Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Picture it: A woman is rolled into Choose-a-Patron-Saint's-Name Hospital, writhing in pain, cursing men and pleading with God for mercy. The contractions are coming closer together and are more difficult to bear. After 40 weeks or so, it is finally time. The little bundle of joy (or terror, whichever the case may prove to be) is on the way to make a mark on the world.
"We're going to take care of you, Ms. Smith. Just let me swipe your identification card, and we'll be on our way," a nurse says.
Because I am committed to the progression of this state and hope to see it eventually taking its position as a leader in all things sapient and pioneering, I have a proposition: procreation licenses.
We all know it's true: Everyone should not bear the responsibility of rearing children. Some people just aren't cut out for it. And since they aren't, they shouldn't have to.
The issue is, however, that some of these same people don't know they aren't fit to be parents, and many of us are too chicken to tell them. And because of a new agency I'm proposing, we won't have to. They, the Department of Procreation Qualification (DPQ) will take care of informing them.
Naysayers will rise up against me, and I'm prepared for that. But to soften the blows I'm sure are to come, I present this to you in jest. Sort of.
I can hear the critics already: "You're nothing short of a nouveau natural selectionist." I even think I just heard one of you think: "She's a communist." But I'm neither. I'm committed to humanity's wellness. Procreation licenses will ensure it.
The DPQ will only give licenses to bear children to those individuals who take and pass the exam it administers. Questions on the "Not Everyone Should: Are You One?" child-rearing capability exam will measure various forms of intellect. Think of the test as a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator meets Weschelr Adult Intelligence Scale meets the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, measuring one's personality, intellectual and emotional capabilities. This comprehensive exam will evaluate an individual's readiness to rear children.
The critics are now thinking: "So this is just another test to oppress women in a society where we still have so far to go." But that's where you're wrong. The DPQ will require this exam (and subsequent licensing or denial) by law for any person (female or male) interested in parenting a child. That's right: Guys and even domestic partners, be ye male or female, if your significant other is interested in rearing a child and passes the test and you don't, until conditions change it means the two of you cannot have a child together.
There will be only one requirement to take the exam: Test takers must be at least 18 years of age. (If I had my druthers, the minimum age would be 21, but you can vote and go to war at 18, so it's illogical to wait until 21 to have a baby.)
Unlike a driver's license—once you've got it, you've got it—every five years, one must reapply for their procreation license. Violators who are found with babies sans license will be fined greatly for each infraction, escalating the cost for subsequent violations. It's just that simple.
For those who take and fail the exam, there is no need to fret if having or adopting a baby is of utmost importance to them. Because of the DPQ's desire to see wholly capable individuals, children and families, it will also offer cognitive behavioral, group and other types of therapy, in addition to life-coping skill workshops, GED, trade and associate-level degree program classes, and other equipping and empowering tools. The newly passed health-care bill will, of course, cover all of these options.
You've probably viewed a scene like the one I saw recently in Kroger. As I stood in line behind a woman who looked too young to have three small children (one crying uncontrollably) with a basket overflowing with chips and sugary juices, she snapped in frustration at one child pleading for a bag of Skittles to put the bag back on the rack. The dejected looking little boy took his hand off the rainbow-colored bag and found something to stare at on the floor.
She caught me looking, chuckled, then asked, "Do you have children?"
I shook my head no.
"You'll understand one day," she said with a "don't judge me" attitude in her voice, and then she put the gallon of Sunny D on the conveyor belt to be rung up.
The truth is, I was judging her. She was the impetus for creating the DPQ. I wasn't thinking how horrible of a mother she is; my thought was: "She wasn't ready to have children." And I could empathize because I'm not certain if I took the child-rearing licensing exam, I'd pass either. But I know that it isn't until we have the best of ourselves to offer a child (or anyone else, for that matter) that we have nothing but pieces to give. And since children don't come with how-to guides, pieces do not a good operator make.
Yo Natalie, I like your column. Not everyone should have chilluns, fo' show!
I agree - not everyone should have children. However, the statement below? Reeks of classism at best. There are people at all levels of income and educational attainment who are excellent parents just as though there are those at all levels who should not be allowed near children, much less left alone to raise their own. " Because of the DPQ’s desire to see wholly capable individuals, children and families, it will also offer cognitive behavioral, group and other types of therapy, in addition to life-coping skill workshops, GED, trade and associate-level degree program classes, and other equipping and empowering tools. "
There is no doubt that people from all walks of life make for wonderful parents. My grandmother, who never graduated high school, reared her two siblings and six children alone, working as a maid, is the most ready example for me of that truth. The offerings (i.e., life-coping skills workshops and such) of the DPQ are all tangible tools of empowerment, as I see them. At the end of the day, it's my belief that some people have it and some don't. And the haves are from a motley of backgrounds. Like my grandmother used to say, "It takes all kinds." I just happen to believe the best kinds are prepared on multiple levels. Who's to say much about how they came to their level of preparedness?
- N.A. Collier
Cool idea! But how do you prevent people from having sex? Do you put alarms in their personhoods?
- golden eagle
Golden Eagle, I think you derived at the best pick-up line ever! "Awe baby, you about to set off my alarm cLock."