As I get older I hear a lot more from friends about their desire for children. One friend in particular has developed an obssession with the idea. He tells me constantly that he feels that if he doesn’t have children, he’ll feel like a waste of space. What use is it being here if not to pass on his legacy? Aren’t children the best way to do that? This guy isn’t in any relationship that I’d expect to produce children.
I definitely understand how he feels. Before I had children I remember questioning my own worth to the world, but not because I didn’t have kids. Was I a waste of space? If I’m the only one who cares about my existence, then do I really exist? I could come and go, passing along through this life leaving no traces. The heart of it is feeling like we’re contributing to this crazy place in some way. Without that feeling, it’s easy for life to feel meaningless.
I don’t know that I think having children is the sole solution, though. I think humans crave being mentors and leaders to others. We’re pretty adamant about having a leader and I know I talk with people all the time who are clearly eager to pass on their own knowledge same as you. You know, those people who volunteer information unprompted, or who can’t resist explaining something they know. I’m not very talkative in person, but I love the opportunity to show someone how to do things. That’s why I write game guides. These little things feel like contributions to something. They’re nothing in themselves, but those little tiny pieces of meaning add up. Over the course of a lifetime, teaching fellow humans something – anything – makes us feel fulfilled and purposeful I think. Having children definitely scratches that itch 🙂 Watching them mimic me is magical, seriously magical. I love to walk into a room and see my children doing things when they don’t know I’m watching. Kids really are amazing and I can see why anyone would want to have them.
I told my buddy to adopt, but that’s pretty hard for single parents, especially men. I told him he could volunteer at youth centers, mentoring or being a big brother or something. There’s plenty of opportunities to lead others and mentor. When I think about it, this might be why events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative hold so much meaning for me personally. Community building just feels good, even though it can be exhausting. I think all of us enjoy that sense of community and yearning to pass on your knowledge or to mold some other creature into something valuable is part of the human experience.
Scree Tags: #blaugust #parenthood #mentoring