Hatred of Children
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:20 AM [+]
For the most part, I hate kids. No really I do. I never wanted them and it was a serious issue as I recall my wife and I's premarital counseling. (Obviously my wife won that sticking point!)
Anyway something Rick said in his comments to my last post really solidifed my thinking on this topic of not being able to stand children. As John notes, we likely know some people who just do not like children. Well, Hi, my name is James and I am one of those people. In contrast, however, to what Rick said I do not dislike children because they interfere with my lofty sense of being really spiritual (yeah right!), but rather because they interfere with me period. And here is the crux of the matter:
I am learning to like kids...and believe me, being a father is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but I have to admit my capacity to love is hindered a good deal by my selfishness. I used to be one of those people who would say with absolute conviction that I would never have kids, I just couldn't stand to be around them. But now, I say rather that my kids are the very best thing that has ever happened to me...because I am learning and changing - growing into the fullness of personhood and this means that I must get past myself.
While I used to try and claim that my distaste of children was simply that: a matter of taste. People are different and some people like kids and some people don't. Well that, in my ever so humble opinion is a perfect and full load of steaming fecal matter. Why didn't I like kids? Foundationally, kids do nothing but take and take and take - there is very rarely any reciprocity in the relationships we have with children: they cannot engage me in intriguing theological conversations (at least not very often) and instead make me clean up their inumerable messes, they do not offer to wash my car or effectively help me level my shelter posts while setting them and instead tend to destroy or mutilate such things, they do not offer me praise and thanks (very often), they do not sit down and have a smoke or a fine scotch with me, they don't like my type of movies and their movies are silly, they are constantly losing or breaking things I idolize, they are noisy when I want quiet, they are rambuncious when I want to rest, and on and on it goes. What it comes down to is this: children, by their very existence, force us to practice an unselfish love. And that is hard.
Yes yes, when one of them wraps their little arms around you and says "Daddy I wuv you" it's easy...but when they decide that Daddy's new DVD makes for a great frisbee?
Anyway when I hear someone say "I'm not a kid person" or "I really don't like kids" or when I see someone at Church frowning because one of my kids is getting a tad out of hand I have to wonder if they are perhaps not all that different from me.
When Jesus said "Suffer the little children to come unto me" He really said a lot. And as I journey slowly past myself, I am learning that there is a good deal more reciprocity in my relationship with my kids than I ever imagined. And more than that, they are literally saving me.