"having children changes things"

That is what I have been told repeatedly -- both by commenters I don't know at all and by friends like M. Simon, who recently said, "Where I might have given Jennings a pass as a single as a parent I'm not comfortable with him."

Of course, I never said I was comfortable with him. Rather, my complaint is that I don't think he is being treated fairly, nor do I think his background as a gay activist inherently disqualifies him.

Beyond that I think the debate over the man's qualifications carries with it an implicit admission that we NEED a safe schools czar -- the argument being over who should be heading another useless, intrusive federal agency. Thus (and quite ironically) the culture war once again hoodwinks the right into unwittingly acknowledging the legitimacy of something that they might otherwise dispute. Might as well argue over who gets to be in charge of putting the condoms on bananas....

But the larger point is certainly worth discussing. Does having children change one's views?

Where it comes to thinking what I think I tend to be a proud person, and I don't like the idea that my thinking could change because I fathered a child. But OTOH, familiarity with certain issues does lend itself to holding opinions based on experience in a way that a lack of familiarity does not. For example, I am familiar with dogs, as I have owned, bred, and raised many dogs, for many years. If someone who has never owned a dog shot off his mouth about dogs in a way that indicated a lack of familiarity, I would not hesitate to point out that he simply did not know what he was talking about. And I have not raised children, so I am not in a position of experience in that regard. Not that I'm trying to tell anyone how to raise their child, but I'm certainly not as qualified as someone who has.

But this reminded me of some wonderful childless heterosexual neighbors I had, who agreed with me about drug legalization, but who told me that when they debated their issue with friends who were parents, they were told in no uncertain terms, "If you had children you would feel differently."

Would they? It's bad enough to think that having a little brat would change my attitude towards sex, but I'd hate to think that I'd be forced to change what I think about drugs too!

Who are these people, these diaper-wearing fascists? And what gives them such power over their parents' political thinking?

And suppose for the sake of argument that the government wasn't involved in the parenting process. Would having children still change things?

posted by Eric on 10.04.09 at 06:02 PM










Comments

From the title of the post I thought it was going to be about Polanski.
I'm so glad now.

BlogDog   ·  October 4, 2009 7:25 PM

Well, having kids does make you crazy, I can vouch for that.

But making one's goal to have kids who are tough and resourceful seems to be lost these days, whether the parents are lefties or righties. It seems that child-raising has gone from toughening your kids to protecting your kids. Welcome to 2009, eh?

Dwight   ·  October 4, 2009 7:44 PM

Eric,

I don't think it is a matter of logic. I think it is biology. Think about it. Wouldn't it be biologically good for a parent to be more protective of his(her) children than of him(her)self?

Does biology screw with logic? Probably. Or maybe it just lowers the paranoia threshold.

And I have met a lot of stoners who either keep their habits from their kids or quit altogether. And their attitudes towards legalization changes too. And not rationally.

It is a well know effect with bears. Never get between mama bear and her cubs. Why not humans?

M. Simon   ·  October 4, 2009 8:47 PM

I think every major life change permanently affects the person to whom it happens.

Getting your first full-time job changes you. Moving to a new city changes you. Getting married changes you. Having children changes you. Seeing one parent pass away changes you. Seeing the other parent pass away changes you.

Life changes you.

As things happen in your life, you understand things differently than you did before, and thus see the world differently than you did before.

It's not wrong, it's not right. It just is.

filbert   ·  October 4, 2009 9:24 PM

As a right-wing nut and parent of two, I see no need for a safe schools czar because itís a local matter thatís a function of the local threat. My wifeís a teacher and as we moved from Northern VA in 1992 to the Twin Cities (MN) and finally settled in Columbia, SC in 1996, we saw widely divergent threats at the local schools that communities either addressed or ignored.

Drugs were a minor problem in MN at the time but are pervasive now in the urban setting of Columbia, with weed in the middle schools as common as cocaine in the high schools. While we make do with alcohol, watching kids destroy their futures with the illicit stuff is heartbreaking.

