Monday, October 24, 2011

Development


I don't think most of the people I know of my generation feel this way but this is a strong sentiment that I have. I don't want kids. I decided this when I was 24. I would tell my parents somewhat solely for the drama (I was often an awful child). It's something I still believe.

This makes utter sense to me. There are personal reasons. I do love kids and am good with them, don't get me wrong. I'm a teacher which can work great for being a father, but also, you're stuck with kids for your professional day and having to deal with them again at home would be something. Teaching can take up your life to the point where you would have to choose between the two roles. I love adventures (and still do) and the idea of being tied down is not one that is appealing. This is all logical, at least to me.

My parent's want grandparents and it definitely is upsetting to hear this argument. However, the backdrop of our conversation would revolve around what is happening with the world. What I at least think and hopefully don't say fully to my parents is that I think things are pretty runied in this world and their generation did a lot of this ruining. It feels that the world they are still running and have left us with is one where people behave like there are no limits; that they can do or have whatever they want. There's a recklessness that's just so common place, and so much energy invested in things that just don't matter or that are bad for most of us. Theres not that much that they've left us to hold onto.

To those boomers, I say that I don't want to bring a kid into a world where you have to go to a college that is atrociously expensive but the degree barely get's you a job despite the fact that you're  probably stuck with massive debt after having gone there; where you can fairly easily have decades of war that are so removed from our consciousness that people don't seem to have awareness that they are even happening or that they can be started so easily. I don't want my kids to come into a world where they are so disconnected from people outside of their income or ethnic group, where the middle class is pretty much gone. Where the majority of their communication might be through texting, tweeting, or XBox live (or have their parents do too much of the previous... silly British). I don't want my kids to continually be afraid of just about everything.

As a parent, I would be told I should be concerned and/ aware of jungle gyms, meth, mercury, diabetes, lack of exercise, too much exercise, cyber bullying, TV, porn, not enough porn, people of different colors, swimming pools, power tools, dodge ball, predatory teachers or bus drivers, public transportation, urea and really just everything. One is very likely to not feel any level of comfort interacting with anything novel because it's probably scary and really might hurt you in some way and you can't afford that kind of risk.

Let's not forget about that little bit of global climate change looming over us where my kids will see more and more of our world become uninhabitable and see potentially billions of people being displaced due to physically not having their space. It might not even be the climate that kills us, but our fear and anticpation about what's to come that drives us into various maladaptive behaviors that are just terrible.

I don't want to be a dad when what's considered being a good dad is to sign your kid up for as much "stuff" as you can so that you can prevent them from having any semblance of free time where they would probably watch tv and play an Xbox of some sort or do cocaine or something. You have to have enough income for piano, karate, basketball and ballet lessons and the income to hire  someone to take the from points A - E, but in order to do this you barely get to have any quality time with them or even begin to think of letting them have a sense of initiative in directing their own play and activities (again that would be absorbed too much by HBO, Facebook and Wii if kids are left to their own whims).

The world is dangerous and we should be hypersensitive about our kid's well being and they should be continously vigilant too, even though crime might be down a lot from when I was probably a kid. They might not actually get to live that much but the world might be dangerous and we have to be vigilant!

I'll probably be lax with structure as things are confusing and complicated now. I want the best for my kids and will give it to them. I just have to make sure they have everything that they need and there are many things they need. They need a cell phone, they need the latest one otherwise it might not work well enough for what they need. They need friends. We can let them drink and go party as that's just being kids which is what we want them to be and we don't want them to not have friends. We also will underestimate how much that they drink or let  them drink with us. They do that in Europe and that way we're in control.  Lessons don't have to be learned and consequences don't really need to be experienced, we can always swoop in and make sure that they aren't going to feel anything too bad.  That'd be bad. The outdoors are dangerous and so are times where we can't be in touch with our kids and can't make sure that they are doing well. Kids know what's generally best for them and so it's important to provide them with things and stuff for them to live their lives.

Alright... so apologies for them terrible offensiveness. My parents were actually good, in many more ways than I can begin to appreciate. I was a tough little nugget too. I don't like what's happened with our world and I do attribute significant amounts of problems to the Boomers. I don't like the general culture of parenthood that exists today, but again, what do I know. I don't actually know that much on this topic and some of this  is based off of episodes of South Park. However, I think there is some truth to this. It's a direct fault or flaw with, but there are just so many competing extraneous forces to parenthood in our society right now. A mother/ fathers message is just not as salient when having to compete with Spongebob Square Pants and all the marketing, media, Call of Duty 3 hullabalooo. Also, these institutations that have emerged, often not with malice or bad intent have become so large. Large to the point where they are bigger then a group of actual individuals. Finally, my dad can remember a time when the world's population was 3 billions. Thats wildin. Again, it's seven again. I think this has implications for beyond what I, the boomers, Obama (or Romney) or most of us can begin to comprehend. The way society functioned for our parents in the 3-4 billion person world might not work now that the population has doubled. .
This is sad though in a couple of ways and the idea of being grandchildless saddens my parents. I'm encroaching on my 30's and notice myself unwittingly thinking about what I say or do if I were a dad. "My kids would be outside X hours a day and have hiked 10 of the 4000 footers in the White Mountains (I just thought of that) by age 7". I'd be sick at helping them with their homework, definitely without doing so for them (I'd totally let them take an F if thats what they deserved). I'd be pumped about setting up experiences in which they could figure things out for themselves. I'd let them watch TV but maybe break it subtly at some point and let them try to fix it themselves if they really wanted it or they'd have to go outside. I would make sure they could change the oil in my car (as I'm bad at it actually) and read to younger kids once they were in 2nd or 3rd grade. I'd praise them, but specifically, realistically and without forcing it (the fact that I linked it I think really forced it however). I'd give them plenty of attention, but in many ways without them knowing (not by stalking or facebook stalking, but kind of knowing what's up and caring, but outwardly lookling like I'm reading the boston globe). They'd know how to read a topo map no doubt and also identify the local species of amphibians and other fauna. We'd build a terarrium at some point and maybe have a rock and mineral collection (Mrs. Baum rocked that pretty good). Living would ensue, an awareness of the world around them would guide them (not a fear/ anxiety) and they'd be good.  I would certainly be frightened, confused and be terrible at points and as a 20 year old am talking like I know everything which is what I'm told 20 years old often do. Anyways, I digress...

 As an educator, a friend, kind of an uncle, a neighbor and community member I can do a lot of these things already (not as in depth) and do so in a way without having so much of my energy and time strapped up with the responsibility of fatherhood. I can involve myself in these endeavors in ways that fix the problems that are already out there that desperately need addressing without adding another body to our 7 billion word planet that is already stretched thing.

 I've liked the things I've read that have all types of new ideas and solutions to our problems that I couldn't even begin to imagine. I can take faith in realizing how minute my view is and how utterly incomplete it is. I'm wrong about so much and what I don't know is disgutingly huge. This is nice in the end and very likely one or some of the many things I don't even begin to know about will save our dysfunctional world. Still though, I don't like how the world is going right now to the point where I don't want to bring a child into it and thats a bit sad.

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