Whiting column: Being pro-life isn’t easy, and neither is parenting
We’re either pro-life or anti-life.
It’s not a gray area. It’s one or the other. Vacillating between the two doesn’t work. We demonstrate our choice not only in words, but more importantly in what we do and advocate. Being pro-life isn’t easy. It requires being so all the time, 24/7. If we’re not, we’re faking it, and life isn’t fake.
Being anti-life can occasionally seem to be easier and more convenient. Having and raising kids isn’t easy in time, money, focus or heartache. Thankfully, our parents were willing to undertake the difficult job, and we probably didn’t make it easy for them. They made it possible for us to not only exist, but gave us the opportunity to thrive.
Some argue that not everyone should be parents. True. Unfortunately, in 40 years of teaching, I had too many students whose parents either didn’t want that role or shouldn’t have. This didn’t make it any easier for their kids, but these same kids universally felt it was better than the alternative. Thankfully, even these parents were initially pro-life, but just forgot that it was not only a full-time but a lifetime job.
Being pro-life involves considerable personal responsibility. It necessitates doing a little planning, or at least thinking ahead of the crucial moment. Discussion before the fact is possible. “No” or “not now” is always an alternative. Birth control methods are available and accessible. If that fails, adoption is a pro-life option. There are many pro-life couples who can’t conceive in the usual fashion and would welcome the parental role.
A woman has the right to choose; so does the man, but being personally responsible dictates these choices and decisions occur, so anti-life needn’t become an alternative.
Being pro-life doesn’t stop at birth. We each have the responsibility to continually facilitate life. This involves both action and attitude. Action involves providing educational opportunity, a safe place to live, career availability and role modeling desired behavior through our own manners. It includes assuring our vehicle is safe for both us and others on the road; no drinking and driving for the same reason. It means neither ignoring nor facilitating crime.
It involves assuring our actions aren’t disturbing to others. It’s fashionable now to impose our rights on others. We may have the right to do something, but that doesn’t make it right. Offensive language is one of many examples. What we say in private is our business, but it’s hard to know what others find offensive, prefer not to hear, or who is within earshot.
I remember something my father told me in high school, when I was sure I knew everything. As I was getting back in the pickup after my baseball game had been postponed due to rain, I let out an F**bomb regarding the weather. My father wasn’t a yeller. He responded, “It’s one thing to cuss when we hit our thumb with a hammer or a horse steps on our foot, but when cuss words are our most commonly used adjective, it’s telling everyone we have a limited vocabulary.” Point taken.
Being pro-life has attitudinal requirements. It involves doing what we can to make the lives of those we are around more pleasant. It can be as simple as a smile: to a colleague at the start of a workday, when saying hi to an acquaintance or when we walk past someone at the post office. It means being willing to facilitate change, because life and the world within which we function is never static.
It means facilitating, but not enabling. Charity is an example. Sharing our good fortune with others who have caught a bad break in life is a good thing. Giving something to someone who is lazy or not taking advantage of the opportunities society makes available not only isn’t pro-life, but won’t facilitate the changes needed to help improve their life in the long term.
Forgiveness is an attribute that has not only a pro-life benefit for those we feel have wronged us, but more importantly for ourselves. Pro-life means not only allowing ourselves to forgive, but communicating it to them. It involves being willing to forgive ourselves. We all make mistakes. No one goes through life without doing the wrong thing for the right reason.
Being pro-life means taking command of our own life in order to achieve what we desire, and not be an unnecessary burden on the lives of others. Developing the career we desire, or job will find us; taking command of our mental, physical, nutritional and economic condition, but if life should dictate, not hesitating to seek help in any of these regards.
Being pro-life is all encompassing; it’s all day. It begins long before and doesn’t stop at birth. Because we are blessed with life, it’s not only hypocritical but selfish to deny life to others.
Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than by government intervention. He recently retired after 40 years of teaching marketing, entrepreneurship and economics. Comments and column suggestions to: email@example.com.