In response to the July 10 letter, “Dad offended by term ‘illegitimate,’ ” the writer may have served himself well to look up the definition for illegitimate—“born out of wedlock” (the American Heritage Dictionary)—before he stated his case against following the norms that have been a part of civilized society for thousands of years.
His stance has been repeated often throughout history with little proof that it will endure the test of time.
My comments are not intended to debate the correct usage of a word nor our changing norms, but as a father, to focus on the greater issue of responsibility to his newborn son.
The writer states that he “will personally ensure that our son becomes a scholar, a leader, an athlete and, above all, a gentleman.” He continues to list other virtues that he intends for his son to learn.
Noticeably missing from his list of commendable virtues is “commitment” and “loyalty.” I believe that commitment to and love for his son’s mother will provide the best chance for his child to mature into the person that the writer desires.
The writer is going to be faced with, literally, millions of decisions relating to the development of his son, and no, he does not have the answers now nor will he ever have the solutions for every challenge he will face.
I can’t begin to express the utter exasperation that parents often feel as they deal with the complex issues that each child encounters.
There is no way one person, male or female, can make all of the correct decisions; but two parents who love each other and love the child of their union have a much better chance for getting it right.
Marriage requires a lifetime commitment of love, loyalty, trust and support.
Each partner should enter the marriage with the mindset that “I love my spouse more than myself,” and then the marriage will have a reasonable chance for survival and the children born to them will in turn have a better chance of reaching adulthood with the virtues that the writer desires.
Many people readily sign legal documents that require a two-year commitment for a cell phone or a five-year commitment to purchase an automobile, yet they often hesitate to commit their signature on a legal document that tells the world that they love each other, believe in each other and they intend to live the rest of their life loyal to the family they create.
Even then, the challenges of life will test their will to stay true to the end.
Wayne Brady 4/27/2014
Note, this article was originally published 7/19/2009 as a letter to the editor in the Mobile, Alabama Press Register. It was selected by the Press Register staff as a “Blue-ribbon” letter which they define as especially interesting or well-written.