Every time I re-opened this blog, I found myself a little embarrassed, to look at old content and an old look.  My knee-jerk reaction was to close the site, and look away from my apathy and lack of ambition.

But I’ve been wanting to say some things, to use my free speech rights at a crucial time for my country.  At the time of this writing, of course, Donald Trump is President, a horrible step backward for this country and progress for our planet.  But Trump is only part of the problem.  My voice may be small, but that doesn’t mean it should be silent.

After too many dumb arguments on Facebook, too many jaw-dropping moments while reading the news, and too many nights of lost sleep, I write, in hopes someone will engage with my ideas and see a better way forward.  My voice is still tiny, but I feel it is better to talk than not.

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The Choice of Parenting

Late last week, the three-year old niece of a longtime friend died, after being in a coma for several days.  From all accounts the circumstantial cause of her death involved some very poor choices made by a parent.  As it happened, the day she died was also the birthday of a young woman who is the birth-mother of my daughter, a woman who made the brave choice to not be a parent.

These two coincident events inspired me to think about what “pro-choice” means.   That is, to be, or not to be, a parent by intention and not by accident.  The pro-choice label has a fluid meaning, depending on who you are speaking with and the tenor of the times.  For me, a simple fact is a the heart of the meaning of the term “pro-choice”:  I have a daughter because a young woman who was not ready for parenthood made a very difficult choice to carry her baby to term and place her daughter in our hands, to raise as our own.  Abortion was not the right choice for her.  She could have chosen to be a parent, and, knowing her fairly well I am certain she would have been the best mother she could be given her limited financial resources.  Those are all valid choices that embrace the daunting responsibility of parenting, when considered with reflection on one’s own personal limitations and place in life.

Unfortunately, too many young people choose to be parents through sheer self-delusion, believing that “love and the Lord” will make them good parents, dogma leading them inexorably to parenthood.  Some people may quibble that following dogma is the only moral choice.  I disagree, for action based solely on dogma is not choice.  To accept dogma, as most believers would attest, is an act of faith.  When faith motivates a person, they act without considering alternatives precluded by dogma.  True choice, on the other hand, is action based on consideration of all options.  In short, a “choice” based on dogma is not a choice.

But, at least the faithful parent embarks on parenthood with, we hope, their heart in the right place.  Most kids born through an awkward act of faith will probably end up doing ok.  Far worse fates await the children of those parents who, failing to recognize their own limitations, neglect  the responsibilities of raising a child.   From all accounts, the mother of my friend’s niece allowed an abusive man to live with her, a man now in custody and under suspicion of pushing the child down the stairs.

I know domestic violence is a complicated dance.  Women stay with abusers for psychological and financial reasons that baffle those closest to them, and even learned experts.  But when there is a child involved, should we make excuses because of abuse?  Should we accept a child’s death as collateral damage in a psychological war we can’t understand?

I don’t have answers for these questions.  My only thought as a parent is to share this advice:  parenting is a choice, an act of intention and great, life-altering consequence.  Don’t take that choice lightly.


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Poor Sad Neglected Blog

If I could force myself to make the time to update this blog, this poor blog wouldn’t look as neglected. I can rattle of excuses – work, family, need to sleep, the holidays – but it all comes down to not making time to write.

But I have kept busy.  I’ve read like crazy, continuing on my 2013  presidential quest.  I’ve read through to the presidents of my lifetime, and am reading a biography of Ronald Reagan.  Considering the last review was of   Thomas Jefferson, that demonstrates how far my reading is ahead of my blogging about it.  I’ve also been busy with taking courses through Coursera, a fantastic e-learning resource.  At work, I am thrilled to be in my new office – just a cubicle, mind you – in a building overlooking the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in lovely downtown Durham.  Or Durm, as the natives pronounce it, with monosyllabic gusto.

So what inspired me to finally come out of my shell and write something?  After years of the public ignoring my load of drivel, Don Charisma (don’t you love that name?) became a follower of my blog.  I doubt it is his real name, but even so, hats off to a great name.  Recently, I read an article about Dalton Conley’s book Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children But Were Too Exhausted to Asksuggesting that unusual names can lead to fame and notoriety.  Conley named his daughter “E”, just the letter, and his son Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles.  If Conley is right, those kids are going places, just like Don Charisma, to whom I owe a sincere thank you for encouraging me to write this little blog post.


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