Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Win The Future: Have Babies

David Brooks has a column that sensibly counters the thrust of most recent commencement addresses. He wrote

College grads are often sent out into the world amid rapturous talk of limitless possibilities. But this talk is of no help to the central business of adulthood, finding serious things to tie yourself down to.


What most people will make a good life out of are the central commitments they make to other people. Commitments are limits on the self. If you try to live your life having experiences for yourself, without ever committing to build this specific something with others, you will be a tourist all your life.

For the vast majority of people, the biggest commitment we make is who we marry and then have children with. The downside of spending your twenties and even thirties as an experience-seeking tourist is that you delay marriage so much, you may well end up without time for children, children you now really want to have and build something for.

So if anyone everyone wants me to give a commencement address, here is my counter-cultural topic:

Win the Future: Have Babies.

6 comments:

Alex said...

We decided to start our family as my husband began his Ph.D. program (he was 27 at the time). He begins his first tenure-track position this fall as our children enter preschool, 1st grade and 2nd grade, respectively. I am so glad we didn't wait until this point to begin our family! Good advice, Beau.

Diane M. said...

We delayed kids until our 30's, but it was for financial reasons. It worked out for us.

ceemac said...

How about explaining a bit more about what you mean by "experience-seeking tourist"

Would that include folks like Jobs, Wozniak and dozens of unnamed folks who didn't strike it rich who spent their 20's living on borrowed couches and ramen noodles while developing a usable personal computer.

And I would assume that scattered across the country today there are bands of 20 somethings living on couches and eating the 2011 version of ramen. And they are working on stuff that the rest of us haven't dreamed of yet but will be an essential part of our lives in 2031

gruntled said...

No, the dedicated geeks who gave me my Mac were not seeking one experience after another, but were intensely dedicated to their work.

Anonymous said...

Gotta say, this seems like an irresponsible message in terms of the massive population of the entire planet.

WIN the Future! By overpopulation.

gruntled said...

The planet isn't over-populated. Some governments starve their populations, some governments favor wasteful energy policies, and some governments are just thieves. But there is enough in the world for everyone, and then some.

People are good things, not bad.