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How come love is not more important than…?

I’m in a bit of a pickle, as they say.  And, in this case, my dilemma is an ethical one, which normally wouldn’t really keep me from thinking first and acting later, but–this semester–I am Teaching. An. Ethics. Course.


It's sort of like this...

Outside of the obvious implications of having someone like me teach the youth of the world about “ethics,” the life change from “I just teach Freshman Comp” to becoming the Leader of an honors seminar in Ethical Dilemmas has really had an impact on my overall psyche.  Unlike the {failure as a} college student that I was, I can no longer sleep through Ethics 101.  I not only have to research ethical dilemmas; I have to be some sort of authority on them!  To make matters worse, I’m discovering it’s hard to remain apathetic toward all things ethical when you’re teaching other people how to define their own value system(s).


So, here we are.

The story goes something like this.  At some point I decided that blood is not thicker than water.  There are lots of theories you could pose behind this sort of decision, one of which is that both money & greed are thicker than anything else you can think of (don’t believe me? check out this person’s argument).  Or, let me save you the trip; in a nutshell, this random stranger whose name I’ll never remember has taught me that “greed,” and–by extension–the way we are treated by those greedy bastards we also call “family,” has become more important than love.  But my decision had nothing to do with greed, except that it had to do with selfishness, an unspoken cardinal sin where I come from.

Selfishly, I decided that it meant more to me to be a good person than to accept {all of} my family for who they are.  Just to clarify: “good,” in this instance, means sane.

Prior to that, I had selfishly decided to have a baby.

Therefore, I’ve selfishly decided that my son will benefit greater from a lack of interaction with certain family members than he would from any smidgen of interaction deemed appropriate between people who fleet in and out of our lives at will.

But wait–in all fairness towards myself–There I go again! being selfish!!!– I didn’t knowingly decide for my son that he wouldn’t get to know these family members; I just determined that he should, like me, come to accept that no amount of blood is as thick as the wall of bullshit that surrounds any attempt at honest, direct communication within my family.

I guess I’m with the Bible on this one.  Lineage isn’t as important as keeping your promises.  (If it’s greedy to expect that people say what they mean and mean what they say–well, then sign me up as a sinner!).  Furthermore, the making of promises implies a bond stronger than biology or heritage.  Regardless of time, place or mode of communication, one’s Word must be reliable.  Just as nothing can be done to remove a Christian from under Christ’s blood covenant once they’ve accepted it, no one, outside of–say–the Godfather–should be able to spout vile hatred one day and then try to be your friend, let alone your kin, the next.

The Godfather

Imagine This, in an Email

This may be why it’s more logical to choose your blood brothers, like Jonathan & David did, then to accept the ones you’re born with.

Still, it sounds like I’m passing down some sort of value system to the future greed-monster we’ll currently just call “my son” that’s sending the wrong message.  If I tell him that blood isn’t thicker than water, not to mention that selfishness, which I like to call believing in yourself, is more important than {the expectation of} love, than I’m basically giving him an “out” to someday eradicate me, along with any influence I might have over him, if only I make a silly blunder that he deems The Last Word in mis-communication.  I can mind my P’s and Q’s, but God knows I’m not perfect.  Am I basically writing my imperfect self out of parenting?

Well.  There’s a reason to perpetuate the myth that blood is thicker than water.  Hell, I might even borrow from Confucius and just go ahead and tell him he has to love me no matter what, Goddamnit!  It’s your fucking filial duty, kid.  Suck it!!!


We are in a Crisis!

Alternately, I could go with one of those Modern Parenting Approaches.  Could I somehow, dare I say it, deserve his loyalty rather than demand it? True, it’s never been done successfully, at least in my family.  But unlike James Joyce, I believe that cycles have to end.  I believe, in fact, that love is only important because it propels everything else.  I believe,* well, “I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”

*Just kidding; I don’t believe that.  But somebody does.

9 responses to “How come love is not more important than…?”

  1. Avatar Kate says:

    “At some point I decided that blood is not thicker than water.”
    I love this line so much that I stole it and posted it on Twitter and Facebook (with due credit, naturally).

