Two young mothers exited the auditorium. The presentation they had just watched demonstrated different living creatures bringing young into the world and caring for them.
“It’s interesting how Hashem made mothers of nearly all species feel responsibility towards their young,” Rivkah said.
“You’re right,” Leah responded. “I just wish that human kids would become independent sooner! Did you see how many babies ran off independently at birth? Fish, colts and birds don’t cry for mommy in the middle of the night. That’s Utopia!”
Rivkah smiled. “I wonder why Hashem didn’t create human offspring to be independent at birth.”
“Me, too,” said Leah. “We’d both have a lot more time for ourselves — and energy!”
The Plan is for man to inhabit the world and improve it. One also is responsible for self-improvement in material and spiritual realms. In order to enable one to succeed in that mission, Hashem set up life as a learning environment for the human. Rather than being able to run off immediately, a child is made dependent on parents for sustenance and education. The slow process of maturity keeps the child under the tutelage of the parent for about 20 years before s/he can declare independence. A parent has years to imbue a child with values and manners that meet Torah standards.
So, you might say, the slow maturation process is for the benefit of the offspring. That’s only part of the truth.
Hashem, in His wisdom, created the parent-child relationship in order to give the parent an environment of self-development. Parenting compels one to mature and to accept responsibility for others. Each child challenges a parent to employ different inner strengths. A parent should realize that doing a good job raising others creates a better self.
Be selfish. Be a good parent.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
The tragic fact that the 20th century has seen breathtaking erosion in standards of morality — to the point where immorality is equated with “honesty” and someone upholding the eternal standards is derided as Victorian — has not changed the Torah standards of propriety… Fortunately, there are no provisions to amend the Divine constitution to suit the changing mores of society. (Rabbi Nosson Scherman, Megillas Eichah, “Overview/Destruction and Redemption,” p. xxviii)