The nonstop media buzz about “Octomom” Nadya Suleman’s new TV series and also Jon & Kate’s marital meltdown has created a 16-ring media circus, featuring 16 needy children doing tricks for live audiences–and big ratings.
But unlike most tabloid like coverage, for once this media circus has the right focus: the well-being of children. Whether it’s Octomom’s shocking narcissism or Jon and Kate’s lack of shared commitment to their marriage and kids (see: ‘Jon & Kate sep-a-rate’, and ‘Recap: What a Difference a Week Makes‘), the American public is observing a live demonstration on the necessity of permanent marriage law and mandatory marriage success training—for the sake of protecting children.
The ongoing drama has provided audiences with a media-sponsored morality tale regarding both the high cost and intensive labor involved in raising kids. In the case of Octomom, the moral of the story is that it is virtually impossible to raise kids as a single parent. Numerous state and private child-care agencies have permanently set up camp with Octomom just to make sure her kids live, eat, take medicines, and get a fresh change of diapers. In the case of Jon and Kate Plus 8, the TLC reality show has given viewers a window into the dangers to children when marriage is focused on the hair, the personal self ambitions, the book tour, the spas, the romance (or lack thereof), the money, the ratings–everything except the kids. It’s no coincidence that, in both of these cases, the parents desperately need TV and book deals just to survive the high cost of raising families. There’s just no getting around the fact that marriage (or the lack of it) has enormous consequences for kids. The headlines say it all:
- The Chicago Tribune asks: ‘Who wins when reality hits Jon & Kate? Not the kids’
- Philly.com notes: ‘The kids are the ones who need saving’
- ABC News reports: ‘Pa. probes potential child labor law violations in Jon & Kate Plus 8’
These reports and countless RSS feeds like them are cosmic proof that marriage is indisputably oriented to the procreation and long-range nurture kids. In addition, humans know instinctually that adults are bad people whenever they place their own personal interests above those of the collective whole of the family. In essence, the train-wreck troubles of Octomom and Jon & Kate Gosselin are round-the-clock PSAs warning of the dangers of broken families, adult-focused marriages, and reckless unwed motherhood. Could there be a more convincing case for mandatory premarital education and immediate marriage law reform, including the repeal of no-fault-divorce laws?
Fortunately, there’s a bright positive to this otherwise negative family meltdown: the babies themselves. They are the heroes of this drama and the force that causes people everywhere to rush in to save them from reckless adult behavior and weak marriage laws. The 16 babies are undoubtedly the most effective campaigners for child-focused marriage (and surely the most articulate spokespersons against legalized abortion as well).
It’s a fitting justice that out of these two very confused situations there should come 16 dynamic poster-children for family-oriented marriages and a new culture of life.