The best argument against the idea that we should kill children who may be born into difficult circumstances is to use real-life examples. Dr. James Dobson did a great job articulating this…
It is well known that difficult childhoods leave some people wounded and disadvantaged, but for others, they fuel great achievement and success. The difference appears to be a function of individual temperaments and resourcefulness. In a classic study called “Cradles of Eminence,” Victor and Mildred Goertzel investigated the home backgrounds of three hundred highly successful people. The researchers sought to identify the early experiences that may have contributed to remarkable achievement. All of the subjects were well known for their accomplishments; they included Einstein, Freud, Churchill and many others.The backgrounds of these people proved very interesting. Three-fourths of them came from troubled childhoods, enduring poverty, broken homes or parental abuse. One-fourth had physical handicaps. Most of those who became writers and playwrights had watched their own parents embroiled in psychological dramas of one sort or another. The researchers concluded that the need to compensate for disadvantages was a major factor in the drive toward personal achievement. One of the best illustrations of this phenomenon is seen in the life of Eleanor Roosevelt, a former first lady. Being orphaned at ten, she underwent a childhood of utter anguish. She was very homely and never felt she really belonged to anybody. According to Victor Wilson, Newhouse News Service, “She was a rather humorless introvert, a young woman unbelievably shy, unable to overcome her personal insecurity and with a conviction of her own inadequacy.” The world knows, however, that Mrs. Roosevelt rose above her emotional shackles. As Wilson said,”…From some inner wellspring, Mrs. Roosevelt summoned a tough, unyielding courage, tempered by remarkable self-control and self-discipline…” That “inner wellspring” has another appropriate name: compensation! Obviously, one’s attitude toward a handicap determines its impact on one’s life. It has become popular to blame adverse circumstances for irresponsible behavior (e.g., poverty causes crime, broken homes produce juvenile delinquents, a sick society imposes drug addiction on its youth). There is some truth in this assumption, since people in those difficult circumstances are more likely to behave in destructive ways. But they are not forced to do so. To say that adverse conditions cause irresponsible behavior is to remove all responsibility from the shoulders of the individual. The excuse is hollow. We must each decide what we will do with inner doubt and outer hardship. The application to an individual family should be obvious. If a child has gone through a traumatic experience or is physically disadvantaged, his or her parents need not give up hope. They should identify his or her strengths and natural abilities, which can be used to overcome the hurdle. The problem that seems so formidable today may become the inspiration for greatness tomorrow.
Others who overcame difficult childhoods to go on to great success include:
John Paul DeJoria is worth $4 billion. Ever heard the name Paul Mitchell? He is the co-founder of this popular brand. He once sold newspapers to help support his single mother. She later sent him to foster care when she couldn’t support him. Homeless for a time, he lived in his car and pushed hair products door-to-door. With $700, he co-founded his own line of hair care products in 1980, John Paul Mitchell Systems. He later pioneered the high-end tequila market with Patron distillery and launched the ultra-posh Ultimat vodka line.
Leonardo Del Vecchio is the founder of Luxottica eyeglasses and his net worth stands at around $10.5 billion. One of five children, he was raised in an orphanage after his widowed mother couldn’t support him. He worked in a factory making molds for auto parts and eyeglass frames where he severed part of his finger. At age 23 he opened his own molding shop. Now his Luxottica is the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear sold under such brands as Ray-Ban and Oakley. He also operates more than 6,000 retail outlets through Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters stores.
Larry Ellison is the genius behind the success of Oracle software and his wealth is close to $28 billion. His single teenage mother who gave birth to Ellison in the Bronx sent him to live in Chicago with his aunt and uncle, who later adopted him. He dropped out of college after his adoptive mother died. He founded Oracle in 1977, now one of the world’s biggest software companies.
Born to a young mother who chose life over abortion, Steve Jobs was adopted by a working-class couple and grew up in Santa Clara, Calif. He dropped out of Reed College when he couldn’t afford tuition but continued auditing classes. Steve started Apple computer in his parent’s garage in 1976 and led the world in developing cutting-edge consumer devices that have changed the world.
Li Ka-shing is the head of the conglomerates Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa and is worth $21 billion. He was born to a poor Chinese family who fled to Hong Kong in 1940. He had to quit school at age 15 after his father died of tuberculosis where he worked in a plastics factory to support his family. Li later made plastic flowers to be exported to the U.S. A generous man, Li has given over $1.45 billion to support education and medical research.
J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter book and movie series. While writing wizardry this single mother lived on welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland. Broke and depressed, she once told reporters she contemplated suicide. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in 1997 and quickly became a bestseller and the first of a seven-book series that captivated children and adults worldwide. The Harry Potter movie series has grossed over $7 billion.
Oprah Winfrey has built a media empire with a personal net worth exceeding $2.9 billion. Born to a single teenage mother, she was raised by her grandmother and suffered sexual abuse througout her childhood. After her TV talk show success, she started her own studio, magazine, book club, and a series of other ventures. She continues to inspire others through her example and generosity.
As you can see, no one has a crystal ball that can determine whether or not someone should be killed in their mother’s womb to ‘spare them the agony of a difficult life’.
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