Whenever anyone gets behind the wheel of a car there are a number of things that need to be taken care of first. A prospective driver needs to be found competent to control a vehicle that can potentially inflict severe damage on others. Each person has to prove that he or she can correctly judge situations that may arise while driving and promise to follow the rules that were put in place in order to protect the general population. All of this is done to ensure that individuals do not abuse a privilege that can too easily be turned around and ruin people’s lives.
Driving isn’t the only thing that requires proof of competence. Numerous jobs ask for classes, tests and licenses. If you want to give people medical advice, teach children or even fix a leaky faucet, the law requires proof that you will not take advantage of nor harm the people who depend on you.
So why is it that we don’t require a license for the most important job of all?
Parenting is the most complicated, delicate, daunting job that someone can take on. You are put in a position in which you have complete control of an individual’s life, and there are a million different ways in which you can royally screw it up. To me, it’s just plain common sense that people should have to prove they are competent before being completely responsible for a helpless, dependent being.
Licensing parents is an issue that brings up a lot of negative feelings. People look at reproduction as a God-given right – because humans are biologically capable of bearing children, they should. However, I believe that a child’s right to a safe, loving home trumps the aforementioned one.
All I’m asking is for a little objective licensing. Just like getting a driver’s license is about showing that you know how to avoid dangerous acts on the road, getting a parenting license should be about proving you know how you can avoid screwing up your child. It would be a completely impartial system based on classes, multiple choice tests and maybe a practical – although anyone who would lend their child as a test dummy really shouldn’t have children in the first place.
A sample question would go something like this: “If your child is crying you should a) shake the baby, or b) not shake the baby. Simple and unbiased, right?
I know what a lot of you are thinking: “What if it gets out of hand and people use this as an opportunity to deny certain groups of people the right to have kids?” Well, since there are already states that do that and get away with it *cough* LGBT adoption rights in Florida *cough*, maybe this issue will cause the government to be more aware and take action against this prejudice.
Anyway, shouldn’t we be more concerned about preventing people from bringing children into abusive, negligent and/or harmful environments? Take this Octo-Mom lady for example. This is a woman who already had six kids, decided to have some more and then found out she couldn’t support them.
Well, that’s okay. They’re brand-new and some of them are even healthy. I’m sure she can just take them back to the store and … wait … she can’t. I’m pretty sure the reason that the media has given her a name that sounds like Spiderman’s nemesis is because she playing the part of the villain.
I know our country isn’t yet ready for the idea of licensing parents. Most people are too focused on the hypothetical, potential tragedies to see the lives that this system could save. Allowing anyone to put children into dangerous or harmful environments (even if they have the biological ability to) is wrong, and we should do something to protect others in the future.
DANIELLE RAMIREZ understands that some people would rather let abusive people destroy their children than take away their “parental rights.” To explain this to her further, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.