I am reading The Adventures of Hucklrberry Finn by Mark Twain. It has spurred a topic in me that probably doesn’t come up for most people. Huck’s father, in one of his rants, demonstrates a selfishness that I think is rampant even today. A general lack of consideration for the child on several fronts.
In the story, the abusive father is upset because his son is old enough to finally be a provider for him, but people are trying to take him away. This is an extreme example, but I’d say we all know someone or of someone who has been raised or lived in such a situation. Abuse is selfish no matter the form in which it presents itself. This is not the main point of this post, though.
I want people to also considered a less extreme form of selfishness. In my opinion, parents who knowingly have a child just because they want a child can be just as uncaring in their mindset. Such a decision affecting another being should be done with more consideration. What is important is what you have to offer a child: stability, love, attention, discipline. The petty adult reasons that boil down to “but I want” is not good enough. Having a child to satisfy your emotional “need” to feel needed is not good enough. Being a parent means putting your child ahead of yourself.
The same selfishness goes the other way though. How many babies are aborted because of the “but I want” adults? Only in this case, they change it to not wanting to be responsible, tied down, or forced to think of someone else. Learning you are pregnant should spark parental protectiveness, not childish excuses to kill and act like it never happened.
As in many cases, our society needs to learn to be less self centered. Why not start with where it really matters? If we start being less selfish towards our children’s lives, maybe we can make other strides towards being better people. Through our example, our children will learn to not be as selfish as we started out. It is only through this that we can break the cycle.