Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay / To mould me Man, did I solicit thee / From darkness to promote me?
Parenting videos and cartoons seem hot on Instagram these days. Maybe it’s just some prejudiced Facebook algorithm that automatically sort users in their twenties as either married or preparing for marriage. Or maybe it’s because our Instagram cartoonists have, for some strange reason, decided to simultaneously talk about their pregnancies. But after reading tales of unbelievable parental affection, respectable filial piety, and the eternal patience adults should righteously have towards children, my mind slipped back into a conventional thanksgiving scene at my grandparents’ house.
“But aren’t you gonna have kids someday?” “Nah, I highly doubt it. I mean, I have zero patience against anyone below seven.” “But you’ll definitely get lonely when you grow old.”
What I wanted to ask back was, what if your child fails your objective of keeping you company? Should a child, from the instant it is born, be obliged to fulfill the expectations of one’s creator?
Going from Instagram to the anonymous dumpsters of the internet, things get dark fast. Down here, family bonds are just another source of agony. Unruly teenagers gather in comment sections, cursing their parents for their nine o’ clock curfew. Children not older than thirteen ask for advice on domestic violence situations, hiding themselves inside closets, or under the fragile mask of anonymity.
Once I heard one of my friends say, after watching a severe case of domestic violence on the news, “Parents should be getting interviewed by baby souls before they actually have one. If the dad’s caught hitting the mom, the soul would say nuh-uh, turn back, and never return to that house.”
If only Nature was that fair and simple! Sometimes one’s parents turn out to be so disappointing that a child starts to mutter – man, how come these people are my mum and dad? The answer for that question is, we don’t have a logical explanation for that. It’s more or less pure chance. On a physical and genetic level, yes, a child’s body is consisted of bits and parts copied from one’s parents. But if our existence means even a slightest bit more than flesh and bones, we realize that a person is not just a result of a cause-and-effect relationship with one’s parents.
One great example of a messed up parental relationship would be Victor Frankenstein from the famous gothic fiction Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley.
Just like any parent would do, Victor Frankenstein wanted to give only the best for his creation, the creature Frankenstein. Victor tried to project his ideal human figure in creating Frankenstein, carefully accumulating the finest body parts he could find. But Nature always has its confusing ways, and his creation comes to life in the most unexpected form. At first sight, Victor realizes that he is appalled by his own creation.
His doom was predictable from the start. Victor was so obsessed with his objective in creating Frankenstein that his eyes were fixed beyond the bodily figure in front of him, waiting to breathe its first air.
Many modern parents also believe that they can manipulate their children to reach a certain goal, whether it is success, wealth, or something that they could not achieve when they were young. All those master plans go to waste when they realize that the being thrown into their hands is utterly out of their control. Every one of us become Frankenstein at least once in our lives – it is just a matter of whether or not our Victors can accept us as who we are: a being thrown into existence, a being of chance and chaos, a being utterly free of every possibility.