Kudos to Duffer for pointing this out, and I suggest you read the article and visit many of the multitude of links he provides referencing the involvement of today's fathers.
But that article is not actually the focus of this post. It's the response I received on Twitter after passing the link along. Here it is:
I was a little surprised by this tweet. I'm not really sure I understand your perspective @PivotalDude - Whether you have kids or not, or if you are just trying to look for reasons someone would want to be a parent in today's society. That you mention you are not being snide indicates that this was a serious question. Well, the more I thought about it the more I wanted to respond in more than 140 characters. I'll try here.
To the first part of the question, what motivates me to bring kids into the world, I actually posted -or possibly tweeted - about this in the past. I didn't become a parent until I was nearly 40 and before then, honestly, I was ambivalent about kids. I had no burning desire to be a parent, although I knew once it happened that I would be good at it and love my kids. Like a lot of people I also asked myself those existential questions 'Why am I here?' and 'What IS the purpose of all this?'.
Amazingly though, once Lukas was born 5 years ago, those questions became crystal clear to me. THIS is why I am here. To raise kids and to carry on, in my own minuscule way, our species. It may sound like a platitude, but it's not. I really feel this way. Plus, as parents Mrs. LIAYF and I are not solely motivated to bring kids into the world. We know there are so many kids out there already in need of a loving home. As my regular readers already know, after having our biological child my lovely wife and I recently also adopted our daughter.
As for the part about this being a horrible world, I don't agree. Obviously, there are many horrible things going on in the world, and much suffering. Unfortunately, there always has been and although we should continue to strive to eliminate as much suffering as possible, there always will be. While many deliberate acts make me question the humanity of the parties involved, I still see most people as inherently good.
From my perspective, and if your were to ask my kids - although one can't talk and you would have to time it just right so that you ask the other when he is pausing to take a breath - they would probably tell you the same thing. We are a family who is blessed to live in the age we do, with the technology, medical advancements, and access to healthy food, and warm shelter from the harshness of the outside world. I know how lucky we are compared to so many others but as citizens of the 'first world' we have seen so much suffering of the past eliminated.
I could give a million examples of the advancements and also comforts we have today as opposed to the past, but of course I don't need to. I will, however, say that our daughter spent 6 weeks in the hospital after her birth. A hundred years ago, or even 50 she probably would not have had the opportunity to do so. Personally, I think the world is far from horrible.
Finally, the idea that the world is 'hopeless' doesn't register with me either. As a father I see an abundance of hope in it each and every day. I see hope when I witness the smiles Lukas nearly always brings to those he interacts with. I see hope when I watch as he runs over to another child who is alone and crying to ask if they are hurt or lost, all the while patting them on the back and telling them "It will be okay". I see hope when my 2 month old daughter Annabelle looks into my eyes and grips my finger with her tiny little hand before letting out a smile. I see hope when my son designs complex and interesting spaceships from spare Lego parts and talks of being the fist person on Mars.
Of course I'm not the only parent who sees this kind of hope in their children. In fact, I would expect that most parents look at their children and see an abundance of hope. Parents the world over. That being the case, the world is far from hopeless. Conversely, I would say it is filled with hope. The hope that our kids will leave the world a better place than they found it.
Before I had kids I pondered those same sorts of questions. Is it fair to bring kids into a world filled with so much grief? But today those kinds of questions seem laughable to me. Our children deserve the chance, just like we had, to make their mark on the world. To make it a little, or a lot, less hopeless and horrible.
And as parents we get to enjoy watching it happen. These are the things, @PivotalDude,which motivate me to raise kids in today's complex world.