Having children means assuming responsibility for their emotional care
and education. Some cultures refer to Nature for guidance.
By Maria Cicuéndez
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
~ Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet).
T he Maori grandmothers of New Zealand communicate by
oral tradition that young couples, hopeful of parenthood,
must retire to Nature to reflect if they are truly willing to take on
A lack of such premeditation leaves flocks of children
abandoned, if not physically, then emotionally.
We live in contradictory times in which half of our global
the responsibility of educating their future children. Their mes- society fights to control booming birth rates while the other half
sage demonstrates that parenthood is more than the act of bring- hopelessly tries to conceive, struggling through situations of
ing a child into the world. Parenthood, when approached with hormonal, financial, and often emotional torture. For instance,
consciousness, is a full-circle process of accompanying children the government of China imposes by law that a couple conceive
towards adulthood and releasing them back to Life, their true only one child, allowing a second son, in some regions, as long
mother. as the first baby was a girl. This law has led not only to numer-
If the couple decides they are not ready to have children, the ous abortions, legalized in China, but also to a high index of
Maori grandmothers and the rest of the tribe would acknowl- abandoned babies, especially if these babies are girls.
edge their decision with respect, knowing their choice was the In India, astonished tourists can verify how some desperate
end result of deep introspection. In our own society, too often mothers give their daughters away, putting them in the arms of
we feel that having children is expected, part of