Killing Dreams, One Child at a Time
I recently read an article on a popular website where the author stated they had to kill their child's dream of going to an art school in NY and likely art school period. While I do understand the poor prospects of creating a financially comfortable life with only an art degree, it struck me that the killing of the child's dream was the chosen description and moreover, it struck me that the author did not kill their own dream of having multiple children. I feel it is the parents who should have killed their dream of having children as they were not financially prepared to shoulder the high cost of education for each of their children, not having saved enough solely for each child's expenses before each child was ever created. Money is only one part of the parental puzzle, with many pieces needed to give each child the best opportunities to be successful, happy, adults. No doubt my opinion will upset some people however, it is also not lost on me that very frequently it is the blunt truth that truly upsets people.
Having witnessed and personally experienced the negative and often enduring effects parents refusing to delay having children they are not prepared for &/or have not planned for who also refuse kill their own dream of having children due to a lack of preparedness and forethought, I have wondered why so many parents have one or multiple children knowing they cannot afford the financial or other costs required of each of the intensive jobs. Also, I have witnessed the reality that parents who kill one dream of their children have often killed multiple if not many, others for their children due to the lack of preparation and planning prior to creating them. Heck, you can turn on the evening news or hear sad stories at your church, within your neighborhood, social group, among parents or teachers at your child's school, or elsewhere to hear or see for yourself how parents kill their kids' dreams. Some parents do so intentionally, others not so but the consequences are often still quite painful for the child and not uncommonly for society as well.
Poverty, adultery, drugs, neglect, abuse, instability in housing and/or food, ill health, narcisism, selfishness and many other things that parents do can lead to killing their children's dreams. Yet, speaking about the very real option to delay or choose not to create life still appears to be taboo among many people. "It's none of my business" say some, while relatives and others not responsible for the child or children's lives who actually see the red flags that haven't been resolved may even badger the potential parents with questions such as "When will you give me grandchildren" or "when are you going to start having kids?"
In the article I read detailing one parent stating matter of factly how they killed their child's fancy art school dream I found that many of the comments blamed the kids for not being sensitive to the costs of life that the children never asked to be given, blamed high school guidance counselors for suggesting college at all in some cases and suggesting out of state/middle/top tier colleges in others, but the general theme in the comments section was for the parents to blame anyone and anything but themselves for their lack of preparedness, saving, and planning. Yet, there was a lack of blaming themselves for choosing to create more lives than they could shoulder the many varied costs for.
This truly glares at me, the lack of the parents glaring at themselves in the mirror and making the difficult but truly prudent choice of delaying or choosing not to have children because they are simply not prepared or refusing to "give" their relatives another relative after being pressured. There are a large number of parents who clearly do not or did not fully plan AND prepare themselves prior to creating EACH LIFE they created and not just financially. Many of them will often say "I did the best I could" and variants thereof if and when their children or others ever question their decision to create life.
The formative years are called that for good reason. Children can and do pay the price for their parents selfishness by lack of positive life experiences, lack of good role models/mentors/educational & career networks, and opportunities that could guide them towards successful education, careers, and becoming productive, law abiding citizens. Life is very expensive, even on the low end. Call me elitist or any other name but more parents need to delay creating life until they have 5 or 6 figures saved for each child or kill their own selfish dreams of having children. There are many times that creating life or having children is selfish and will be a detriment to the child. For example, creating life when you don't have abundant finances is selfish. As is creating life when your health (physical, mental, or both) is a hindrance to doing your best as a parent. Creating life when you and/or your partner's life & priorities do not match or are not in order is selfish and yes, there are many ways that parents not having their life and priorities in order negatively affects their children for much of their lives.
Sadly, many people of all ages live the killing of their dreams each and every day of their lives. The detriments to the children can be so lasting as to have the same effect as being permanent. For example, children of varying ages know for a fact that their lack of access to quality education due to poverty prevented them from obtaining the experience, knowledge, & credentials needed for the careers they truly wanted and find themselves living check to check in low paying jobs or even multiple low paying jobs. This very scenario has played out in many of my former classmates' lives and within my very own. Some extremely bright people who I went to school with have worked for many years now in low paying jobs because of the bad start in life and situations forced upon them as children by their parents.
