Sorry for the long pause here. What can I say–life intervenes. But here I am again with a thought for the day. (It’s not particularly connected up to the last thread, but I might come back to that one.)
I went to a breakfast this morning for a wonderful organization called the Center for Children and Youth Justice (CCYJ.) The highlight of the breakfast for me was they keynote speech by Starcia Ague. She’s an amazing young woman who has not had an easy life. (That would be putting it quite mildly.) As I listened to Ms. Ague it seemed quite obvious to me that some people should not be parents. Neither her mother nor her father were up to the job.
Really I don’t suppose it should be in the least surprising that many people aren’t up to being parents. After all, it is not an easy job. It requires commitment and discipline over a very long period of time. People who cannot manage their own lives are not likely candidates to manage the lives of their children.
Now while being a parent isn’t easy, it’s actually quite easy to become a parent without meaning to. People engage in intercourse, a pregnancy results and the law says they are parents. What would make us think this system would work? We assign a very hard job to people who have not expressed any interest in having that job. Perhaps the remarkable thing is the number of people who actually rise to the challenge.
All of this ties into the role of DNA in defining who is the legal parent of a child. Many people here have advocated using DNA as the defining criteria of legal parenthood. After listening to Starcia Ague I have to wonder whether it makes sense to do that if our primary concern is the well-being of children. If we care about the kids, shouldn’t we be using some criteria that relates to their well-being.
For what it is worth, I want to try to separate this question out from the question of whether a child should know who the DNA came from. It’s quite possible to accomplish that end and not automatically give those people the rights and responsibilities for the care of the child. It just doesn’t seem to me that having engaged in intercourse somehow either shows or ensures that you are capable of being a parent to the child.
Just a little thought for the day.