Things Change | Letters | Chicago Reader

Things Change 

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To the editors:

"Life Without Father," the cover story appearing in the October 9 issue, was a well-written article that presented a variety of viewpoints. However, I must take issue with the comments of Bryce Christensen, director of the Rockford Institute's Center on the Family in America. He says that illegitimacy has historically carried a stigma, and "when we start writing our own idiosyncratic scripts for life, we find it's just too perilous. We cut ourselves off from every pattern of our ancestors."

The fact that legitimacy has been historically accepted is not a reason to chastise individuals, men or women, who choose to raise children alone. Most importantly, parents must desperately want their children and they must be prepared for the problems, questions, and hardships of bearing children--and the joys.

This is the trait that we have admired throughout history and should be working effortlessly to preserve: the strength to raise families and give the self-sacrifice that is necessary to guide children. Humans should be given the chance to fulfill these historically human needs in the fashion they choose, as long as it is not detrimental to another human. As we move through time and study our fellow human beings, we should become more tolerant of the differences that make our ancestors and history so rich.

This is not to say that it is not difficult to raise a child as a single parent. The women interviewed in the article were very clear on stating that single parenthood is hard and that they would rather be raising a child with a man. If an individual chooses to raise a child alone and is confident of his/her capabilities, that individual's love will transfer to the child.

Hopefully, we will grow and become more civilized people with each generation--more educated and flexible than our ancestors.

Women's increasing economic independence has also changed dramatically from the early pattern of our ancestors. This change gives people more choices and improves the situations of women and children who are forced to survive on their own through divorce or abandonment. However, women's increasing independence has continued to threaten our society--especially men. These changes threaten norms and lifestyles that men may feel will make them obsolete. What would a woman need a man for but to support her financially and allow her to bear children? Try emotional support and the beauty of lifelong companionship. If men begin to accept some of these changes they may be able to shed some of their emotional baggage and improve their relationships. This can only improve male/female relations and make a change for the better.

Elizabeth Hintch

Hoffman Estates


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