10 January 2009

From the News

Today, in one of my rare reads of a newspaper (beyond the comics, crossword, or sudoku) I found an article which I have unfortunately lost. The gist of the story is that a court has decided that a man must pay child support for children who are not biologically his because he is the only father figure they have ever known. He only discovered recently that his children are not his and they are a product of an affair the mother- and I quote- "does not remember."

I could say many things about this, to the point that I am not sure where to start. It's a mess to put it mildly. Lives have been thrown into turmoil over the revelation- the article did not say how the family found out- and will be in turmoil for some time. Should the father have walked away and tried to sever all ties from his family? Personally, I would praise him if he stayed and continued being the father he had been. But how could he trust his wife afterwards? And is it even possible to stay with a spouse one no longer trusts? So while I cannot praise his actions, neither can I wholly condemn them. And I cannot understand how he could simply turn off the love he felt for his children. They, at least, are utterly innocent of wrongdoing here.

The article leans towards criticising the father for trying to get out of support payments. Oddly, it says nothing of the mother, who started this whole mess with an affair she has forgotten. But in our era a woman's choice is a woman's choice, and the man is often stuck living with it and paying for it. The article has some expert claim that there are benefits for men in this precedent. Now men with no biological ties to the children they have raised should be allowed to have visitation rights. This sounds alright- except there are several other precedents on the books which say the opposite, if the woman chooses.

But what I find really sad is that this circumstance happened in the first place and the law had to make a decision. These situations will become more common, I fear. Our society currently pushes instant gratification as the highest good, and to live our lives according to slogans like "Just do it!" Self control, doing the right thing, are becoming less and less in fashion. When we do the wrong thing, and piper comes around to pay, we try and stick someone else with the tab. What misery.

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