JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

Why bring kids into this kind of world

May 16th, 2004 · 4 Comments

After watching the Nick Berg video, Lenn Pryor felt:

What an angry angry world. What a deeply disturbing world. No one is right or wrong any more, we are all wrong.

Humans suck.

Jason Hasner replied in the comments

[…] But man, you need to get out and do something real. Go play with your kids, if you have them, or your friend’s kids if you don’t. Go to the park. […] If you go out looking for ugliness, you’re sure to find it. Try looking for something beautiful. If you can’t find anything, then go make something.

Sometimes I wonder why we brought children into this world. This place is so messed up. Why did Ted and I decide to add more people to this planet? A time like this one challenges any parent’s sanity. I agree with Lenn that humans suck. History says humans do awful things to each other. And now we don’t have to look in history books to know it’s true. All we have to do is turn on the TV, tune in the radio or make a couple clicks with the mouse. It is a deeply disturbing world.

Our oldest daughter is beginning to become aware of all this awfulness.

Tonight, at dinner – ironically after I’d read Lenn’s post – Abigail started asking questions. The conversation somehow began with lawbreakers – those who would loiter on the ferry and not go ashore – and continued into crime. She wanted to know about police and how they enforce the law. She wondered whether police break the law, wear handcuffs and go to jail. She wanted to know if a soldier would go to jail for killing someone. What would happen to someone who stole? Or someone who drove over someone else? We talked about murder and life imprisonment. I have no idea how these morbid ideas got into her mind. She is good at asking questions. Letting her imagination travel or letting logic lead her. Yet I wish we didn’t have to discuss such topics. This week in the car as we’ve been driving she’s been asking me about evil and why it exists. Tonight Abigail also asked about the war. Last year we had told her it was mostly over. I hadn’t heard her mention it for a while until tonight, when she seemed to want us to confirm it was over…

The world is a disgusting painful place. But I think Jason has a point. When I’m with my children, I see life different. I see the spiders on the wall. I notice ladybugs in the lawn and roly-poly bugs on the sidewalk. We eat ice cream. We play ball. We plant tomatoes. We laugh. Little matters except loving each other, kisses and cuddles.

I give my kids hugs and I smell yogurt and garden dirt, toothpaste and paper paste, baby shampoo and tennis shoes: all the Eau De Little Girl. I feel faces snuggled against mine and arms embracing me. I sense their love and purity, their devotion and joy. I think somehow somewhere Someone in the universe allowed something good in these girls, gave the blessings of new beginnings and growth in all little lives. And I find hope.

Tags: family

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Phil // May 16, 2004 at 5:24 am

    Hey, look, it’s one of my pet topics… (And I should warn you I’m *not* an optimist, sort of…)

    Being pre-offspring as I am, I ask similar questions:

    > Sometimes I wonder why we brought children into
    > this world. This place is so messed up. Why did
    > Ted and I decide to add more people to this planet?
    So, how *did* you justify it for yourselves?

    > And I find hope.
    I don’t see how you can, what about the inevitable pain and badness they’ll have to face?

    Existence is a pretty big price to pay for life, when all things are considered, does the good really outway the bad?

  • 2 Kris Hasson-Jones // May 16, 2004 at 3:35 pm

    My mother used to tell me she wished she’d never brought kids into the world. Needless to say this screwed me up rather badly.

    I don’t think it’s possible for humans to have the perspective to answer this question. We’re inside the box: we’re living life. You can either justify it (teach yourself to emphasize the good and overlook the bad, maximize the good and minimize the bad, or fantasize a rewarding afterlife to make up for the bad) or kill yourself. Relatively few people choose the latter option.

    I have two kids; I acknowledge to myself that it was mostly for selfish reasons, and I try to make up for that to them by equipping them as best I can to have a good, happy life.

  • 3 Katherine // May 16, 2004 at 4:24 pm

    There are many people in this world who spend their lives helping others, giving hope and mercy to those around them, spreading grace and love. We can do our best to raise our kids to be those kind of people, and send them out to be light in this dark place. As an extreme example, what if Mother Teresa’s parents had decided not to have any children? No one is perfect, and we all have darkness inside of us as well as around us, but if we discover the Source of Good, we have a strong resource to help us journey in the direction of Hope, for ourselves, our children, and the rest of the world. If we stop staring into our own dark hearts all the time, we can take time to look elsewhere to find our reason for being here.

    As for pain, life isn’t all about avoiding pain and being in comfort. Pain can teach us a lot and make us grow in ways we didn’t know we could. It can force us out of ruts and into new paths.

  • 4 Kris Hasson-Jones // May 17, 2004 at 3:02 pm

    Pain can teach us a lot and make us grow in ways we didn’t know we could.

    That would be the justifying portion of the evening. Myself, I’d skip pain if I could. I don’t think pain is the *only* way to learn anything, so why choose it?