Guest blogger Brett Berk: As someone who's worked with young kids for 20 years -- as a classroom teacher, preschool director, and youth researcher -- I'm consistently asked to defend my decision not to have children. "You love kids," people say. "You'd be a great dad!" I faithfully explain that I'm far too immersed in my interests, projects, and hedonistic lifestyle to make the necessary time for raising a child. This usually suffices. But strangely, the same need for justification does not seem to apply to the decision to procreate.
Whenever I hear that a friend has begun the trying process of trying, or is considering attempting what I like to call The Ultimate Vanity Project, I often follow up by asking them, "Why?" If they were going to adopt a rescued greyhound, trade in their Civic for an SUV, or even ponder a bright colored accent wall in their living room, they'd be expected have some sort of well-sorted grounds. But the response to this line of inquiry is often nothing more than a blank stare.
I'm not saying I'm looking for some nugget of transcendent genius. But this is a human life that's being brought into the world. "I always wanted one" wouldn't cut it as a rationale for buying an expensive purse, and "My instincts told me to" won't even get you out of a traffic ticket, so why are these good enough for having a child? (And don't even try the whole continuation of the species line; I think we can all agree that the reign of human beings on this earth has been less than glorious.) So people, please tell me, what's your excuse?