Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Crime of the Only Child

"How can you do that to your child?" This was a question posed to a friend of mine with a single child, after they had informed the asker that they were not planning on having any more children. The asker went on to list all of the ways that children with siblings are happier and more well-adjusted and why it would be cruel to subject a child to a lifetime of loneliness. Am I alone in finding this point of view completely ludicrous? Ignoring all of the population-related problems in this world, since when is it immoral to have just one child? My wife is an only child, and I can personally vouch for the fact that she turned out beautifully. I'm lucky to be a teacher - for many reasons - but it also gives me the chance to see kids from diverse backgrounds. I can't say only children are worse off than those with siblings; I can't say they're better off either. I can say that almost every student I've had mirrors their parents on many levels, sometimes clearly and sometimes in a distorted fashion, but any questions I have about why a child is this way or that way are usually answered after the first parent-teacher meeting. Not always, but usually.

My wife and I didn't plan on having a child, but here we are and we're ecstatic about it. We're not, however, likely to have another, and I won't feel guilty about that. Of course, I can't really say that until our baby arrives because until then, I have no realistic idea of what I'm talking about. Everybody loses their mind on some level when they have a baby. So who knows? Maybe next year at this time, I'll be sitting at this computer, crazy-eyed and typing about how I want 5 more kids.

92 days until baby.

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