Raul Freitas

Warning signs

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We count on our instincts to help guide us through our path, whether consciously or not. Although not always precise, instincts have evolved in us over the many thousands of years we have existed as a species. So, the instincts we’re born with today carry the experience of vast numbers of generations. One of the most basic of instincts is survival.

This week it’s about whether to have children today. What is my motivation. And although it is a very relevant topic in today’s age, my greater concern lies in the very subject actually coming into question.

There have always been people who choose not to have children, but today it seems that society is beginning to see having children as another of life’s various options, like buying or renting or, whether to travel for a bit after graduation, instead of heading straight for the job market. I worry about the big question, although it no longer seems to be, by today’s standards.

Do we really have any choice? It seems to me that if we don’t have kids, eventually we won’t be at all.

Here we are, once again, ignoring the nature of things, pretending that we control all around us. There will always be those who don’t procreate, but the rest of us must. I wonder if society’s slight shift towards narcissism isn’t partly due to today’s trend in people having children at a later age, or none at all. I distinctly recall being humbled by my children on more than one occasion. There’s also the sense of responsibility and dedication I developed after becoming a father. Joy and pride. All the ups, all the downs. They contribute greatly to the person I am today.

I learned many of the great lessons in my life from my two kids. What’s funny is that, as adults, they still teach me lessons today, many indirectly. Sometimes they mirror you, other times, they reflect a different you.

For me, having a family is the single greatest achievement of my life, although I didn’t do it alone, it took all four of us. Obviously, this is just me talking, and everyone sees things their own way, but what are our instincts telling us when the topic up for discussion is whether to have children or not? Can it really be as simple as doing the math? Are we even paying attention? I believe the questions should be different.

What about seriously asking and considering what series of events put us in this position to begin with? I’m not suggesting the sky is falling. I, being what people now designate as a “boomer”, am from a time when this topic was never a question, so to see it come to this in less than a lifetime is a little disconcerting, that’s all.
I get defensive at the thought of not having some grandchildren. I love the idea that a part of us carries on long after we’re gone. I wish for my kids to be able to someday enjoy the same emotions I feel, just being their parent.
I think it will be good for them. I firmly believe it’s good for all.

Fiquem bem.

Raul Freitas/MS

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