Quiet Desperation

Even Dr. Seuss chose not to have children

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted

Dr. Seuss said, "A person's a person, no matter how small."

But not everyone pays attention to that. Almost every day there is another horror story that seems to top the one I just got over.

Children aren't getting any breaks. Maybe they never have. The media are on high alert like never before, and perhaps that's only because of nanosecond technologies. Or ratings.

"A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds, and more than four children die every day as a result of child abuse," according to www.childhelp.org.

Children are being neglected, starved in closets, abducted, shot, raped or interred in shoeboxes. Or left alone in hot cars.

There are men who prey on children, either for themselves or as a service to others. There may be only one thing more heinous than child prostitution: The abuse of a child by a parent.

There should be a long, required, written test that has to be taken before someone is allowed to have a child. I mean it. I took one. I realized I wouldn't have made a very good father. I am too selfish.

I guess I always thought that having a child was just about the most important thing a human being could ever do. The most meaningful one, with the highest expectations and greatest responsibilities.

Then I see Dr. Drew and his impassioned panel describing another unconscionable performance by a mother, a father - or a stranger. The sad part of it is that even though the panel members are upset, they spend half of the program laughing.

Some people shouldn't be permitted to have one child, much less six. But it's an everlasting right, isn't it?

I think that many people have children because they think they are supposed to, even if they are off their rockers in the first place. You go to school, get a job and start a family, and do it without considering all of the ramifications.

If I did have a child, I wouldn't know how to explain why there are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every year, much less how to explain Kwame Kilpatrick, Jeffrey Dahmer, Boko Haram or "The Black Dahlia."

I would have a very hard time trying to explain the Holocaust. I'd do a bad job.

I could explain the color wheel or Analytical Cubism but not My Lai. Not a chance. So it's probably a good thing that I don't have children.

I lived next to a couple that had a child-a-year, whether they needed another one or not. Mom attempted suicide. Dad committed suicide. I am sure the kids who survived are in therapy, or should be.

If you have been a reader, you know that I am not very happy-go-lucky with people, but it's only with big people. But that doesn't mean: Send me your children.

I have also lived long enough to know that we do things that we regret, but having a child shouldn't be one of them. Any psychological or physical hurt of a child is unpardonable.

However, I won't live long enough to see what becomes of the hundreds and hundreds of kids who are illegally crossing into America right now, but I'll bet you that the consequences will be overwhelming. I hope their parents sent them off knowing the definition of xenophobia.

While there are millions of Americans who have open hearts, there's a lot of xenophobia going around - tons of it.

Oscar Wilde said, "Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them."

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.