Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An Uplifting Tale of Love and Determination

Work levels have prevented my blogging much lately. Rather than add to the gruesome news of beheadings and baby butchery, I will use a brief respite to call your attention to this inspiring article by Prof. Matt Might, who blogs regularly on computer science and academic topics at his own Website. In the course of preparing to write an article about academic tenure, he came across this question put up on another blog to which he contributes:
How can I minimize my chances of having a disabled child? I don't want an autistic or Downs child, for example. I am planning on having a strong career in computer science or medicine, and I want to marry someone who is doing the same and have kids some day, but I'm terrified that they'll be severely disabled, and my wife won't agree to abort the fetus. I (maybe naively) believe in love, so I wouldn't necessarily be able to leave my wife if I truly loved her and she refused to abort.

Note that this is purely hypothetical. I am only 16 years old at the moment, but I have thought about this a lot.

Prof. Might expounds powerfully on the answer he gave in this article. I suggest you read the whole thing; I promise you will find it greatly uplifting (particularly the addendum at the end). You see, the answer he gave began as follows:
First, your question is trivial to answer: to minimize the risk -- to zero -- that you'll have a disabled child, don't have a child.

Any attempt to have a child will incur risk, although you can take measures described in other answers to lower it.

But, let me tell you a story -- my story.

I am the father of a "disabled child," yet I'm a professor in computer science at the University of Utah, and also currently a professor at the Harvard Medical School.

Hopefully I've just dispelled your fear that having a disabled child is not compatible with a strong career in computer science or medicine.

In fact, what if I told you that much of what I've done was the result of my having a disabled child? Because I too (naively) believe in love, and love my wife and son dearly?

There is much, much more – including lots about achieving tenure, and many valuable and fascinating links – at the full-length post. Enjoy!

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