At this ripe age of 54 I have observed far too many broken relationships between parents and their adult children. This seems to be the situation even in the case of family members who were close in the growing up years. And, it goes either way: the parent has chosen to distance themselves, or the child.
I observed this fissure recently in the case of a family that, more than any other, I’m quite familiar with. Taking the view of a parent, it made me wonder what was really the point of having children (from the individual’s, not the human race, point of view).
This is not the first time I’ve pondered this question. In fact, I decided at the ripe ‘ol age of 16 that I did not want to have children. Consciously, my reason was so that I could do what I wanted unencumbered, you know, travel, build a career, etc. But I fully admit that there probably were some unconscious reasons too, although I think that matters not. At this age I can honestly say that I have never for one second regretted my decision. And that decision, I might add, was not always one met with support by others, be they relatives or my personal physician; I had to fight for my choice.
That said, it seems to me that if you have and raise children with the idea that at some future time you will receive satisfaction, you will get your reward, something is off kilter. … Perhaps your daughter will become the singer you had hoped to be and you’ll feel your dream is fulfilled, or maybe your idea is that you’ll have someone to take care of you when you’re elderly. I think not.
Like anything else, we must stay in the Now. That is where the joy is. That is where God is. We do not know what the future will bring and making plans (giving God a good laugh) for when you’ll really enjoy your children down the road, is fairly certain to bring dismay – like any expectation. And, there are no guarantees as to the relationship you’ll have with one another later in life even if you enjoyed closeness in the earlier years.
Maybe I was somewhat more awake than my peers or maybe my dysfunctional family dynamics seeped into my unconscious quickly so that my decision to remain childless took hold at any early age. But now when waking up is even more important for the planet and happening at lightening speed to those who want it, staying in the Now is even more crucial.
And this pertains to choosing consciously to have and raise children, being in joy in the Now as together you go through their life stages. The ‘payoff’ has to be in the Now. That’s a win-win for all.