Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Father's Love

I read this article this morning about a man who died protecting his daughter during a tornado, and it got me thinking. When I read stories in the media that involve young women, my perspective has changed from that of peer to father. When I read a story of a girl who is hurt, such as the story of the teen who stabbed a girl in Milford, previously, my natural perspective would have been that of a fellow student, but now I identify with the father of the girl.

You want to get to her, tornado? You've got to get through
me first!
When I read the article about the man who protected his daughter from the tornado, I think, "I would do that without a second thought because I love my daughter." But I've never met my daughter, which brings an interesting perspective.

I am no stranger to love in the romantic sense, but that is a conditional form of love, based on personality, behavior, appearance, etc. A father's love, I am finding, is an unconditional love. I don't know what the Koalid looks like (or will look like), what her personality is like or anything about her, other than the fact that she seems to have a heart and at least most of the bones she is supposed to have. Yet, I am already willing to put myself between a tornado and her to keep her safe if it came to that.

Obviously, this is an adaptive trait. We are hardwired to love and protect our children. They are our genetic and memetic legacy. This makes it all the more mind blowing when I think of men who abuse, neglect, or abandon their children. How damaged must someone be to overcome the natural love that a child invokes.

There is definitely an ethos is our current culture which, while encouraging people to get in touch with every weakness and sadness within them, teaches us to deny our instincts and the joy that the natural world brings us. In fact, many non-parents reading this, if they have gotten this far, will grumble about this over sentimentality that I am expressing here.

This article from the Huffpost blog captures it well. It is called 100 Reasons Not to Have Kids (That I Discovered After I Had One). Of course, many of her reasons would be obviated by being a better parent. For example: 29-31 are: "You prefer your iPhone screen to be smudge-free. You prefer your iPhone screen to be free of any kind of stickiness. You care about your iPhone or iPad at all." Touch screen devices, especially games, are inherently addictive by design. Why would you allow a small child to use them?

96 and 97 are "You feel negotiations should only occur between adults." and "You think bribery is unethical and has led to the downfall of many societies." Bribery is unethical, and I will not engage in it. It teaches improper lessons and sets bad habits. I will negotiate, but only on those topics which are negotiable.

If Ms. Joshi's list rings true for you, don't have children. You are not ready for the incredible joy which for which I am preparing. Don't worry. You'll understand when you're older.