Contributed by “The Ed”
In the past I have been vociferous about how evil the divorce of freedom from responsibility is. It is time to change that and look at the elegant beauty that a marriage of freedom and responsibility really is. For this article, I choose the example of the marriage of sexual freedom and parental responsibility.
The marriage of freedom and responsibility is not a ceremony. It is knowledge that the person knows viscerally. The marriage of sexual freedom and parental responsibility will never be learned from sex education classes in public schools. Children in the schools will not learn this from their peers. Either the child has the wisdom and experience to learn it for himself/herself, or the child has parents who love him/her enough to teach more than just the birds and the bees.
I speak from a male perspective. The marriage of sexual freedom and parental responsibility changes everything for me. The spousal aspect is important too, but is immaterial to my point here. It is the emphasis on being a good dad that I will focus upon.
When my daughter was in college, she worked at an insurance company. There were a few days I had to pick her up at work. One day she got into the car rather upset. “Dad, the people at work think I am adopted. They say that I don’t look anything like you.”
This was not the first time I had heard this. When she was little my brother, who made it his sworn duty to razz me said, “Lisa, you don’t look anything like your dad. Thank God.”
It was true. With Lisa, my wife’s good looks dominated. On Lisa’s face, my features at best would be called subtle. I don’t see my face in Lisa’s, though occasionally I can see some of my sister’s face. For me that is enough. Nevertheless, I looked at her as I put the car into gear and smiled. I told her, “Lisa, I believe I am your biological father. I was around at the right time, after all. But let’s suppose I am wrong. Through genetic testing suppose we find out that some other man is your biological father. Then what?”
I could see the thought of someone else being her biological father really bothered her, so I quickly continued. “When you were a babe, I changed your diapers. I bathed you. I dressed and fed you. When you were small I read Dr. Suess to you, and later I read Roald Dahl books with you. When you were sick didn’t I take care of you, even when I was sick too? I took you to the playground. I helped you with your homework when you were struggling. I put food on the table and sheltered you. Now you are in college and even though you earn some of your way with your job, I still pay most of the bills. And if I found out that some other man was your biological father, none of that would change. I am your dad. I have borne the responsibility and I have earned the right to be your dad.”
If there were another man, then Mr. Hypothetical missed out on the best part. My daughter has grown up to be a wonderful woman. I was privileged to be part of that process. Yes, sexual freedom is delightful on the surface. But it is the parental responsibility that is deeply rewarding.
The rights and the freedom belong to the person who bears the responsibility. The one who bears the responsibility should be the one who gets to enjoy the rights and responsibility. The situation is dysfunctional otherwise.
Now I ask the following questions: If we the American people teach the value of joining parental responsibility with sexual freedom to our children then:
Will we have as many unwed mothers?
Will we have as many deadbeat fathers?
Will we have as many children raised by their grandparents?
Will our divorce rate stay up around 50%?
It is obvious: No. No. No. No.
The marriage of freedom and responsibility changes perspective. If I am to enjoy sexual freedom I better be ready for parental responsibility and spousal responsibility. If I am to be responsible I better know my partner is the one with whom I want to be spending my life and raising children. I want to know she will be a good partner in life.
This is but one example. The marriage of ANY freedom with its matching responsibility is a value. Such values must be taught by parents. Betroth freedom with responsibility to your children when they are young. It will be a marriage made in heaven for them.