one of my hens hatched a half dozen eggs a week ago so i’ve spent most of my time since then watching her raise her new chicks. it’s fascinating and heartwarming on a number of levels. i love watching animals raise their young. their all-consuming interest in and concern for their young is so pure, so genuine, that i think you would have to be a serial killer to not be touched by it.
so it occurred to me as i made a sandwich for lunch today that it’s a shame that people are incapable of the same altruistic parental drive. people obviously have parental drives of course, but our very nature taints everything we do, including child rearing.
for instance, patty (the mother hen i referred to earlier) is interested in just a few things: protecting her kids, showing them how to forage and what’s good to eat, and keeping them warm. that’s about it. she just wants them to survive so the species will live on. she will never hatch chicks just because that’s what the other hens her age are doing. she won’t try to impress other hens with super cute, super expensive outfits she just got for the chicks. she won’t brag about her chick’s achievements to anyone. she won’t be ashamed of or disappointed by any of the choices her chicks make. she won’t worry that a dumb or runty chick is reflecting poorly on her. she won’t wish her chicks were more like that other hen’s chicks. she won’t post cute pics of her chicks on social media in the hopes of garnering lots of ‘likes’ and complimentary comments.
but humans will do all that stuff. a lot of the stuff we do is not for the person we think we are doing it for — we actually do a lot of it for our own pride and ego. parenting is no exception. now, i know all this can’t be helped, that it’s just a horrifying and sad aspect of the human condition, that we are simply victims of our powerful brains, but that doesn’t void my point. it doesn’t negate the fact that we are awful, ego-driven creatures, eager to cheapen even the things we hold most sacred just to satisfy our selfish, petty pride.
that’s why i’d rather watch animals raise their young instead of humans. their simple brains aren’t capable of the complex, twisted, horrible designs that are intrinsic in absolutely everything we do — even raising kids.