On having a child

It is tremendously easy to have a baby. Of course, the hard part is to raise the child and be there for them throughout their life – regardless of the child’s personality, capacity’s and fortune. This past August, I had my first child, Samuel, who has been a true blessing. As I write this, he is trying to learn to crawl on his nearby play-mat.

As with other life events such as love, death of a close family member, bankruptcy, success or health issues – is hard to understand what something means without experiencing it first hand. Unsurprisingly, it is hard to convey what having a child and more importantly, having a human depend entirely on you, feels like until you actually hold one in your hands and stare into the depths of their eyes.

At my age of 36 many friends now have children and I have had the opportunity to spend time with older friends who already have grown or semi-grown children. They all explained the various benefits and challenges of raising a child and in all honesty this helped prepare for my own child. However, when my friends had children over the past few years, I would offer my congratulations and a gift, but the congratulations was not nearly as wholehearted as it is today. When I received congratulations from family and friends upon the news of the birth, I could hear a much higher level of enthusiasm in their voice. Once you have a child, you understand the true blessing that it is and you feel a much deeper sense of joy when someone else has their own child.

I have always felt that there are no shortcuts in life and we cannot reinvent the wheel. To life a full, happy life you need certain key ingredients; a meaningful purpose, a strong partner and ideally, children to take care of. Only through these things can you really experience the full spectrum of the human condition. Of course, some people cannot or choose not to have children and this is not meant as a criticism of their choice. Yet, without reproduction our species would disappear and without child rearing, our children would not survive. Like music, food, friendship, love and hate – there is undoubtedly an innate powerful desire to have and raise children hard coded into the depths of our genetic code.

My wife and I have been blessed with a healthy and easy baby. He sleeps well, eats well and barely cries. We are also in the most fortunate of situations with the presence of many family members who are more than eager to babysit and help. Colleagues and friends who do not have such a strong support system or who have difficult babies face a much, much greater challenge than us. It is therefore absolutely critical that our society continues to support families and especially those with more difficult situations. I am very proud that Qu├ębec offers subsidized daycare services for only 10$ a day as well as one year maternity leave, 5 weeks fatherly leave, and our Canadian government offers the world’s most generous child support program – the Canada Child Benefit Program, which offers up to $7,500 dollars per year per child based on your income. These programs make a world of difference and are critical to levelling the playing field for all children; giving them a fairer shot at success. Having a child may be easy, but raising a productive member of society is a huge challenge and this support system is critical to our society’s future.

Children are their own people. While they may look up to their parents until their teenage years, they are eventually on this planet to do their own thing. Too many parents project their own values, goals, and failed ambitions on their children. My modest hope is to empower our child to pursue success and happiness in this challenging world. There are no shortage of parenting articles or books, but my approach is to first say thank you to my wife, who inevitably does more than me, and then to offer a steady hand while our son faces the exciting milestones of life. I look forward to the journey ahead and I hope to encourage others to embark on the same rewarding adventure.

Published on January 6, 2020