  2. Avatar Annie says:

    Some random thoughts –
    It’s not all or nothing — it’s about setting boundaries you can live with. If those boundaries are appropriate, there is nothing selfish about enforcing them. Your son will encounter difficult people in his life — you can’t control that. What he needs from you is not to protect him from such encounters, but to show him how to handle such encounters with grace and dignity.
    No one will have a greater influence on your son than you will, so you really needn’t worry about the impact of extended family on him. It’s you (and Mark) he will look to for his values.
    Children learn from the example of their parents — including learning how much time/attention/care to give older generations. Without this example, you may do nothing worthy of rejection, and still find yourself ignored/alone when your son is grown. If you must eliminate some family, make sure to have substitute family members so that he can see from your example how you care for people as they age.
    My hubby has every reason to reject his parents, but at some point he decided that they couldn’t stop him from being a good son. So he does right by people who never did right by him. I think this is a much stronger message to his children than if he had just eliminated his parents from their lives.
    People and relationships evolve. If you eliminate them, you also eliminate the possibility of growth and change over time. And your son’s lifetime is a very long time. I’ve seen remarkable changes in my parents in recent decades, and I’ve become a lot humbler about my own ability to know right from wrong.
    As I don’t know much about your situation, don’t take my advice too seriously. It’s just a few things I have learned in my brief time on this planet.

  3. Avatar M. Corleone says:

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “The only wealth in this world is children; more than all the money, power on earth, they’re the treasure.”

  4. Avatar D. Pasquarelli says:

    I have many family members that I choose not to interact with for various reasons and my child will not either with the exceptions of major “family” occasions like funerals, etc. Last Spring my grandmother died and cousins came out of the woodwork, most I hadn’t seen in 20 plus years and had nothing in common with. It was nice to see them but they are truly strangers to me.

    • acbauch123 acbauch123 says:

      As one who has also chosen to not “relate” to many of my relatives (even my biological mother, who only seems to call me when she wants to share her latest get-rich-quick scheme and try to enlist my help), I understand where you’re coming from. I once read an article about the concept of “family of choice,” and it resonated with me. I am much closer to people I’ve chosen to play a major role in my life than those who were assigned that role by virtue of my birth.

      • Avatar llxt says:

        Amanda, I’d love to read that article. I’ve always tried viewing my family in a “family of choice” lens, but never knew there were other people doing the same thing… (Also, most of my biological ties are to people who favor biology over everything else. So, that makes it difficult!)

      • I whole-heartedly agree with “Family of Choice.” When my father passed away 12 years ago, I arrived at somewhat of a crossroads in my life. As a result I’ve since made many decisions that I know with absolute certainty he wouldn’t approve of – and that’s on me to live with, and I’m okay with that.
        Just because someone shares blood lines with me it doesn’t mean that we have anything in common, or that I must enjoy their company, or that I must set our differences aside, suck it up and spend hours of my life with them each year, or that they don’t suck at life, or that I don’t want to punch them in the throat for sharing their absolutely absurd, embarrassing and insulting viewpoints, etc.
        Had my dad known he was going to die at 51, I’m sure he would’ve lived differently. And I’m sure he wouldn’t want me wasting days’ worth of my life with Cancerous souls being unhappy. Instead, I’ll surround myself with my family of choice, smiling, laughing and enjoying my time here.

  5. intense debate – yeah!

  6. […] not in my work.  not in my writing.  and, Certainly, not in life.  it may be related to this, or it may not.  i haven’t yet analyzed it…too busy hiding. too bad i didn’t […]

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llxtm About llxtm

LLXTM is the Head Dreamer of this publication and various other projects, including Needle-Movers.com, The Perpetual You, and Ladymade. She has no spare time and yet eeks out moments to spend with her two {human} boys and two {puppy} boys. She can’t wait for spring, aka Covid Gardening, Part II. Follow her @wordsbyleelee on Instagram, or find her on her front porch in Hamden, CT.

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December 2009
Season Finale
November 2009
{Seven Deadly} Sins
October 2009
Mischief Making
September 2009
Green Ethics
August 2009