Facing the Skeptics

Keep the debate civil.

You’ve heard it–the cynical remarks about people who marry too young, who have kids when “they’re just kids themselves!” And that’s fine. People are entitled to their opinions. But just because an opinion prevails, that doesn’t mean it’s wise. Rather, modern thought is largely based on the reasoning of Descartes, who considered questioning presuppositions the starting point for any intellectual advancement. And he was no intellectual dwarf.

Instead of shrugging off skeptical comments in a stoic manner–a fine approach for the more humble of us–dare to push the skipping movement a little farther. Don’t defend yourself by showing how great your life is (which it very well may be); engage in the philosophical debate. Here are some examples:

The Great Times Argument

Skeptic: You know, it’s really best to put off marriage. Some of my best memories were in my rakish bachelor days; that’s a lot of fun to miss out on!

Skipper: Those times do sound like fun, but I’d rather rush to even better memories–seeing my first child enter the world, for example.

It just isn’t true. Here’s the good folk of Pie Town, NM (Yeah, Jack Whinery’s folk) living it up post-marriage.

The Moral Argument

Skeptic: “Skipping Bachelorhood,” huh? Sounds like just a lot of ambition, like you’re all about yourself.

Skipper: You think so? That’s funny; I always thought playing teenager for an extra ten years was the more selfish option.

The Responsibility Argument

Skeptic: Anyone who gets married when they’re too young and poor to take care of a family is irresponsibly putting others into great risk.

Skipper: You may be right. But then, what’s more irresponsible: taking these risks on when you have family members who are willing to help you because you’re young, or perpetuating adolescence simply because you’re not “ready” for risk?

The Theoretical Future Argument

Skeptic: No, man, don’t rush into that kind of thing. You’ve got career goals, personal goals. You can’t train to climb Everest if you’ve got a toddler waiting for you at home. Once you’ve got a family, you have to take care of everyone’s goals, so your own get pushed back.

Skipper: Having a great family is my primary future goal.

These Pie Town-ers show just one of the benefits of family…dessert!

The Monetary Argument

Skeptic: Dude, the money just isn’t there. You can’t afford this.

Skipper: Our culture is material-obsessed. Greater cultures, like the pioneer cultures of the past, put money as a lower priority, and they built great nations on their struggles. I think I can handle building a strong family on mine.

Faro Caudill and his family (Yep, from Pie Town) lived in a dugout cabin as they started off. And despite the difficulties of homesteading in Depression-era NM, they figured out how to get by.

The truth is, you can argue until you’re blue in the face, and that may convince a couple people that you’re okay, but the best argument is leading your family well. And it can be done; history is on the side of the skipper.