Today I was asked why I was afraid of children. I looked at the questioner, a person I have known for quite some time, and asked them why they thought I was a afraid of children.
The questioner replied, "Because you are one of the only men I know over forty who does not have at least one kid, and I've noticed you never want to hold or play with any of the number of young children that our mutual friends have."
I mulled that statement over for awhile before retorting, "You are both right and wrong in your observations. First off, I won't hold babies because I simply don't know how. I always feel awkward when someone hands a baby off to me, and I can't help but think I'm likely to drop them or somehow cause them to cry."
"Second, being a big guy, playing with little kids is a bit tricky for me. Just bending down to get to their level is a pain, and being careful not to accidentally knock one of the tykes over takes a lot of energy and luck - they always seem to be running around like little Tasmanian Devils."
I left it at that, and the questioner wandered off without pursuing the issue any further. However, I continued to mull it over, and thought about a few more things I could have mentioned.
Such as, I do not have children because I was not raised by parents, plural - I was raised by a parent, singular, as in single mother. Even though she did the best she could with what meager resources she had, and the help of my three older sisters - she was still over-matched, as there was a total of six of us kids and only one of her.
She did an incredible job as a single mom but when it comes right down to it, not having a male presence around in my childhood was a bit crippling (My older brother had left for the Army before I was 8).
Because of that particular circumstance of my upbringing, I did not learn what it is that a father is expected to be. I also did not learn what it means to be a responsible man.
If you do not believe that is a big deal, you need to take a closer look at the children of single parents, especially the children of single parents that had multiple siblings.
Being raised by a single mom did not make me afraid of children. Rather, it made me afraid of being a father.