By Ryan Schneider
“What are you thankful for?” I am asked across a table decorated with warm representatives from every corner of the food pyramid – witty remarks about having the choice between white and dark meat and a sailorless boat of gravy float out of my peripheral thoughts as I delve deeper into what will be considered a serious question and not just the flavour text of this holiday.
I am thankful that I was born healthy, and in a part of the world where there is enough time in between our wars to stuff ourselves and not see battle-hardened faces in the reflections of our cheap silver cutlery. I am thankful for living in the age of information and convenience. My 3G phone allows Google to assist me in answering even the most obscure of trivia, anywhere from the dinner table to the wilderness. I am thankful, and it’s actually pretty hard to show. I am very spoiled compared to much of the world.
One thing that we all have in common is that we didn’t choose what we have. I happen to be the culmination of a privileged sperm courting a privileged egg. Sufficient medical care was taken during delivery that I got to continue with life. I am thankful that despite being far from orthodox, my parents’ methods of raising children has apparently worked, because I know that far from everyone has that luxury.
It’s at this roadblock where evolution will stop helping us. Any fertile person can parent a child. It’s pretty disgusting that teenage pregnancy has become the televised phenomenon that people occupy their time with. But the human reproductive system was not designed to be active upon being capable of providing offspring. Quite the opposite is found, where those without the access to – or education how to use – any of the many forms of birth control end up being the ones with several children. Is reproduction a right? If it is, it’s one of the least fairly distributed rights I can think of.
People can lose their chance to pass on their genes – naturally, at least – through many different injuries, diseases, and good old age. Unfortunately, some pregnancies are not planned. This causes parenting arrangements to be improvised to varying degrees of success.
Does a person’s right to create life supersede the life-in-question’s right to a decent upbringing? It’s true that nobody asks to be born; it is a circumstance metaphorically thrust upon us by the more literal thrusting of our father (sorry for that image). The world is a tough place to deal with as it is, and there is nothing less fair than starting it under the care of people who cannot provide the basic necessities of life and a role-model level of morality for you.
Just as not every person has the qualities in them to be a fighter jet pilot or sumo-wrestling reporter, we are not all destined to be parents. A child is not your possession. He or she is going to be deeply engraved with the lessons you taught, and will someday join society as a reflection of that – often with your last name attached.
So, take ten minutes out of your week and thank your parents for the good job raising you – they probably did something right if you ended up here – and be sure to make condoms available at your next party.