Rearing Ain’t for Everybody

originally appeared in the Jackson Free Press, 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.

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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.

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~ by MsInklination on April 7, 2010.

3 Responses to “Rearing Ain’t for Everybody”

  1. You know, I would like to think my mother would have passed the PLE but that’s the mother I know now–not the one she used to be. And I doubt that my father would have ever passed an exam, bless his heart. So you’re right, some of us wouldn’t be here. But we are here. It’s not fair, it’s grace!

    Niglets. HA! You said niglets! That’s a term I bet they had to edit out of Richard Hernstein’s The Bell Curve. Man, to think I wrote something Hernstein would probably agree with.

  2. I totally agree that rearing is not for everyone. So initially I was on board with the idea of having a Department of Procreation Qualification. Then I thought about all of the great people that would not be here because of their jacked up parent(s).

    Think about it. Would YOU be here?

    Then eventually some sort of biased qualification standards would creep into the testing process — you know — to help keep the nigglet population down… lol

  3. I for one have a set of parents that would have passed this exam. But I realize more than ever now, that so many, far too many people were not and are not as blessed as me and my siblings to know what it feels like to have a set a parents that would have passed the exam and could teach the class. DPQ would simply be doing what many government services do for people; something they aren’t able to do for themselves. In this case, procreate responsibly. You need a license to drive, to hunt, to get married, to teach, to sell food or anything for that matter! You even need a license in Nevada (because it’s legal) to sell sex! We do this because 5 year olds shouldn’t drive cars…and parents not ready to give their everything unselfishly shouldn’t create the 5 year old that can’t drive the car until she gets a license to do so.

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