Thursday, February 16, 2006


by Skald

Is it possible to be a hobopoet AND have a spouse/children? I have neither, and so the lifestyle is fairly easy for me. But recently Ive been thinking about family and babies. My sister is having a baby. A good friend and his wife recently had one.

In fact, I suspect Im in the very tiny minority as someone who is not interested in having kids. Must every would-be hobopoet live as I do? To be free, is it necessary to be single? Or at least childless?

I dont think so. Once again, massive conditioning overcomplicates the issue. Parents must not only deal with the normal barrage of work/consume/die propaganda... they must also deal with the guilt messages of the media & society. Parents are sent a very powerful message, massively repeated: good parents indulge their children. While its tolerable (barely) for adults to do without modern luxuries... it is cruel and irresponsible to deny them to children. Children, therefore, "need" their own room. Children "need" new clothes. Children "need" TV ("children's TV). Children "need" expensive plastic toys, electronic gadgets, computers, etc...

Parents who dont supply these things are "weird" at best, "neglectful" at worst.

But these messages are lies. None of this bullshit is necessary. Previously I wrote about a family in Thailand that lives together in a small, one room apartment. There are four of them, wife, husband, small boy (kindergarten age), and newborn. The children wear inexpensive "hand me down" clothes. They have no electronic toys or expensive gadgets.

I can imagine the reaction of typical Americans to this arrangement: a family of four in a tiny studio apartment... what a "tragedy".... "how sad for the children". And yet, this family seemed more intimate... more unified.. than any Ive seen in America.

Children require no more luxuries than we do. In fact, they are far more adaptable than adults. For thousands of years, children have lived in huts with their entire family... and have been happy to play outside. Theyve used cheap/free simple toys... and their imaginations. Parents raised their children with help from grandparents, uncles/aunts, friends, and their community.

I believe that a hobopoet family is possible. What's more, I think such a family can be healthier than what now passes for normal. Today, "normal" families live in isolation... two parents struggling to do it all alone. "Normal" families have two working parents.... and put their children in daycare... to be raised by strangers working for an hourly wage. "Normal" parents often confuse love with consumption... believing they must buy their children's respect/happiness with toys. "Normal" parents are exhausted from working to pay for their own unnecessary luxuries, plus the expensive luxuries they shower on their children.

I cant be totally sure, but I imagine most children would prefer more time with mom and dad... and fewer video games. I imagine they would thrive more by having a community of "godparents", uncles/aunts (genetic or "adopted"), and family friends. I imagine they would do better in the long run by reading used books than watching TV or playing the latest Nintendo game. And I imagine that parents would form a deeper connection with their children if they followed this approach.

Simplicity, autonomy, and freedom are not only for single people.

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