According to chacha dot com (and i know that’s not the most trustworthy of sources but they do try) about 133 million children are born every year worldwide. This breaks down to 364,384 per day. It’s difficult to pin this down exactly, because there’s so many factors, but on average, every moment, approximately two hundred and fifty babies are born.
Try to let that sink in. There are only sixty seconds in a minute, but 250 babies show up worldwide in sixty seconds. That’s a four or five per second.
Maybe some minutes go by every now and then where no one anywhere on the planet happens to be giving birth to a child. Maybe every now and then it’s way more than 250. However, on average it’s roughly 250 babies per minute worldwide. Now in that same instant, people are dying. Sometimes violently. Sometimes quietly of old age. Yet the population of the world is steadily increasing. We generally live longer today than we did a century ago, due in no small part to medical advances and other scientific discoveries and practices. Notice I’m not saying prayer or faith healing. We used those for thousands of years and the result was an average lifespan of 40 years just a few centuries ago. We’ve almost doubled that life expectancy. Science and reason are to thank for that, not whatever god you may opt to believe in, if you do.
As you are reading these words, a young human being is making his or her way down the birth canal and into the world at large. Somewhere, people are celebrating a new addition to their family. Right. This. Instant. This second. As you inhale and exhale your breath, another human being is blinking at the light for the first time, and probably looks like a swelled up prune with watermelon all over him. Probably smells. Probably screaming. Birth isn’t easy. Successfully making it that far is quite a feat, given all the obstacles in one’s path before one even realizes what they are. Who they are. Why they’re here.
Heck. We still don’t really know who we are. What we are. Why we’re here. I been on this planet for decades and I couldn’t tell you. Well, what we are is Hominidae but that doesn’t help many people, and a lot of people disagree. They don’t like to imagine they’re Great Apes but that’s just what we are, whether we believe in it or not. We’re distantly related to chimps and gorillas and orangutans. Sounds far fetched but a lot of scientists have burned a lot of oil on this. There’s more evidence supporting this claim than supporting the claim men were made by a god from clay or that women were made by a god from a rib.
As for who we are, that’s also open to argument. Some think they are The Chosen People, but again they can’t prove this. I don’t know who I am, frankly. I have a name and I have interests and I have a birthmark shaped like Australia. That’s not who I am. Maybe that’s parts of who I am. Maybe I’m more than the sum of my own parts but I also suck at math.
I was born cesarean. This means the doctor couldn’t get me out the conventional way due to complications. I have been known to blame this for my being a little different, but I’m not the only cesarean born. It’s rather common nowadays. Back when I did it, doctors were still trying to get the kinks out of the process. It was difficult back then. Why was I cesarean? Well, the doctor said I wrapped the umbilical around my neck, but in my defense I was negative hours old at the time. I was such a reckless deviant child even then. So the doctor got me out a side door he invented. He didn’t use prayer. The doctor used a scalpel.
My dad used a chapel, but I’ll get to him in a second. My mom was praying the whole time too, she said, even after the drugs kicked in, and reportedly they gave my mom enough sedatives to drop a moose. She told me she saw Jesus. I believed her when I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I? It was my mom. However, decades later I look back over my mom’s story and it just doesn’t work for me anymore. If her god was omnipotent and omniscient and benevolent, why did he make her go through such an ordeal? Why am I a C-section baby? Why was mom busy having a conversation with her savior, when the doctor was doing all the work? Couldn’t Jesus help somehow? He is the son of God.
Again, back in the 1960s, C-section operations WERE quite an ordeal. I almost didn’t make it. My mom almost didn’t make it. My dad told me he was in the hospital’s chapel praying to god when all this was happening. Why was god busy talking to my parents when he shoulda been working to help the doctor? Oh, he was doing that TOO. Well, far as I can tell, the doctor did fine under the circumstances without any help from on high.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes babies don’t make it. Remember those numbers I threw out there at the start of this? Those are the successful births. I’m not counting still births or abortions or miscarriages. Two hundred and fifty alive babies per minute. Four per second. Add to that all the heart break and pain and suffering caused every time a child might make it into this world but doesn’t get past the birth canal, or get help from a doctor’s scalpel.
Sadly, that four per second does probably include all the babies that die soon after they are born. I don’t know the cut off point. Depends on where chacha and other sources get their numbers. Lets say it’s every baby with a birth certificate. Every baby where a hospital somewhere has to do paperwork, or a midwife or someone reports it and files papers with the local government for whatever reasons. So that 250 per minute probably counts all babies who live long enough to get their footprint stamped on a piece of paper. However, it probably does not count every baby who gets a name. After me, when I was a toddler, my mom miscarried. She named him. He didn’t get any paperwork. My mom told me I had a brother who never lived, yet she still believed in her god to her dying day.
I don’t have that kind of faith. I don’t believe anyone should.
When I started this blog entry, I was going to write a letter to the children of Earth who have been born on this day, but I intentionally don’t write this blog with an audience of anyone over say fifteen or sixteen years old in mind. I also don’t usually talk to children. It’s just not my way. If they’re there I talk to them but usually it’s the same way I talk to adults, with a little self-conscious censorship. I don’t try to treat kids differently. I try to tell them like it is when I have to talk to them. It’s not that I don’t like kids. Well maybe that’s part of it. I haven’t really thought about it much before this instant, but it’s more cuz I don’t know what their parents have already told them. I don’t know which lies I’m supposed to reinforce.
