense of hope. The
Earth has seen much change and those changes have been extreme. Short of the
Earth completely exploding apart, I think life will renew itself as long as
their is an atmosphere to protect it. The universe is an amazing thing.
Love and peace,