The Metaphysical Good of Children

girl-199x300From the Truth and Charity Forum: The Metaphysical Good of Children

“Too often we think children have value based on how the parents feel about them. Melissa Harris-Perry, host on MSNBC said in 2013, “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science.” That answer is trouble because it ignores actual reality in favor of feelings, granting to some humans’ feelings the status of ontological truth while simultaneously and incoherently denying value to other humans and their feelings. Feelings do matter, but they do not determine reality.

“Harris-Perry added that “An unwanted pregnancy can be biologically the same as a wanted one. But the experience can be entirely different.” This statement is true in itself. However, the reality of the child’s life and goodness is determined by the biology, not the experience of the parents. Granted, we ought to be very sensitive to the feelings of such women and seek to provide as much non-judgmental support as possible. However, the requirement of support stems precisely from the reality and goodness of the child who is already in existence and growing to maturity.

“I take this view from the classical metaphysics. Metaphysically speaking, everything that exists is good in the sense that it is willed and loved by God and expresses a perfection of being. Martin Vaske, S.J. explains in his Introduction to Metaphysics, “Unity, truth, and goodness are called transcendental properties because they are true of every being as being” (179). That means that everything that exists is good in so far as it exists, and this goodness, this desirability or lovableness is intrinsic to the being itself and not dependent on the perceptions of humans. He continues, “Beings have metaphysical, or ontological, truth independently of human knowledge; so also beings have metaphysical goodness independently of our willing them” (192).”


“It is, of course, true that there are real difficulties of raising children, such as sleep deprivation and potential financial strain. But these are simply part of the reality of life. If we can accept that, instead of viewing this as a massive injustice, we can start to enjoy the goodness that is before our eyes instead of looking around it to view only our inconvenience. Our happiness is served when we embrace reality and work with it, instead of trying to fight against it.”

Full article here.


6 thoughts on “The Metaphysical Good of Children

  1. “Our happiness is served when we embrace reality and work with it, instead of trying to fight against it.”

    Ooh I just read this on T&C yesterday! I wholeheartedly agree. It’s something I have to continually remind myself when I’m in the thick of things and they’re not going so swimmingly… Thanks for sharing!

      • I am not disappointed. I realized or thought of some of the metaphysical realities of a child simply by seeing the photo. We have not been able to bring a child into the world. We do have a rambunctious pet though – I actually suffered through sleep deprivation house training him for 2 months and caring for him (he had an external abdominal hernia when we “adopted” him, one which allowed his liver to protrude unprotected, and we had it mended but with some complications.) Because he suffers from separation anxiety, we must take him to doggie daycare daily; he suffers if caged (shaking for some reason – had a violent puppyhood we think – surviving parvovirus amongst others after he was found with is 3 siblings); we only cage him once per week, while we are at Sunday Mass, and we feed him in his cage with door open so the he can be more comfortable there, and he is.

      • Aww poor lil puppy. It’s good of you to care for him. Kids are hard, but I honestly do not appreciate them enough, and I have a pair of very wonderful littles.

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