[Short post today inspired by a concept broached in Rollo’s most recent post.]
For a long time now I have been bothered when Widows with children are called “Single Mothers” or are lumped together with “Single Mothers.” Frankly, it is insulting to widows and is socially destructive as well. A widow is a woman who acted properly, not destructively. She worked within the social system and was a stabilizing force. A “single-mother,” on the other hand, is a woman who engaged in socially destabilizing behavior and essentially undermines society. [There are a few rare exceptions. A woman who murdered her husband, or the victim of rape, for example.]
With that in mind, I would argue that whatever one’s take on raising another man’s child when the mom is a “single-mother” (a PC device I should probably stop using), a ban should not be applied to the children of widows. Here are several reasons why:
- We want women to engage in socially stabilizing behavior. Marrying is one such behavior. Knowing that they can get married again if their husband dies adds extra incentives to women to marry (and have legitimate children).
- Men who marry and have children but die early benefit when their children are taken care of by a new husband/father. Early death can happen to any man- we never know the hour and all that. There is a genetic imperative for us to want to have children that in turn have children. This imperative is served by our genetic children having a father figure in their lives- especially if we die early. It benefits us to not only know our children will be taken care, but to actually have them be taken care of. Furthermore, this possibility benefits pretty much every married man, whatever his station.
- Men who care about having children will also be more likely to want to marry and have legitimate children. This is beneficial to both their children, as well as society. Probably less pronounced an effect on men as to women, but still beneficial to society.
It is up to any man to decide whether or not to marry a true widow, of course. Further, there are few young widows with children these days, so it won’t be a common concern for men looking to marry (or remarry, if they themselves are a widower).
Also, I think that a similar exception should naturally be made for godchildren. Again, responsible husbands/fathers benefit when we know we are looking out for one another, and our families. That doesn’t necessarily mean marrying a widow- both parents could be dead, for example. But similar reasoning applies all the same.
Commenters are of course free to voice their own thoughts below.