You might be offended at what an effective resource officer (school cop) does to keep the school drug-free: s/he watches the outside as kids start to arrive to see which nitwits are making purchases from the dealers across the street, and then busts them when they arrive on school premises. They are nosy, abrasive, but effective. It takes strong school administrators to encourage that sort of policing, and too few schools are up to it.

Whatís heartbreaking is to see your kid or your neighborsí kids, raised with manners and other good habits, a star student that scores well on standardized tests, fall in with the slacker drug crowd. How about a child great in sports and academics with a full-boat scholarship to a fine school blow the last semester of high school thanks to a cocaine binge? Not pleasant in the short term, I assure you.

This has nothing to do with sexual preference or whether there are one or two parents. It has to do with parenting and striving to get the best for oneís child.

SC Mike   ·  October 4, 2009 9:25 PM

Eric,

As you do, I object to all "Czars" as they are a way around the Congressional scrutiny required for Cabinet appointments. But if we are to play the cards we're dealt and have to put up with Obama appointing Czars for everything, pushing back against Jennings is a principled position.

If you believe the propaganda that GLSEN is nothing more than a gay-rights/tolerance group, then you'd have no problem with Jennings. If, however, you recognize that GLSEN has a completely different agenda, one that is dangerous to all children (gay or straight) then Jennings would be a disastrous person to have in any position of authority.

If we were talking about him being appointed to some Tax Authority position, it would be different (assuming he had some experience/knowledge in that area). We're talking about this guy being put in a position of keeping schools safe, and setting or mandating policy in this regard. This may not be as bad as putting the fox in charge of the chickens, but it is not far from it.

GLSEN has "cleansed" their website in the past few years, but until 2004, one of the books they recommended for "Grades 7 through 12" was a book by Ann Heron. The book, originally "One Teenager in Ten" and updated in a second edition as "Two in Twenty was a series of sexually explicit experiences of coming out. One of them was written by Bill Andriette, with the age "16" next to his name. He was an adult when he wrote it. Bill Andriette is the infamous editor of the North American Man Boy Love Association Bulletin (NAMBLA). When confronted about the inclusion of Bill Andriette's article (stating he was 16 when he wrote it, when in fact he wrote it as an adult), the author said:

ď Iím not saying, you know, Iím not determining whether NAMBLA or anybody else is a sexual offender, but Iím just saying I can find people wanting intergenerational sex who are straight.Ē

Bill makes no secret of his association with NAMBLA.

GLSEN's misdeeds have been well-documented: Queering the Schools. Jennings responded to the article here, and it is followed by a take down by the CJ Editors.

There may be people who are opposed to Jennings "because he's gay." I'm not going to deny that there are people who would take a position against him, simply for that reason. But there are also others, like myself, who have been following what this man has been doing (and what GLSEN has been doing) for a long time, and so our objections are based on his extremely leftist social reengineering game, an attempt to remove all traces of what they term "heterosexism" in the schools. (Which means, basically, that you cannot use references in any subject which presents the stereotypical, and therefore "bigoted," family of a mom and a dad.) They equate heterosexual examples in everyday life with racism as the method to convince others to do it.

That's just bat-shit crazy stuff, and Jennings has been the leader of the bats.

You don't take risks with kids. If there is a hint of doubt about Jennings's experience or his background, you say "NO!" That's where the remarks are coming from about the fact that you WOULD feel differently, if you had children. Of course you don't think you'd feel differently, but when an innocent, vulnerable child is put in your care, for life, you don't take risks. You can't make a mistake with a child, because you can't do it over. Once their innocence is lost, it's gone forever.

I'm not suggesting that Jennings is a closet pedophile. But if GLSEN, the organization he ran, was so irresponsible as to do the things they have been caught doing, then there are reasonable and principled people who say "NO!" If, under his charge, GLSEN was careless about including sexually explicit content in libraries for VERY young children, some written by known pedophiles posing as 16 year old, then he's not a man to put in charge of keeping children safe. He's already demonstrated that he can't do it.

