While most would-be parents fully intend to meet their kids’ needs, it’s not unusual for many of them to have no clue at all about the extent of the provisions needed to truly care for and protect their offspring.
Glenn Super, and his wife, was a friend of ours. They had two young sons. Eventually, as the family breadwinner, they came to realize that his boys would be unprotected in the event of Glenn’s death.
He applied for health insurance. The physical examination revealed that Glenn had prostate cancer. He was uninsurable. When he died at 50 he left his family with very little in the way of financial security. Patti had to work while raising her kids and she depended on Glenn’s parents for help.
We have a neighbor here in San Jose. He and his wife have nine children living at home. Juan Gutierrez [name changed] has late stage leukemia and, as Christmas nears, is close to death. He has health insurance. What Juan, the sole support of his family, does not have is life insurance. It would seem that he and his wife were more involved in the numerical growth of their family than in the protection of the kids they had early on.
Every house in the neighborhood has received a flyer from a pair of the Gutierrez’s caring neighbors asking for assistance., food donations, dish soap, toilet paper and myriad other grocery items. It appears that Juan’s family is in such dire need that their neighbors are requesting such basic items as toilet paper, dish soap and rice to sustain them. So while Juan is in the final stages of his life, at home receiving hospice care, he and his wife are left to worry about what will become of their kids and their home.
This brings up two important issues that we discuss in our book, Enough of Us. The first is the burdens that children put upon their parents. The second is the burden parents can heap upon their kids.
All parents should provide for the food, shelter, health and safety, education and love their children require. And these obligations include providing for unfortunate contingencies, like medical expenses or the death of a parent. How, we wonder, can people who are not able to provide life insurance for their children, have so many of them?
It is our contention that having children is the most selfish act in which moral and ethical people indulge. We won’t go into all the reasons here. But the situation for the unfortunate Gutierrez family illustrates how even a loving family can be selfish. By not giving priority to the financial security of the children they already had, starting with the first one, they fated their kids to potentially demoralizing life situations. By, say, purchasing insurance to take care of their first three children before making a fourth, the family might now be smaller, and the kids would not be facing threats to their stability on top of dealing with the loss of their father and breadwinner.
No one should be having kids when they cannot guarantee meeting their basic necessities. It creates a burden for the parents and, especially, for their kids.