on tolerating your chilren

There's this new TIME magazine article about how "sometimes having it all means not having children."

I could rant about the lack of nuance to the story; about the attempt to invent controversy where none really exists; about the general vapidity of a culture that thinks "having it all" (whatever that is) is more important than community, family, and cetera. But I won't, because A. Raising kids well is so hard that I think less people should probably attempt it -- especially now that we've got a culture that works hard to inculcate selfishness; B. Lots of other people have already ranted about it; and C. I don't really care about their stupid TIME magazine article (he muttered vindictively, annoyed at having such a tiny, tiny platform for his obviously much, much more important opinions).

Instead, I'm going to offer a word of advice to fathers who perhaps, like me, find it hard sometimes to care about/pay attention to their children. My suggestion is this: find something they like, then find a way to combine it with something you find tolerable. For example, my son likes legos. I like making/writing movies. BAM! Lego movies with a five year old.

The Robbers Always Escape from josh barkey on Vimeo.

This will not solve the problem of the little attention-vacuum-monster in your home. Which is fine, since kids don't need to be "solved," and it's probably psychologically better for the little rug-rats if you ignore them more. Still, it'll pass the time, you'll bond and build warm fuzzies, and people will think you're a better parent than you actually are. Everybody wins!

All seriousness aside, though... my son is the best thing that ever happened to me. True, he's pretty demanding, and his existence narrows my options. But unlimited freedom is an illusion, and fully-detached self-interest destroys the soul.

You can keep "it all" ...I'll take my family, flawed and broken as it is.


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