Mrs. du Toit   ·  October 5, 2009 1:30 AM

Would having children change your thoughts Yes. I am a father of two boys aged 8 and 5. All my views are getting dominated by the kind of world I dream for them. I have strong reservations on drug policies and the punishment on it. I feel rapist must not receive any pardon and they should be given the maximum punishment. Like this my views are always dominated my my kids. Yes it would change your view on world

webnoor   ·  October 5, 2009 2:45 AM

I believe it's not just children, be they yours or not, but anything that you lend extraordinary value.

I will die without a wife or a child, but I have seen others with wives and children.

It was natural for me to serve in the military, and to serve those who have a thing I would never had.

That was natural. For me.

When I left, I was aimless and a fool, and still am, but now, my brother, who ended up following the path of adoption now has 2 infant boys.

Whereas before I was valuable for the 280 million (a more accurate number than 300 million) others, now It's just 6.

Mom Dad, Brother, sister and nephews.

My friends got me through, but the nephews changed everything.

Douglas   ·  October 5, 2009 3:34 AM

Just because something should be legal (and I'm personally against 'recreational' drugs with all the ambiguity implied there) does not mean that it is a good idea, right?

There's a difference between saying that (a) the war on drugs is less than useless, expensive and shows no significant impact, and therefore we should scrap it and (b) drugs are good for you, everyone should take them, and some people need to take them for physiological reasons anyway.

Now I know neither position describes your stance here completely or even correctly, but I'm just saying that there are differences.

I saw in a show once that once you have children, it's not that you give up your dreams, but that your dreams change to become theirs instead.

Gregory   ·  October 5, 2009 3:54 AM

My experience with "parents" - or at least with those who feel the need to introduce themselves as such - is that the experience changes them into utter, drooling fanatics on certain issues. They've moved into a realm beyond where logic can touch them, so better to not even try.

Ryan Waxx   ·  October 5, 2009 4:31 AM

hmm... I had children and now have grandchildren.

The responsibility of raising a child does change the way most people think and feel.

Drugs in schools are nothing new. I was in junior high when first "introduced" to them. Perhaps I'm just one of the lucky ones, but the dealers scared the crap out of me, so I opted to stay away from that crowd.

Obviously the "war" on them has done no good. It may have actually made the problem worse.

So, no. Becoming a parent does not necessarily mean one will change their mind about political issues. The parents who think the government can keep their children safe from drugs probably thought the government should have a greater role in their lives to begin with. Children just magnified that attitude.

Donna B.   ·  October 5, 2009 7:25 AM

I used to have a day planner with funny/witty/interesting quotes by people.

One of the ones I remember is some British count or duke or something say, "Before I had children I had 6 theories on how to raise them.
Now I have 6 children and no theories".

Veeshir   ·  October 5, 2009 1:06 PM

Having children does change the way you think about things, but I doubt it does so in a predictable, consistent fashion. I have two young children and over the last few years have become more and more against the War on Drugs. The two are, I believe, unrelated. I am anti-drug but pro-legalization. I would counsel my children against doing drugs regardless of their legality.

I agree that with issues like the "safe school czar" we should focus on the arguments against having one rather than get caught up in who it should be...

Bolie Williams IV   ·  October 5, 2009 5:59 PM

Raising children is difficult.

Lazy parents want the government to make child-rearing easier, regardless of who else's rights are trod upon.

Anonymous   ·  October 5, 2009 9:40 PM

It's largely a matter of responsibility. When you become a parent, you take on the responsibility for their safety, care, and education - not to mention passing on religious and cultural heritage. Where you might feel safe associating with with such a person, you naturally feel less secure when it's a vulnerable child that is in contact with that person.

Linda F   ·  October 7, 2009 8:04 PM

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