(This is the Tantrum, in which Dadwagon’s writers debate one question over the course of a week. For previous Tantrums, click here.)
As the elder statesmen of the DadWagon fathers (I’m 60), the first installment of this Tantrum fell to me. It’s a simple question, one that seems to be of increasing relevance to people like me (aka, people who think about not particularly important questions): is it okay to have children young?
Obviously not. Have you met men in the prime of their lives? (I’m actually 39—which is choice, not prime, at best.) Awful, stinky, deluded, arrogant, untrustworthy, incompetent, infantile mooks. Not only should they not be allowed to breed, it’s debatable whether or not they should be allowed to age.
More seriously, though, I’d like to consider the advantages of having a child while young (JP came when I was 33). Along with the fundamental matter of energy—going years without enough sleep is enough to age even a young man—there is the idea that youngsters are more open-minded and can handle the introduction of a squirming, screaming, pooping buzzkill more easily than their elders.
Perhaps. At least in my case, however, I don’t think I would have been mature enough to effectively navigate the upheavals that come with fatherhood while I was in my twenties. Not that I am such a self-effacing, putting-others-firster now, but I was definitely more selfish ten years ago—and selfishness does not a fine daddy make (or words to that effect).
Now, I will say this: there is something weird (to me) about the really old men (and by that I mean anyone older than my 39) having progeny, something that suggests a bulwarking of the self-esteem, a re-recognition of one’s virility, essentially, fatherhood as vanity project. This, I imagine, ain’t good. But at least when you’re older you are more likely to be able to pay someone to make up for your mistakes. So there’s that.