Older parents

After a fuss in the papers a few months ago, the 62-year-old woman gave birth to her child today. I had reservations when I first heard about it, but was completely turned around after hearing Penn Jillette‘s take on it.

Penn suggests that there are far worse things in life than having older parents, and it’s hard not to agree. There’s every indication that the couple in question desperately want a child, and would love it very much. That counts for far more than any age issue, I think. People can whinge about how old the parents will be when the kid graduates, or whatever, but who actually cares? The kid’s going to say ‘my parents are old, I wish they’d hadn’t had me’? There’s no real reason that a couple in their sixties can’t physically look after a child. There are apparently measures in place should anything happen to the parents, too.

I see no moral issue. Sure, the child will probably lose his/his parents earlier in life than most people, but so what? Does that make his/her life not worth living1? It depends on whether you think that putting a child into such a situation constitutes active harm, and I don’t. Any kid could lose their parents at an early age, and it being more likely isn’t enough to make a case for denial of ‘permission’.

The early death issue seems to be the problem that people bring up. What if two terminally ill 30-year-olds wanted to bring a child into the world before they died? They would last less than five years, say, at which point the child would be handed over to another, equally loving, family. Would anybody begrudge them this? What’s the difference?

The prevailing opinion that this shouldn’t be allowed seems heartless. It’s really a win-win situation.

  1. On the surface this seems to have some parallels with abortion, but I don’t think it does once you think about it – the child is wanted, after all []

Hey, kids

I was thinking: if I ever have kids, the wonders of internet archives mean that everything I’m currently writing will likely be available to them. In fact, it’s possible they’re reading this post.

Um, hi.

So this is me at 22. I don’t know anything. To be frank, the concept of fatherhood scares the hell out of me. I haven’t figured out myself yet, let alone any idea of how to raise anyone. What did I do about Santa? I don’t want to lie to you, but I know how wonderful the idea of magical reindeer etc. can be, and it seems a shame to deprive you of that. What if one of you wants to be a boxer, or takes a liking to blood sports? I deplore those things, but I can’t tell you what to think. I think that smacking a child is morally wrong, but what if it’s an evolutionary fact that some children cannot learn without the threat of physical force? I hope not, but it’s far from obvious. What do I say to you about the incessant cruelty of some people, when I haven’t figured out how to deal with that myself yet?

Do I play games as often as I can? Do I fill the house with books? Do I let you do what you want, within reason? Do I encourage everything you want to do? Do I answer every question as well as I can? Did I teach you the scientific method, then leave you to form your own opinions on everything? As of now, I can’t see why I wouldn’t do any of these things.

One thing I’m pretty sure of: if you ever want a book, I’ll get it for you. Everything else I guess is up for negotiation, but books are too important; as long as it’s affordable it’s yours. If this isn’t the case, I’d better have a damn good reason.

Phrases I don’t want to say:

  • while you’re living under my roof
  • because I said so
  • blood is thicker than water
  • childhood’s the best time of your life

If you catch me saying one of those things then – well – I’ve clearly taken leave of my senses and deserve to be beaten around the head with a book on decency.

I think.

What I’m trying to say is: it’s tough being a parent, so you should buy me cookies and surprise gifts as often as possible. I think that’s only fair. You should encourage your mother and grandparents to do the same.

Just so you know, I’m currently listening to an iTunes playlist comprising of David Gray, KT Tunstall and James Blunt. Are they really old fashioned now? Nah, I’m sure they’re still good – all that modern music just has no tune 🙂 And, if you’re looking for a decent birthday present, a jetpack would be nice. I’m sure they’re available by now. Ooh, one more thing: if your mother puts up with me, she must be very special indeed. She’d probably appreciate a hug right now, too.

P.S. About the middle names. Them’s the breaks, I’m afraid. They’ll grow on you – really.