www.whyville.net Jan 31, 2010 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Choosing Children?

Users' Rating
Rate this article

If you had the chance to make a "perfect" child, would you? Everything about this child could be as flawless as you wanted - you could determine everything from skin color to height. You can forget things like needing glasses, being overweight, or having inferior muscle capability.

This is the situation presented in the movie "GATTACA," a film directed by Andrew Niccol where it has become the norm to have children genetically engineered for "perfection." The movie follows the life of Vincent Freeman. Vincent is an "in-valid" or "faith-child" - someone born naturally, without the help of a geneticist. Because he was not engineered to fit society's mold, he's considered inferior and unfit to do anything except clean - especially not to follow his dream to become an astronaut at GATTACA, a space-travel company. Vincent, with a little professional help, assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow. Jerome has perfect DNA, but was left a paraplegic after a failed suicide attempt. (I highly suggest you check out this movie - it's excellent in my opinion. A word of warning, however: it is rated PG-13, so please discuss with your parents if you are under 13).

"GATTACA" really made me think. If I had the chance, would I choose my child's height? Would I determine something as menial as the color of their eyes?

I wouldn't.

To me, life is all about struggling. Every person is born with strengths and weaknesses programmed into their DNA - whether it be the color of your skin or your height. Therefore, every person is flawed on some level . . . nobody can escape that. These flaws range in severity (for example, being born without legs is going to set you back farther than having blue eyes will), but they exist in every person.

But no person wants to admit their flaws, so we work to overcome them. We push and push and push until we're about to give out and then we push just a little bit harder. If you're too short to conventionally be considered a basketball player, you work ten times as hard to make sure you're darn good at basketball before you try out.

It's this drive that gives people character. In my opinion, the amount a person pushes against a fundamental flaw determines their strength. Most of the time, you end up on top because you pulled yourself up every inch of the way.

Let me use an example here: there are two girls. One is naturally intelligent. She's not a genius, but she's not your average bear either. The other girl is not naturally intelligent. She's by no means "stupid," but she's not on the same level with the other girl. Girl One sees education as something handed to her on a silver platter. Because it's so easy, Girl One doesn't ever study. Girl Two sees education as a mountain. She has to work for every good grade she gets. Both girls end the year with stellar report cards.

Which one would you respect more?

I could not eliminate the tiny flaws in my future child's life simply to make it effortless. It's through that effort that people become heroes, or even just plain humans. I don't see how I could deny my child the feeling of success that I feel when I've worked towards something. I don't see how I could sleep at night knowing that my child would grow up NOT knowing some kind of diversity before their life is over.

I couldn't take that away from my child.

Could you?


Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page