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Children, Parents and Change vs Tradition

May 16, 2013

Ok so this started as a single question – Why did I have children? This may not seem the least connected to a blog about being an expat in North America but it is; it’s complicated!

Anyway, I have broken this into three parts which followed from the ‘simple question’ “Why did I have Children?”. The first is more child focussed, the second more parent focussed and the last brings it to the relevance of this blog – the reflection it poses for me on life in North America and elsewhere and where change rubs against tradition.

Part 1.

I have been wondering lately why I had children. Not in the way of regret, but in the way that now I have children why did I want children?

Did I understand what pleasures they would bring? No, not really.

Did I understand what challenges they would bring? In part.

Did I know that with children my life would be better than ever before? No.

Did I understand how they would redefine responsibility? No.

Did I understand how they would underline both hope and hopelessness? No.

That they would mix joy and sorrow in multiple moments of many days of our lives? No.

In fact I’d go so far as to say I hardly ever gave it a thought….Before children. Before Chrissy. Before.

The reasons I think about this now are reasonably simple.

I’m away from my children and my family right now. Away from ‘home’ I am, but always I am ‘in my life’ – and my children are always in my life too, and whether they want it or not I am forever in their lives.

As they will forever have some of my life in them – it compels me that I must ensure this is a good thing; and will be a good thing for them, for their lives and the lives of those they might bring into the world. Does this require that my life ‘is a good thing’ or is it simply that it is something they can reasonably learn from – and that as parents we flatter ourselves too much?

hands up

Hey did I volunteer for this!?

If that sounds lofty I don’t mean it to be either lofty or arrogant; simply as an expression that as a parent it’s what I feel I owe my children for having brought them into this world without their permission and without, in reality, my own fully conscious thought. We need to ensure our children can learn from their lives, from us as parents and that means anything but following blindly what we do.

Fortunately for me and hence for them having children has been the best thing I ever did.

  • The happenstance of meeting Chrissy, falling crazy mad in love and planning a family within months.
  • The good fortune of our genes, the willingness of Chrissy to physically and mentally give so much to bear our children.
  • The thought we put in every day as to who we are, who our children are and how we can all move closer to being at peace with ourselves, at peace with each other, at peace with the world, enjoying ourselves and enjoying and contributing to others in the world.

To try to answer the question however is the purpose of this reflection. Why did I have children? Of course the answer is not simple, not for me anyway. As with all things I feel it has to do with how we are brought up and the influences we take on – good and bad.

…That’s Part 2.

🙂

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