on Parenthood

For a few days we had early signs there was potential that we might be having a kid. This is a subject I have always had mixed emotions about.

On the one hand, there is part of me that really wants kids. That is the part of me who had a great relationship with 3 of my Grandparents, with both parents, with both parents of several of my friends. I have seen what a great parent-child relationship is and want to experience the parent side of it. I want to see that kid develop and grow, to have and fulfill promise.

On the other hand, there is part of me that really does not want kids. That is the part of me who fears failure. And there is so much potential for failure.

First and foremost, I am on record as believing that God exists, He shows His will in Scripture, and therefore both heaven and hell exist. I would rather have no children than have a child who ended up in hell. Am I the type of person who can guide a child through the trials, pitfalls, and questions that arise in such a way they will understand the importance of studying, understanding and believing?  Even more troubling, can I be the example I should be? Can I lead them in paths of righteousness? Or are my faults and failures likely to lead to a weak faith or, worse yet, no faith at all?

I cannot overemphasize how important this consideration is to me. If there is a God, if there is a hell, what justification could I give for failing to keep my child out of it? And I find all three questions rhetorical; yes there is, yes there is, and none. Yet I see my flaws all too clearly and fear that I am not the person who can be who I must be as an example to my children. After all, I am aware of my failings towards my wife; I am not as caring, compassionate or considerate towards her as I ought to be. I catch myself reacting with irritation when she deserves nothing of the sort. I am not who I wish to be…and that is towards someone I love already and have with me. What indication do I have I would be any less of a failure in this regard towards any child I might have?

That is a heavy and frightening responsibility. It weighs heavily on my mind even having had no children. I think about it often. You have no idea how often I think about it. Whenever I see my nephew and niece, when I see my cousin’s kids, when I see my Dad, when I think about the future, when I see random kids either behaving super well or extremely poorly, at random hours of the day and night. And I worry about it.

Second, I do not know if I have the patience and gentleness to raise a good-spirited child. I would want my children to care for and about other people, to be willing and frequent helpers of them, get along with people and enjoy their company. I want those kids who are the traditional “good Boy Scouts” or “good Girl Scouts” that are respectful to their elders, friendly with their peers, always friendly and happy…I want them to be good-tempered. That does not happen by chance. It takes good parenting. I do not know I have the knowledge and patience to produce that.

Third, I want them to be well rounded. I don’t want my kids to fall into that trap of thinking school is a hateful place. I want them to love learning. I want them to develop the skill of playing a musical instrument, to learn to love reading, to understand science, math, history and so forth. I want them to know how to behave in polite company and hold intelligent conversations, but not be the stuffed collar who sniffs disdainfully when the peasantry belches forth an “ain’t”.

Fourth, I want them to not face some of the battles I have always faced such as weight. I want them to learn to engage in physical activity early; running, biking, sports. Not the fake sports being taught now where “participating is winning” but actual sports where people compete hard but fair and learn to win and lose. It is okay to lose sometimes. It is okay to win sometimes. It is not okay to learn winning and losing are bad, it is that idea that competition is somehow intrinsically bad that is itself wrong.

Fifth, I want to make sure my nutritional choices are not passed on. I want them to learn to enjoy vegetables and fruits, to understand a balanced diet and measure their caloric intake against expenditures.

In short, I want a well rounded child who is happy, healthy, intelligent, active, capable in a variety of forums and ready to make their own way. But what I am able to produce; that is probably something else entirely. And it is that disparity that has me questioning whether I could ever justify being a parent.

I want very much to have kids and share a relationship with them like I have been blessed to have with my parents. And, for that matter, to share that with my wife. Yet being me I have that nagging fear in the back of my head that is not who I would be. 

Of course, if we are never blessed with kids it will be a moot point. But it is certainly something that weighs on my mind.


Anonymous said...

If this is truly how you feel, and I only know you to be an honest man, you will make a great father. These fears attack every man looking to be a father or they should. I still worry if I am good enough or doing the right things or if she will turn out correctly. But when I look into her eyes and see her smile I know I am doing something right and you will too. Don't beat yourself up over if your are good enough, I know of no one else that would be great at being a father than you. Just my two cents from knowing you as a co-worker and a friend. Rick

Riot Kitty said...

I think you would definitely be a great dad. You are so good with kids, so patient and kind and fun!

Darth Weasel said...

thanks to both of you. My fear is my patience is because they are not my kids...I tend to lose patience with those I should be most patient with long before I lose patience with those whom I have little interaction with