Some were forced to earn an income in high school or immediately thereafter precluding the option of going to college as some of them immediately were forced to be income generators or even breadwinners for the family or for themselves to escape some unfortunate or even dangerous domestic situations. A few of my senior high school classmates had to work multiple jobs to get and keep a roof over their heads immediately after graduating from high school, eliminating any chance of going to college, trade school, interning (typically for free which is a WHOLE different abhorrent reality I don't have time for here), or becoming an apprentice to get them better career & life opportunities.
It has been proven time and again that even when middle class and poor students go to college and work through college, they fare worse than other students due to them having to work and not fully devote their time and efforts to school related studies, activities, and networking. Students who work through college tend to take years or even decades longer to graduate and many never graduate at all because they drop out because they are stretched too thin, the costs are too much, etc. Sure some people can work and go to college burning the candle at both ends but many of these people end up with far less than stellar grade and many do drop out when they simply get burned out. Perhaps an extreme few may earn 4.00+ GPA's or graduate with honors to put them at the front of the pack when competing for and forging ahead in their careers but many students who cannot focus solely on college while in college have the proverbial Everest to climb.
In other situations you may have parents who are neglectful of their children, appearing to maintain a hands off strategy as if the child under 18 is more of a little adult, falsely thinking children are capable of making all choices for themselves with little or no guidance, discipline, or consequences. Some of these kids may appear to function decently enough while others may choose the wrong crowds or run afoul of the law, negatively affecting their futures before they've even begun & cutting off many career and other opportunities before they even know those opportunities exist. This, affected a significant number of my senior high school class mates.
As adults, many children take care of their parents, not uncommonly to their own detriment even after their parents chose to bring them into unstable or even downright dangerous situations. Some of them choose to do so for their own altruistic reasons but in a number of cases a bit of familial brainwashing along the lines of "family is all you've got" or "blood is thicker than water" does the trick to the benefit of the parents and quite often to the detriment of their children...again. Some of the selfish parents use their children as a retirement plan, I have witnessed this within my own family and find it horrible.
So, parents and potential parents remember, this is an expensive, money based modern world. Don't be so selfish as to kill your children's dreams because you did not plan & fully prepare well before creating each of your children. No, you can't plan for every scenario but by saving a minimum of mid 5 figures to 6 figures for EACH of your children PRIOR TO CREATING EACH CHILD, you and each of your children will stand the best chances of maximizing their potential at the most critical time of their lives and create the best chances for their success in whatever they choose to do. If for any reason you are unable to afford each child you wish to create in any of the multiple ways each child will need you, take a hard look at reality and kill your own dream of having children until you:
have abundant financial savings of at least mid 5 figures to 6 figures minimum, solely for each child, before you create each child
have a level mental & physical health that allows you to best function for the vigorous job of being a parent
are certain that prioritizing your children in many cases over yourself & teaching them important values & morals is something you can do
have quality time to dedicate to spending with your child doing activities, homework, etc.
Many feel that delaying or not choosing to have children with the above minimums in mind eliminates many middle class and poor people from having children. I agree & disagree because delaying having children gives you more time to earn the large amounts required to best take care of each child before creating each child. You will be forced to truly prioritize what and WHO is really important to you if you work to meet the above minimums. You may find that having children is not what you want and be grateful for the freedom without them. Or, you may find joy in being able to earn and save money to best take care of your child's education, health, shelter, food, and provide them the many opportunities and lessons in life that cost money and are not free.
Choosing not to have children because you can't afford them financially, timewise, healthwise, or otherwise is a SMART AND PRUDENT DECISION that exhibits excellent judgement. If more people were to do so, the potential to reduce or even eliminate various types of needless suffering for children, parents, and society is significant. The reality is that for the vast majority of people, where you start in life is most likely you will end up. Those in unstable or dangerous domestic situations, those in ill health, those with little to no free time to spend on a child or multiple children, those who don't have abundant savings solely for the use of each child, should seriously think about delaying having children or choose to not have children.
Don't be so selfish to kill your children's dreams and potential due to your lack of preparation before creating them. THINK. PLAN. PREPARE. If not, simply delay or kill your own dreams of having a child or children.