Every weekend we video chat with our son who is away at college. He is doing great with his schoolwork, which we knew he would do. And even thou he has cerebral palsy he is figuring out all the life skills issues which to us was the bigger issue.
One of the reasons he chose the school he is at was because of the strong debate team. He has always been involved in speech and debate and wanted to be able to continue competing at the college level.
A few weeks ago, we talked after he had competed over the weekend in a tournament. He had not done as well as he had hoped for. If you are unfamiliar with how these things are run in each round they are given a topics and they are put on either side of the argument. They then have to defend or speak against the issue. While most of the questions are on serious in nature, they also throw in a few less serious ones. In my son and his partner’s last round the question was, should the government spend money to encourage inter-racial marriages.
He didn’t tell us what their arguments were but at the end of the round the judge gives each of the teams a critic of their arguments and lets them know what they did well and what they can improve upon for next time.
This judge informed the teams that their mistake in defending the issue was that they argued as if marriage had some intrinsic value other than economical.
While my son told of the shock of this judge’s evaluation, it made me think. I believe marriage has more value than both parents ability to work and help to better their economic standings, but can I articulate what those reasons are? I think I can, and I think that Families dealing with special needs are the greatest example of the value.
First on the economic value, what really is the benefit of more money? I see Hollywood actresses having children regardless of marital status and really other than most of the movie industry being mentally unstable for the most part these children have it good. Maybe because their parent or parents pay for someone else to raise their children. They have stability as long as the nanny is good and remains but what does the money get them? Have you seen many Hollywood stars children turn out well adjusted? Or forget Hollywood how many children of super rich people do you see turning out OK? Sure we only hear about the bad ones but when they go bad they go really bad. So money or economic factors make a difference in our lives but past a certain level they seem to go back to being a hindrance. If it was only about how much money your parents make those with the most money would have the best children. But neither is the opposite true, the poorest families don’t always have their children turn out alright.
Secondly if it was just about having someone who was fully committed to the child no mater if it is one person or two or even three. Then wouldn’t children who come from lower income homes be doing better? A couple who don’t have the distractions of money would have more time to spend with her child there for the child would turn out better? I know there are so many issues around what I just wrote but most of them go to my point, it isn’t lack of money or the ability to have free time to spend with your children that makes the most impact it is other factors, which can not be conveyed as simply money or the lack of it.
In the case of parent who’s child may have issues that need special attention it is that ability for the parents to work together as a team to do what is needed. In our case we moved to a less expensive area of the country so my wife could stay home and be with the kids. Other times it is the shared responsibilities divided among the couple so someone can get the child to therapy or school. Sacrifices made for the good of the children or the family as a whole are not always for monetary gain, most of the time they are for the good of the family.
Children seeing you fight then make up or love each other even when you might not like each other, being supporting when the other has had a bad day and all of what it takes to stay together is what children need to see. Perseverance through tough times and laughter in the good these are what gives our children the ability to make it in a world that does not have their best interest at heart. If they have seen life lived, not perfectly but in a committed marital situation, they have seen what it takes to thrive in any situation.
For the judge, who is probably a college professor. I see some one who has never committed himself to someone else and there for can not see the value in it. But to those of us who have and the children we have raised. The value is undeniable.