Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Have Kids?

As a journalist, my trade certainly hasn't taught me much in the way of humility. Reporters, for instance, speak or write with authority on a subject about which they often know relatively little.

But as a parent the balance changes. When I try and boil down what it is that children give parents I find that Humility is the key thing. In a world where everybody is trying to exhibit what the Italians call Sprezzatura, children are the ultimate enemies of style.

It is hard to look chi-chi with baby-sick running down your cheek. It is impossible to appear slick after a night of broken sleep. It is difficult looking unflappable when your child has set off - shrieking - in the middle of a restaurant.

Kids are agents of a chaos in a world where orderly composure is seen as a Cardinal Virtue. For people who cannot be famous, the next best thing is to be cool. And, dear reader, being a parent and being cool is a living paradox. This matters because coolness often requires a projection of something artificial. Coolness is not a reflection of truth and, I happen to think, truthfulness is closer to Godliness.

All of which begs a further question. How might a society change when there are more people trying to maintain this carapace of cool? What happens to a culture where more of its citizens maintain a fiction of self-sacrifice (giving money to a charity is not the same thing as forfeiting a promising career in order to have children)? (more)