Every parent has their own way of raising children. Some read books on this or even get training of some kind on their own. Most people don’t though. They just wing it. Do whatever their parents did, or more often than not try very hard to not be like their parents and by the time the kid is twelve they realize they’ve become their parents anyway. Now they understand why dad insisted on a curfew or wouldn’t let them have sweets before bed. Recently I’ve read reports of horror stories where parents chained their kids to the bed or locked them in a closet for months or years at a time. We look at this and we judge them. NOBODY TEACHES ANYBODY! There’s NO formal training and there never has been! Frankly I’m surprised more of us adults don’t get this wrong.
Well.. maybe we’re all getting it wrong. Christmas just came and went again. Less important to me every year. Aisha Harris from Slate dot com recently suggested we make Santa a penguin instead of an old white man, so people who aren’t white can feel like Christmas is for them too. Naturally, very white Megyn Kelly of FOX news took offense to that, from which I took offense. I’m very much in favor of telling children from this moment onward that Santa is not human at all. He’s a penguin. Maybe we can say he takes orders from Saint Nicholas up in heaven, but Saint Nicholas isn’t white. He’s from the Mediterranean. Greece. Turkey. Somewhere over there. He’s brown, folks. Maybe not ‘black’ but not ‘white’ either. And penguins are both black and white, so everybody wins.
I can’t tell the children of this minute that Santa is a penguin, cuz I don’t talk to children. I don’t have a child of my own, I don’t plan to help add to that 250 a minute thing, and I’ve been told by some that I have no right to have an opinion about children or child raising, since I don’t participate myself. I wouldn’t be surprised, if I did have a kid, if people would tell me to mind my own business anyway. I don’t have a right to tell you how to raise your kid. You don’t have a right to tell me how to raise mine, if I had one. blah blah blah the argument goes on ad infinitum.
Theoretically, children don’t read this website. I don’t password protect it but I also don’t try to make it appealing to them. If they find it, I hope it’s with a parent or legal guardian nearby, but I don’t control that. You do, if you have kids. I’d rather kids not even get on the Information Superhighway until they’re old enough to comprehend without explanation why Megyn Kelly was funny when she was telling children at ten o’clock at night on FOX NEWS whether or not Santa is white.
But hey. Kid. If you found this place. I wanna let you in on a little secret.
There’s no Santa, but if you want to believe in a Santa anyway, you can. If you wanna believe he’s an old white guy, you can if you want. You wanna believe he’s a penguin? Go ahead. Doesn’t matter. Cuz he ain’t real. You can believe in things that aren’t real all you want. You can make Santa up however you wanna. Same goes for Jesus, or Muhammad, or God or Moses, or anything else people claim existed but can’t prove outside Abrahamic texts. Same goes for bigfoot or nessie or aliens or fairies. You can make up your own fantasy world and put whatever you want in it but here’s the problem: it only exists inside your head.
There are other people on this planet who want you to believe the stuff inside their head is outside their head. These are grown up people doing this. I’m one of them, so don’t trust me either if I tell you an invisible giraffe is looking over your shoulder don’t look– ha ha! made ya look! ..Well, how do you know it isn’t there? It’s invisible! Oh, look you scared the invisible giraffe away. See? Don’t trust grownups is what I’m trying to teach you here, kids.
When someone goes around claiming their imaginary friend is real, we’re told by other people like him that we have to respect his beliefs. He can’t prove his beliefs, but that doesn’t matter. We’re supposed to respect his beliefs anyway. This is absurd, but it’s been like this for generations, so this is the world you were born into. We made this world so that it would mess with your head, and it’s been messing with our heads too, so don’t feel alone in this.
Oh, and humans have souls. We can’t prove it, but we do anyway. And souls are what you are when you die. You can still think and feel and stuff but you don’t have a body anymore cuz our bodies are gonna give up the ghost. And souls hang out in heaven, unless you pissed somebody’s invisible imaginary all powerful One True God friend off, then you’re gonna burn in hell for some reason that makes perfect sense to them but between you and me it’s all messed up. So if you believe the fantasy world in their heads, your option is to spend eternity praising their invisible imaginary all powerful One True God friend, or spend eternity frying like you’re at a barbecue for cannibals. I know what you’re thinking. I shouldn’t be saying this kinda scary stuff to you cuz you’re a kid and I’m a grown up, but this is exactly what they teach kids all the time in Sunday School, so it’s okay if I tell you too.
But kid, if there’s only one thing you take away from this conversation we’re having now, it’s this.
You are not broken. You are not lost. You are not unworthy and you don’t need to be collared or leashed. There are people who want you to believe otherwise, and that’s because they want to control you. You scare them, because you are their future. You belong on this spinning mud ball in space and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Our job, as your elders, was to make this world a better place for you, and we have failed you. There are things we did that improved it compared to what our elders did, but there’s a lot of fumbled balls on the playing field. That’s on us. Soon, it will be on you to make this world a better place for your children. You’ll find it’s not as easy as it sounds, and it don’t sound easy. Just tell them this.
You are whole.
You are here.
You are worthy.
You are free.
And I’m sorry if no one told you this before now. I’m so sorry. I wish I did better on my end to make this world a better place for you before you made your way into it, and I have no excuses.