Many spouses talk about what they want their baby to be like when they find out they are expecting. My husband and I did. We talked about how we would like to have a boy first. We even discussed how cute it would be if he had dark hair. But when we ended up having a daughter with light hair and my husband’s features, we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect child. Most parents experience the same feelings when seeing their babies for the first time.
Unfortunately, in our world of modern technology and medicine, many parents now have the ability to special order babies and choose the features they want their children to have, and they are taking advantage of that. A prime example comes from the story of Melissa Cook who chose to be a surrogate for a 50-year-old man. The man chose to have three male embryos implanted but when all three embryos successfully developed, the man wanted one to be aborted because he didn’t want three children (read the full article here). This story is a sad example of the idea that children are there for parents rather than parents for children. So many children around the world are left unloved and uncared for because they don’t fit the description of a perfect child.
- Demographers estimate that 126 million women are missing due to gendercide (also called femicide). That is as many deaths as WWI, WWII, and AIDS combined.
- Every year, we lose 2 million baby girls to sex-selective abortion and infanticide. That’s 4 girls per minute.
- In the UK alone, every 10 days, a child is killed by his mom or dad
Noting that it is no coincidence that children are unhappiest in countries such as Britain where the “pursuit of individual success and material goods are paramount, and where child poverty levels remain high,” in 2009 the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan said the following:
“Traditional beliefs have been weakened over recent decades and excessive individualism has filled the void.
The quest for personal success and personal happiness is too often gained at the expense of others.”
Dr. Morgan highlighted the findings of the Good Childhood Inquiry, published earlier this year, which concluded that the root cause of children’s problems was Britain’s “me-first” culture. He goes on to say,
“We may all know the real needs of children, but we frequently refuse to recognise that these often come at a personal cost to ourselves and our own needs and desires – be they compromises in our earning capacity or career development, or commitment to and the need to work at a less than ideal relationship…we need a huge change in our thinking. Parenthood should not be embarked on lightly. It is the commitment of two people both to one another and to the child.”
Though having a child can help make someone’s life more fulfilling and full of savor, it’s important for us as parents to remember: our children aren’t here to give us self-gratification.
We, the parents, are here for our children to love, serve, and teach them.
Our society, as well as others around the world, could learn a thing or two about what it takes to be a parent from Dr. Morgan. Policy makers and child healthcare professionals owe it to society to help “teach young people that parenthood is an awesome responsibility that requires both love and self sacrifice from parents committed to the child and to one another.” It’s true that we need to be teaching “these basic concepts as well as parent-craft, in our schools from an early age, particularly to those who have not experienced it first hand, and not simply informing them about the mechanics of a sexual relationship and contraception divorced from the basic concepts of love, responsibility and self-respect.”
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