I was telling Walter about my blog posting re. our indecision on whether to push ahead with a second child or not and how some of the comments made were almost hurtful & offensive in away, I felt that my morals and values were being questioned and judged because I wanted only the best for my child. His response was one I had not thought about, he reminded me of how he grew up and of how he would never want that for Ava.
While I grew up privileged, and would just like to add that children who grow up this way will often also have good values and morals and life skills, at least I consider myself to be a person of high moral standing, with good values and great life skills, Walter had the completely opposite experience and yet we share the same standards and morals.
I had a life of luxury, of privilege, of stability, I attended one school, from junior all the way through to matric, I went on numerous overseas holidays and got to see and experience the world, I was given a car for my 18th birthday, my parents are still happily married today, almost 42 years later, I had wonderful examples of good, moral, just and upstanding citizens in both my parents. Walters Mom was 17 when she gave birth to him, his parents divorced when he was very young, he’s been the man in the house of a single mother from the time he was a young boy, he has had to move schools on numerous occasions, has had to work for extra money from a young age to help with household responsibilities, has had to quit his studies and go into the work force with no tertiary education to try to help out. He could never enjoy any of the things his friends enjoyed because of the financial constraints of his family’s situation. The effects of his childhood and of having to “go without” have been far-reaching. He managed to claw his way out of that situation, but it was hard. Growing up a teenager under those circumstances was hard for him. It is not something he remembers fondly.
We both agree, we do not choose the hard path for Ava. We choose a life of opportunity for her and while we choose those things, there is still no reason why she cannot be raised learning good life skills, good values and good morals.
Walter is a perfect example of a parent striving to ensure his child has better (again, this is not just based on material things but abstract things as well) than he ever did and I think that’s wonderful, I think that makes him a responsible, thoughtful and loving parent.