Aspiring Parents Should Be Required to Obtain a License to Have Children


(Nicole Kwit)

It takes a village to raise a child, especially when the parents happen to be village idiots

You’ve heard it before—being a parent is hard. Extremely hard. For many people it may be the most difficult thing they ever have to do. In the confines of modern society, it seems like there are an infinite number of ways to screw up your kid, and relatively few ways to raise a child that meets our expectations of what a “decent person” should be.

The qualities that parents should imbue with their children read like a grocery list of virtues. In short, they should probably be a law-abiding, hard-working, intelligent, benevolent person in order to become truly successful, and society sort of pressures parents to raise their kids to exemplify these traits.

A lot of parents do this. A lot of parents don’t. A lot of parents don’t give a shit.

Is that fair to their kids? Is that fair to the rest of society? How far should a parent’s responsibility for a child’s well-being and upbringing go? I imagine there’s a finer line than you’d expect between the decisions that lead to raising the next Little Albert or the next Albert Einstein. But come on, there’s always common sense.

Make your child wear a helmet when they’re on their bike. Make sure they are nourished regularly. Try not to let them touch too many scorpions, and so on.

In order to earn the privilege of being allowed to drive in B.C., a series of criteria need to be met. First, you need to pass a knowledge test, which awards you with a learner’s permit. You need to practice driving with your L in order to prepare for the test that awards you your new driver’s permit. After you get your N, you’re expected to drive around with it for twenty four months while adhering to a set of restrictions, and then—three years after beginning the process—you can finally drive a car with a class 5 license.

Undoubtedly, the improper handling of a motor vehicle could be the cause of all kinds of road accidents and catastrophes. Someone who gets behind the wheel without the proper training and the right credentials is putting others at risk.

You need a license to be allowed to serve people alcoholic beverages in B.C. because the consumption of alcohol could potentially lead to unintended and possibly fatal consequences—yet you have the right to create an entire new human being from scratch without needing to meet any sort of pre-requisites or standards.

Ultimately, there’s only one requirement for having a child, and it’s so simple, so formally insignificant, so unregulated and non-existent, that it can essentially be summed up by a Nike slogan.

People have children by accident. Think about that.

Sometimes people make people without even meaning to.

If you accidentally start driving a car around without a license and you get pulled over, well, to quote the BC’s government website: “The consequences of driving without a valid driver’s licence are severe in this province.”

However, if you accidently create an entire human being, a person that can form and destroy relationships, a person that can underachieve or overachieve to infinity and beyond, a person that could, hypothetically, be the difference between developing the cure for cancer and developing the next bioweapon that exterminates humanity…

It’s just another one of God’s little miracles. Oops.

Reproduction is a human right, and I firmly believe that it should continue to be. But that doesn’t mean we can’t re-examine what it means to be someone who has a child versus what it means to be a parent.



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