At a reunion event, the keynote speaker summed up his message with “…everything we do is to make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren.”
And I thought, “Huh. So that means everything I do is to make the world a better place for your children and grandchildren.”
I haven’t said this out loud yet, but I’m waiting for an opportunity, perhaps the next time some unthinking person accuses me of being selfish for not having children. I’d like to point out that I am not having children then pawning them off on already overworked teachers and daycare providers, expecting them to do all the parenting. I am not polluting our parks with used diapers or filling the air with fumes from my super-size, family-friendly SUV. I am not expecting other people to suck it up when my toddler screams in an airplane, runs amok in a nice restaurant, or rubs berry stained fingers into their new sofa.
On the contrary, I am paying taxes to support schools that educate other people’s children. I contribute to fund-raisers for parks, boys’ and girls’ clubs, and organizations that provide services for needy families. I take note of when a friend looks fried and offer a few hours of babysitting—no strings attached—so she and her husband can take a long-overdue date night. I attend basketball games and dance recitals, and I encourage children of varying degrees of talent simply because they are precious to me. I reach out to elderly members of my family and extended family, well aware that they are lonely because their own children are otherwise occupied with caring for their children. I remember birthdays and anniversaries, with gifts, cards, and calls, and I zip my lip when a mommy friend complains to me that she’s too busy to remember mine.
Selfish? I don’t think so. I think childfree women, as a class, are the most un-selfish people on the planet.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is feeling a little feisty this week.